Travel Guide South Africa: Marakele National Park
Located in the southwestern part of South African Province Limpopo, Marakele National Park is home to breathtaking landscapes and numerous wild animals. Learn more in our blog
Discover the breathtaking landscape of the Marakele National Park! The park is far away from the South Africa’s tourist destinations which means that visitor can look forward to a particularly untouched and exclusive nature adventure in Marakele National Park, including fantastic animal sightings. The malaria-free reserve is home to the largest colony of Cape vultures and therefore one of the best places to watch this rare vulture species.
Marakele is located in the southwest of the Limpopo Province in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. For more than 24 years, the Big Five, wild dogs, giraffes and rare bird species have been protected in the 670 km² large reserve. Marakele is also culturally interesting – many remnants of the Iron Age can be discovered in the park.
Makarele National Park
1994 (then Kransberg National Park)
In the south-west of the Limpopo Province, delimited by the south-western range of hills of the Waterberg massif
approx. 670 km²
Lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, rhinos, wild dogs, giraffes, spotted hyaenas and over 20 different species of antelopes such as sable antelopes, tsessebe, gemsbok and reedbucks, as well as birds such as the highly endangered Cape vulture
In the national park itself there are four accommodations like the Tlopi Tented Camp or the Griffon Bush Camp. The Marataba Safari Lodge is also highly recommended. As part of a Natucate safari, the private Elephant Camp can also be visited. Outside the park there are dozens of other accommodations.
Game drives (suitable for families), bush walks, birding tours, including a walk to the Cape vulture colony
Best travel time
May to September
Marakele offers an exclusive African experience in a breathtaking rocky landscape. The region is malaria-free. The national park is particularly suitable for birdwatchers, as in addition to Cape vultures, many birds from Botswana and South Africa come together – and last but not least a large part of the typical African fauna.
Visiting Marakele National Park
The national park, which covers an area of about 670 km², is located 250 km north of Johannesburg and about 50 km east of the Botswana border in the Limpopo province. Limpopo is also home to the Kruger and Mapungubwe National Park.
Landscape and animals
The landscape consists of various bush lands, interrupted by impressive sandstone and basalt cliffs. The region is also interesting when it comes to trees, flowers and other plants. Plants like the endemic Waterberg cycad (Encephalartos eugene-maraisii), various tree ferns and proteas can be admired here.
The Marakele National Park is also home to a variety of animals. The Big Five are represented, including both African rhino species (white rhino and black rhino). There are also 20 different species of antelope such as sable antelopre, tsessebe, eland antelopes and two species of reedbuck. Wild dogs, aardwolves and aardvarks are also special features of the park. Furthermore, thanks to the rocky landscape, the national park has the largest breeding colony of Cape vultures. Other birds of prey also benefit from the rocks. The bird list consists of more than 870 species.
Accommodation and activities
There is a wide choice of different accommodation options in every price range. Within the park, however, there are only a few accommodations like the Tlopi Tented Camp and the Griffon Bush Camp. These combine affordable prices with fair services. High-end accommodation is also represented within the park by the Fifty Seven Waterberg or the Marataba Mountain and Safari Lodge. The private Elephant Camp can also be visited as part of a Natucate safari.
In the surrounding areas there is a huge selection of other camps and lodges. An inexpensive place to stay is the Marula Cottage Guest Lodge.
Activities range from game drives to bush walks and bird watching. Moreover, visitors should not miss a guided hike to the colony of Cape vultures. Here, you can have a close look at the endangered vultures species while enjoing a breathtaking view over the wild extensions of the national park.
It is possible to drive through the reserve in your own car, but only a few roads are passable with ordinary cars.
Best travel time
As heavy showers are not uncommon during the rainy season, it is worth visiting the national park between May and September. Especially towards the end of the dry season (August, September) many animals gather at the remaining waterholes.
The Marakele National Park, despite its location in the famous Limpopo, offers a comparatively exclusive, wild safari experience. In addition to game drives and bush walks, visitors can enjoy expeditions to the world's largest breeding colony of Cape vultures as well as 4x4 Ecotrail bush drives. A large selection of different accommodation in all price ranges allows every guest to make the right choice. The park is a true animal paradise with more than 90 species of mammals and around 870 species of birds. Furthermore, safari guests interested in botany and culture can also discover a lot.
Roam the green depths of Botswana's Okavango Delta on foot, in the mokoro or by off-road vehicle and experience safari trip full of adventure, wilderness and natural history