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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. All the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats occur here as well as an amazing variety of birds including the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world.
NB. Some parts of the park are only accessible with 4x4 vehicles.
The park is situated in the Waterberg mountain range in the Northern Province near Thabazimbi, approximately 250 km north of Johannesburg, in a malaria-free area. 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.Access road from Thabazimbi to the park has been tarred, but internal roads are gravelled. The road to the Sentech towers is a tarred single lane track. The camp and surrounding routes are accessible for 4X4 vehicles only. The office is approximately 12 km from the Thabazimbi crossing on the road from Thabazimbi to Alma.
The gates close at 18:00 in summer and at 17:00 in winter. Residents with keys have daylight hours to get to the office or tent camp. Late arrivals are not permitted. The reception office is open from 07:30 to 16:00.
Some of the park's roads are only accessible to 4x4 vehicles. The Kwaggasvlakte plains immediately north of the new reception block and camping 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 are located outside the park in the adjacent town of Thabazimbi
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.