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.
Contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterize the park. Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, five metre high cycads and tree ferns, are some of the plant species found here.
All the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats as well as an amazing variety of birds including whats probably the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, have settled here at Marakele National Park. However, because of the park’s location within a transition zone between the dry western regions and the moister eastern regions of the country, an interesting variety of birdlife can be encountered (closely related species and mixed).
Camps and accommodation at Marakele National Park
Tlopi Tented Camp
Each tent has two beds (two stretchers are available which are more suitable for children), private bathroom (shower, wash basin and toilet), and 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 17km from the Reception Office.
Bontle Camping Site
Six two-bed tents and four tents with and double bed and two single beds. Each tent has a fan, two-plate stove, braai area, en-suite bathroom with shower, microwave, fridge and a kitchenette with utensils.
There are 38 campsites with power arranged into 3 clusters with one communal ablution block per cluster.
Gate Times at Marakele National Park:
Gate opens at 06:00 and closes at 18:00 - 1st Sept to 30th April
Gate opens at 06:00 and closes at 17:30 - 1st May to 31st August
5 Things to Seek
* Cape Vulture
* African Elephant
* The not-so-often-seen-elsewhere antelope species such as reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, eland and tsessebe can be found here.
- You will be warned at reception about roads that are inaccessible in the Park. Should you drive on these roads and get stuck we will contact a towing company for you and you will be charged for recovery expenses.
- No driving at night is allowed in the Park.
- No collection of firewood.
- Remember charcoal or wood, as this is not available in the park.
- A general speed limit of 30 km/h must be maintained within the Parks boundaries.
- You have to vacate the tent at 10:00 on the day of departure.
- The key for the gates must be returned to reception on the day of departure. Alternatively you can leave the key at the points indicated to you by the receptionist.
1. Accommodation rates do not include Conservation Fees which are payable at the entrance gates.
2. Please ensure that you are familiar with the Rules & Regulations of National Parks before making a booking.
Shop: In Thabazimbi.
Restaurant: In Thabazimbi.
80km of our roads are accessible to normal sedan vehicles.
No ATM facility available in the park.
Only Credit Cards are accepted at reception.
Electricity: Only the tented camp and camping site is supplied with electricity.
Fuel: Petrol and diesel available in Thabazimbi.
Garage: In Thabazimbi.
Medical services: Doctor and hospital in Thabazimbi.
Telephone: There are no public telephones in the park, but these are available in Thabazimbi.
Post Office: In Thabazimbi.
Police: The nearest police stations are located 12km from the office and camping site in Thabazimbi and approximately 18km north of the Kareehoek turnoff at Hoopdal.
Bird watching and game viewing.
Mountain pass up to an incredible view and proximity to the Cape vulture colony.
Morning and Sunset drives available.
Morning and Sunset Bush walks available.
Two nights 4x4 eco trail available.
Two nights Hiking Trail opening soon.
Camp Site (CK6P): Extra vehicles are charged a fee per night, PowerPoint.
Camp Site (CK6PZ): Extra vehicles are charged a fee per night, PowerPoint, Wheelchair accessible.
Safari Tent (ST2): 2 Single beds, Braai area, En-suite bathroom with shower, Fan, Kitchenette with utensils, Microwave & fridge, No smoking, Two plate stove.
Safari Tent (ST2Z): 2 Single beds, Accessible to Mobility Challenged, Braai area, En-suite bathroom with shower, Fan, Kitchenette with utensils, Microwave & fridge, No smoking, Two plate stove.
Safari Tent (ST4): 1 double bed, 2 Single beds, Braai area, En-suite bathroom with shower, Fan, Kitchenette with utensils, Microwave & fridge, No smoking, Two plate stove.
Motswere Guest Cottage (GC8): 2 bathrooms, each with w/c and shower, 2 bedrooms, each with 1 double bed, 2 bedrooms, each with 2 single beds, 27km distance from gate, Accessed with 4x4 or 2x4(diff lock) vehicles, Braai area, DSTV (limited channels), Fan, Fully equipped Kitchen, Lounge, No smoking, Veranda.
Safari Tent (ST2/3): 2 single beds, Additional stretcher provided on request, Check in before 17:00, Fan, Kitchen, No fishing or swimming allowed, No smoking, River view, WC and shower.
Safari Tent (ST2/3Z): 2 single beds, Additional stretcher provided on request, Check in before 17:00, Fan, Kitchen, No fishing or swimming allowed, No smoking, River view, Unit accessible to the mobility challenged, WC and shower.
- No cancellation fee will be incurred for cancellations made after payment of first deposit up to and including 46 days prior to arrival.
- Cancellation fees equal to 50% of the total reservation cost is payable in a case of cancellation made between 45 days and 30 days prior to arrival.
- Cancellation fee equal to 100% of the total reservation cost is payable in a case of a cancellation made between 29 days prior to and date of arrival
- 100% of the total cost for any non-arrival/no-shows
Reservation made within 45 days prior to arrival is payable within 24 hours from the day reservation is made.
- Conservation levy is always excluded from the booking amount and needs to be settled on arrival.
It is your responsibility to check if the reservation is correct. Should the reservation be incorrect, please contact our office immediately.
If the arrival date of the itinerary is postponed prior to or on date of arrival and then cancelled at a later stage, the fees that applied at the time of amendment will be enforced if the amount is greater than the new cancellation fees.
Cancelling or downgrading of a reservation 45 days prior to or on arrival will result in cancellation fees according to a sliding scale (based on the total reservation cost) which varies between 50% and 100%.
Should the reservation not be taken up on the arrival date the accommodation will be held until 09:00 the following day after which the reservation will be cancelled and the deposit, where applicable, forfeited.
Marakele National Park is situated in the Waterberg mountain range in the Limpopo Province (formerly Northern Province) near Thabazimbi, approximately 250km north of Johannesburg, in a malaria-free area.
Driving distances to Marakele: from Gauteng is 4 hours and from Tshwane 3 hours.
Travellers can take either:
the N1 to Bela-Bela (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.