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“So-so park, awful accommodation”

Marakele National Park
Ranked #2 of 7 things to do in Waterberg
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Valleys give way to grasslands and finally to mountains in this rolling, soaring wildlife sanctuary. Rare rhinos, African elephants, wild dogs and the prehistoric Cycad plants are among its amazing sights.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

We have just returned from 3 nights at Marakele Park. The park itself was so-so at best (ok animal sightings, awful map and directions), but our accommodation was terrible. Motswere 'cottage' has just recently been opened and is being offered as an alternative to Tlopi Tented Capm. DO NOT TAKE THAT OPTION. The 'cottage' is a re-purposed ranger's house, with cheapest-of-cheap updates, zero ambience or appeal, and you're fenced in behind a 3m high electric fence. And don't believe the '10 minutes from the gate'. It's 27km from the main gate to Motswere, taking us over an hour to drive each way. The only amusing factor is all of this was spotting all the photoshopped aspects of the 'quaint cottage' photo shown in the SANParks News, compared with reality. Just one, big, plain rip-off!

6  Thank Catherine M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (108)
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64 - 68 of 108 reviews

Reviewed February 24, 2013

We spent a three-day weekend at Marakele. It's very scenic and beautiful. The animal density is quite a bit lower than at some other parks. They have 200 elephants, but the guide just laughed when I asked him how often people see them from the road. We didn't, nor did anyone we talked to. There are some rhino who live near the campground. A lot of ostriches, wildebeest, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, various bok.

Cape Vultures: these are cool. They only live in one area, which is on the ridge at the high point of the park. It's a long, steep tar road to the top (figure on at least an hour from the entrance gate). You can't go up close to the vultures but you can see them from a distance overhead. The views up top are truly spectacular.

We took two safari trips with the SANParks guide. It was good to get out and see other regions of the park that are closed off to private vehicles, and the trips weren't expensive. Animal density was still quite low and we saw very little in our 5 hours out, though part of that is just luck. Because there is only one guide, it's not like multiple guide services are talking on the radio about where the game are... you go out and drive around and either find something, or you don't. Oh, we did see a ton of huge spiders... really big and I'd never seen anything like them before.

The largest number of animals is by the entrance gate and the campground just inside the gate. There are rhinos, ostriches, warthogs, etc. all living right there, and it's very scenic and charming. As you move further out into the park, you see the very beautiful landscapes and mountains, but don't go for the animals.

Note that you can drive only in a small region of the park (about 25% of it, in the SW corner). That makes it effectively quite a bit smaller than others like Pilanesberg or Madikwe, and the tourist density is correspondingly lower. The upside of that is that if you do see something, you'll be the only one: there were very few other cars at all. Apparently there are some private operators who run trips on their own roads in the northern part of the park, but those are not accessible from the main entrance on the south side.

Admission is cheap and the people at SANParks running it were friendly and very helpful. Take your own food -- the store at the entrance has a few snacks, but that's it.

5  Thank Hankk2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

We've been there lots of times and I must say it's always pleasant. Firstly the entrance fee is very low, so a big family can go there with a smile. We've never been there without seeing the rhino. Something we look forward to every time. There are viewpoints near water for the birdwatchers and then there's a long winding road up the Kransberg to the top of the mountain, with a spectacular view, only problem is it's a single road so if a car comes from the front you need nerves of steel.(my opinion) Then the highlight of our last trip was a visit to some family in the caravan park. There are no fence around so you are sleeping in the wild, literally. The rhino and ostriches graze in and around the camp.

5  Thank Jackie T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2013

nothing to dislike everywhere you look is gorgeous, the people pleasent and the animals are magnificient. we had the fortune to see al the big 5 whci made our trip even more special.

5  Thank lilideny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

We saw lots of animals. Take your time to enjoy an evening or a morning at the campside and watch the rhinos, giraffes, zebras, ... at the waterhole!

3  Thank Julia_Romeo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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