We arrived in Marakele National Park at 13h30 in a light drizzle.
The park is divided into 2 sections, the first has the camping section, Bontle camp, no dangerous animals on this side. We were met by a huge and beautiful giraffe close to the road…. Can’t call it a road… it was a muddy river !! Amazed that my car managed to get thru all that mud and we crossed under a bridge to the second section which fortunately had more tar roads, arriving at Tlopi Tented Camp by 14h30.
We got the “Cormorant” unit which was the 3rd last one in the row. Some of the units are close together sharing a “drive-way” but not ours. The unit is well equipped, the kitchen which is separate had everything you could possibly need. The bathroom area is spacious, there were 3 beds and shelfing racks for luggage. The drizzle continued, so my hopes of sitting on the lovely balcony overlooking the dam were a little dashed. We decided to braai early before the rain got worse and thought we’d play our boardgames in the kitchen area which had a big glass window and sliding door…. Unfortunately there were so many leaks that there was not even a single dry spot in the kitchen other than the sink itself, so we moved the kitchen table and chairs into the bedroom section.
Now I had read on social media a complaint about the wind and the tent and the guy was very upset by how much noise it made. We are seasoned campers, done the tent thing, the trailer tent and various caravans, we know what it’s like so I didn’t think much of his complaint. My apologies to that gentleman – you were absolutely correct – we had a horrendous night! The storm had picked up so much and the tent was so loose that the sides were bashing against the bed, my head, the shelving rack, the flaps blew open (Velcro too old to keep them closed and because the tent was out of shape the hooks didn’t all reach). There was no chance of sleeping when every few minutes your bed moved and there were loud bangs as the tent hit against the wooden items inside.
We had booked 2 nights at Marakele, but honestly just could not bare another experience like that. We went for an early morning drive to see some of the park, up to the Lenong View Point from which you should be able to catch sight of the 800 pairs of Cape Vultures, however it was completely out of sight in the clouds and rain. Got to see a buffalo though and various other animals like kudu, stunning waterfalls along the way. Make no mistake, Marakele and Tlopi is beautiful, but I’m very happy that we dashed out and arranged to check in to Mapungubwe 1 night earlier = best decision ever.