Marakele National Park Travel Guide

Elephants in Marakele National Park.

Home to the world's largest breeding colony of the endangered Cape Vulture as well as the Big Five of the animal kingdom, Marakele National Park offers an African safari experience with a difference.

A Travel Guide to Marakele National Park

Access

Marakele can be reached by air or by road from Johannesburg, where you take the N1 towards Thabazimbi. The drive is 250 kilometres (155.34 miles) and takes approximately 4 hours.

Airport

The closest airport is Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport

Highlights

Bird watching, bird watching, bird watching! Marakele National Park is home to the world's largest breeding colony of the endangered Cape Vulture. The safari park is also appealing to birders as it is located between the dry western areas and the wetter eastern regions, making it a fantastic reserve to look for raptors and many other birds. The park offers spectacular and varied scenery with abundant wildlife. Being a malaria-free area Marakele is the ideal game reserve to take small children.

Activities

There is 38km of road network throughout the park, offering a number of game-viewing routes on which guests can explore the park and enjoy watching the African wildlife. The park also offers a number of 4X4 trails for those seeking a little adventure. The park-run accommodation offers guests the option of going on morning and sunset guided-game drives and bush walks. There is also a two night 4X4 eco-trail that is definitely worth exploring.

Marakele Accommodation options

There are 3 options available for travellers to the Marakele National Park

  • Tlopi Tented Camp
  • Bontle Camping Site
  • Marataba Safari Company Lodge

Marakele, Limpopo

The experience

Marakele National Park is a magnificent Big Five game reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Marakele is particularly worth visiting for slightly out of the ordinary sightings, including the world's largest breeding colony of the endangered Cape Vulture.

The safari park is also appealing to birders as it is located between the dry western areas and the wetter eastern regions making it a fantastic reserve to look for raptors and many other birds. A trip along the narrow tarred road to the look out at Kranskop is definitely a highlight of a visit to the Marakele game reserve as it takes you through several vegetation zones and the changing landscape is definitely worth taking in.

Marakele first gained the public's attention with the introduction of the Tuli Elephants that were so badly treated in 1999. Marakele has a large population of Rhinoceros and many visitors come to the national park purely in the hopes of seeing these magnificent creatures.

Although the park does have the Big Five it is not very well stocked and one should not go in hopes of seeing abundant large game, but should rather go for the beautiful landscape and authentic, up close and relaxing, yet thrilling bush experience. Marakele is also home to a number of other rarely seen antelope including Tsessebe, Mountain reedbuck and Eland.

Climate

Marakele is situated in a summer rainfall region and summers are very hot (between 26 - 36C) but manageable. Winters are moderate but mornings and nights can be very cold so pack a few extra layers. Minimum temperatures in winter range from 1 - 6C. Rainfall occurs between October and April with the average rainfall being between 485mm on the plains to 720mm on higher ground.

Useful information

Vervet monkeys and baboons have been known to break into the tents and ransack them looking for food and guests are advise to always lock food away. The safari tented camp has no fences around it and game is able to freely walk through the camping area. Overnight visitors are thus advised to staying within the confines of their tents or on the viewing deck.

No driving is permitted in the park at night time and visitors should take heed that there are many roads within the park that are inaccessible and fines will be given if you drive off the roads. Visitors to the Marakele National Park are also advised to take note that there is no fuel or supplies such as fire wood or charcoal available in the reserve, and the closest town is Thabazimbi, approximately a 12 kilometres drive.

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South Africa Nature Reserves : Game Reserves and National Parks
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