7 Things to do at Marakele

Marakele National Park - View

View from the mountain – Marakele National Park

Marakele National Park

Marakele National Park is a Big 5 reserve just outside Thabazimbi, a mere three hours drive from OR Tambo International Airport. We have been travelling to Marakele for a good few years now and it is still one of our favourite destinations.

Below is a list of seven things you can do at Marakele and reasons to consider paying this beautiful reserver a visit:

  • Scenery – Take in the beauty of this incredible reserve by driving through plains and up the maintain pass to view what feels like the whole world.
  • Vultures – While up on the mountain, spend some time watching some of the more than 800 breeding pairs of vultures that nest on the cliffs.
  • 4×4 – Take a 4×4 trail. The one we did lasted a couple hours to drive only a few kilometers. While not very technical it is essential that your vehicle has high terrain clearance and a diff lock. This drive gives you a great chance to see places that few other people have seen!
  • Eco-Trail – For the 4×4 veterans out there, Marakele has a four day eco-trail that takes you over the mountains for a good exercise at roughing it.
  • Game Drive – Marakele offers paid for game drives which last up to three hours, depending on where you’re staying. The guides are knoewledgable, charismatic and we’ve never had a dull drive.
  • Self Drive – The Marakele Reserve sprawls a massive 40,000 ha and while the road network is not extensive, offers many hours of game spotting for you and your family.
  • Campsite – Campers who visit the Bontle Campsite, which is about 1km from tha main gate, are always treated to visits from the plains game that browse through the campsite in the evenings and we’ve even had herds of Blue Wildebeest spend the night next to our tent.

If you’re looking for somewhere to visit where you can relax and have a wonderful time, please give Marakele a visit. You won’t regret it!

Marakele National Park Accommodation

Marakele National Park

Marakele – The Reserve

Marakele National Park is a Big 5 national park located just outside of Thabazimbi in the North West Province, South Africa (about three hours drive from Johannesburg).

Marakele offers stunning scenery and some beautiful views from the top of one of the highest mountains in the area which is home to over 800 breeding pairs of vultures.

Activities at Marakele include game drives, a 4×4 Eco Trail as well as a few self-drive 4×4 routes.

Access to the reserve is easy as it is located right off the main road out of Thabazimbi. The roads in the park are good enough to allow access to all types of vehicles and the 4×4 trails are not extremely difficult.

Marakele is split into two sections, a small 4,000 hectare bottom ‘camp’ which has ample game and offers some beautiful sightings. The northern camp is very large with few roads so you can expect to drive around without spotting much, however, the scenery in that part of the reserve more than makes up for it.

Tlopi Camp

Tlopi Camp is located in the northern part of Marakele and is fairly easy to access, although you do need to be prepared to climb a rather steep hill in your vehicle.

The camp consists of self-catering tents on raised decks located on the banks of the central dam and is un-fenced. The view is stunning and in the mornings and evenings, game can be seen visiting the dam for something to drink.

The tented units are well maintained and consist of all the amenities one might expect from a tented camp, including a seperate kitchen and deck to sit on and enjoy the wondering sights and sounds around you.

Allow at least an hour to reach Tlopi Camp from the main gate.

Bontle Camp Site

Bontle Camp site in Marakele National Park is a powered campsite about a kilometer from the main gate which allows quick and easy access should you decide to visit Marakele for a weekend.

The campsite has a visible waterhole which is frequented by all types of game and because the site has no fence, the game wonder freely among the tents. It is not uncommon to have a herd of Wildebeest spending the night next to your tent once you turn in the for night.

There are enough ablution facilities to accommodate all the campsites and each site has its own braai and power connections.