Focus on: Marakele National Park, Thabazimbi, Waterberg, Limpopo, South Africa
The Marakele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, as its Tswana name suggests, has become a 'place of sanctuary' for an impressive variety of wildlife due to its location in the transitional zone between the dry western and moister eastern regions of South Africa.

The park is characterised by contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys.

Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, five metre high cycads and tree ferns, are some of the plant species found here and Marakele supports 765 plant species.

The mountain top towers are a must. A narrow tar road takes visitors up to the top of the Waterberg massif. Views and scenery are spectacular.

Marakele is home to most of the large mammals synonymous with the African bush, including elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo, leopard and cheetah.

Large Predators such as cheetah, wild dog, brown hyena, leopard and now also lion, occur in the park. The wild dogs have been the first of these re-introductions.

Resident antelope include, sable, kudu, eland, impala, waterbuck, tsessebe and many smaller species.

Chacma baboon and vervet monkey are two species to be watched carefully for mischief, particularly around the rest camps.

Things to Seek
* Cape Vulture – the park hosts one of the world’s largest breeding colonies of this endangered species. While birds may be seen in the air catching thermals anywhere in the park, the drive up to the Sentech Towers is nearest to the colony and close encounters with these enormous birds will leave visitors breathless.
* African Elephant – while some elephant had been previously reintroduced into the park, it was the release of the Tuli elephants in 1999 that captured the public’s and media’s imagination.
* Rhino – Marakele has a high density of both rhino species and most visitors should see these animals, particularly the more gregarious and diurnal white rhinoceros.
* Kudu – as browsers these antelope are in their element at Marakele. Look out for the bulls with their magnificent spiral horns.
* The not-so-often-seen-elsewhere antelope species such as reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, eland and tsessebe can be found here.

Roads
Some of the park's roads are only accessible to 4x4 vehicles. You will be warned at reception about roads that are inaccessible in the Park.

The Kwaggasvlakte plains immediately north of the reception block can be traversed in a normal sedan, as can the entrance roads to the safari tent camp and bush camp.

The narrow track up to the towers is also accessible. Most other roads will present difficult terrain.

In an effort to keep the park ecosystem as undisturbed as possible, most facilities (shops, restaurant, fuel, etc) are located outside the park in the town of Thabazimbi.

Special notes
Transporting of people on open vehicles in the Park is not allowed.
No driving at night is allowed in the Park.
No collection of firewood.
You will be warned at reception about roads that are inaccessible in the Park. Should you drive on these roads and get stuck you will be charged for recovery expenses of a minimum of R50,00.
Be aware of Baboons and Vervet Monkeys. Keep your tents closed when driving around and lock food in the tent’s metal cupboard.
No pets are allowed in the Park.
A general speed limit of 30 km/h must be maintained within the Park’s boundaries.

Accommodation
Tlopi Tented Camp with furnished units overlooking the banks of the Apiesrivierpoort Dam.

Each tent has two beds (two stretchers are available which are more suitable for children), private bathroom (shower, wash basin and toilet), a fully equipped kitchen with a refrigerator/freezer, two-plate stove and electricity.

Each tent has a veranda with table and deck chairs and barbecue facilities. One tent has wheelchair access.

The camp is unfenced and is approximately 17 km from the Reception Office.

Conservation Fees
Please note rates do not include daily conservation levies. Please see details of Conservation Fees

How to get there
Travellers 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 3 km from the Hoopdal/Rooiberg crossing on the road from Thabazimbi to Alma.

Access road from Thabazimbi to the park has been tarred, but internal roads are gravelled.

Gate Hours
The gates close at 18:00 in summertime and at 17:00 in winter. Late arrivals are not permitted.

The reception office is open from 07:30 to 17:00 in winter and 07:30 to 18:00 in summer.

Clothing & Accessories
Remember to bring a camera, binoculars, bird and wildlife reference books, a hat and sunscreen lotion.
Also remember to take along medicines such as anti-histamine and lotion for insect stings and bites.
Cool clothing for summer and warm for winter - the region is subject to sudden changes in weather, particularly in the mountains.
Remember charcoal or wood as this is not available in the park.
Visitors should also remember to take a torch along as the camp has no illumination at night.

Health & Climate
Summers 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 is moderate with frost occurring in the low lying regions only.
Mornings and nights can be cold, but day temperatures are pleasant.
Rainfall between 500 – 700 mm per annum.

Article from: www.places.co.za