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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Marakele National Park SANPARKS 1 of 3

Marakele (Place of Sanctury) National Park is located outside Thabazimbi, which is about 250km North of Johannesburg.  Also previously known as the Kransberg National Park.  This is one of three national parks in South Africa that has the big 5.  Being one of the more undeveloped parks, they have many developments in the pipeline to encourage more visitors to this beautiful part of our country.

We were fortunate to find available accommodation at the Tlopi Tented camp 6 months prior to our visit in December.  This tented camp is located on the Apiesrivierpoort Dam offering spectacular views with the accompanying wildlife visiting the dam.

Accommodation choices range from the ten tended camps on the Tlopi dam in the Northern section, to the Bontle campsite in the Southern Section.  Ten safari tents are now also available at Bontle.

The park has around 200 elephants, but the bush is very dense, and seeing them is always wonderful experience.
The list of wildlife is quite diverse including Lion, Wild Dog, Hippo, Cape Buffelo, Rhone and Sable to list but a few.

On the activity front a highlight is the guided bush walk which is a three hour walk, here one has the opportunity to get close to nature and experience the bush on foot. We had the unique opportunity of capturing some of the wonderful flowers in this area.  It is a surprisingly diverse park with bushveld, mountains, forest and fynbos, including protea species that live on similar sandstone soils in the Cape, more than 1700km away.

Dramatic sunrise and sunsets are the order of the day.  We were fortunate enough to have beautiful rain and thunder showers which always created dramatic skies.

Marakele has the largest breeding colony of the Cape Vulture in the country, approximately 800 breeding pairs, which nest on the Waterberg cliffs.  This impressive drive to the top of the waterberg mountain, to the Lenong View Point at 2015m, offers wonderful panoramic views of this park along with the Cape Vultures flying within full view to appreciate these birds.

More about Marakele developments in our next post.

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