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Africa Tours and Safaris
Marakele National Park

The Marakele National Park is a new game reserve under the management of South Africa's Nature Conservation and National Parks Board. The reserve lies about 250 km north of Johannesberg in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, a pristine mountain range rich in game. The park starts north of the town Thabazimbi and ends south of the Lalapala River. The Marakele National Park lies in the tranquil zone between the arid western and the wetter eastern parts of South Africa and therefore serves as home to an abundance of mammals and bird species common to both regions.

The park has summer seasons from October- March which are hot but the area does not suffer from the stifling humidity so typical of the eastern Lowveld. The park is situated in the summer rainfall region and rainfall occurs in the form of heavy thunderstorms or soft rain. Winter seasons are from May-August which are moderate with frost occurring in the low lying regions only. Mornings and nights can be cold, but day temperatures are pleasant.

The vegetation in the valleys of the Marakele Park comprises of numerous species. Even the rare yellowwood trees can be found here, huge cedars and up to 5 metre high cycads. The Marakele National Park has beautiful landscapes of mountains, hills and valleys. The game stock comprises of predators such as; lions elephants, black and white rhinos, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos, kudus, waterbuck and eland antelopes. One of the Park’s biggest birding attractions is one of the largest colony of Cape Vultures in the world (more than 800 breeding pairs). However this national park is also appealing to birders as it falls within the transition zone between the dry western regions and the moister eastern regions of the country. The Marakele National park is an excellent place to look for raptors, with many species using the uplift generated off the cliff faces of the Waterberg to sore on the thermals. Apart from the vultures, visitors should look for Gymnogene, Jackal Buzzard and several eagle species, including Black Eagle, African Hawk, Black-breasted Snake and Brown Snake Eagle. In summer Wahlberg’s Eagle becomes prominent. On areas of high ground Cape Rock Thrush, Mocking and Mountain Chat, Malachite and Greater Double-collared Sunbird and Swee Waxbill should be searched for. Other species to look out for in the lower lying bushveld and broadleaf woodland regions include Purple Roller, Black Cuckooshrike, Brubru, Whitecrowned Shrike and White Helmetshrike and the exquisite Blue Waxbill, Violeteared and Blackcheeked Waxbills. Bee-eaters are conspicuous, particularly Whitefronted and Little with Swallowtailed (winter) and Carmine and European (summer) present as well.

How to get there
* Travelers can take either: the N1 to Warmbaths and from there follow the R516 via Mabula and Leeupoort to Thabazimbi OR travel to Brits and follow the R511 via Beestekraal to Thabazimbi.

* The office is approximately 12 km from Thabazimbi crossing on the road from Thabazimbi to Alma.

1. Zwahili Game Lodge is situated 2 hours North of Johannesburg in a malaria free area at the foot of the Waterberg in the bushveld region, Limpopo Province.

2. Itaga Private Game Lodge is less than 2 hours from Johannesburg.

3. Marataba Lodge is an exclusive 23000 hectare private concession in the heart of the Marakele National Park.

4. Nedile Lodge is situated in the Malaria free Welgevonden Game Reserve, just 2.5 hours north of Pretoria.

5. Tilodi wilderness is located in the heart of the bushveld.

6. Riviere Private Game Farm is close to the little town of Vaalwater and only 2.5 hours drive from Johannesburg International Airport.

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