Vacations to Marakele National Park, South Africa

Nestled in the Waterberg Mountains, the wildlife-rich Marakele National Park has a name that translates to ‘place of sanctuary’. Unlike the dry savannah associated with many of the South Africa’s other parks, Marakele is set within a backdrop of towering mountains, green hills and deep valleys where rivers and lakes run freely. It sits in a transitional zone between the arid western and wetter eastern regions of the Limpopo province, making it a birding haven, with many species using the uplift generated off the cliff face to ride the thermals.

An annual birding census is carried out by the Marakele Honorary Rangers and has logged species ranging from hawks and eagles to kingfishers, cuckoos and owls. Arguably the most exciting though, is the Cape Vulture – Marakele National Park is in fact home to the largest Cape Vulture colony in the world, with more than 800 breeding pairs nesting in the safety of its cliffs. These huge, imposing birds may look fierce and powerful but while they pose a threat to the wild animals and domestic livestock that they hunt and kill, their own survival is under threat and they are officially classified as ‘threatened’ and ‘vulnerable’ on the endangered species list. This impressive bird is the largest African Vulture by weight, reaching 11kg and displaying a giant wingspan up to a massive 2.5 meters. While it can be quite an intimidating site to see them circling above, it’s definitely a spectacular experieince that you will want to have your camera ready for.

Marakele National Park offers a diversity of landscapes, from rising mountains to deep tree-filled valleys. Rest camps are unfenced, and while the park is populated with elephants and rhinos, hyenas, leopards and lions, should you stay overnight it’s the monkeys you will want to keep your eye on. It’s not uncommon to wake up to a cheeky baboon or a mischievous vervet walking boldly up to your camp to say good morning, but this is all part of the park’s appeal.

Wilderness walks are particularly popular here, with morning and sunset treks suited to varying fitness levels and lasting from a couple of hours up to a full day. Professionally trained and well-experienced guides will be able to point out animal tracks as they lead you towards the best spots for game and bird viewing. Elephants are commonly spotted, and you’re virtually guaranteed to meet one of Marakele National Park’s vultures!

Highlights

  • Visit the largest colony of Cape Vultures in the world

  • Keep your eyes peeled for mischievous monkeys and cheeky baboons

  • Enjoy the unusual experience of a green, wet game reserve, rather than the typical dry savannah

Jody
Travel Designer & Safari Expert
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I adore Africa and have lived and worked in South Africa as well as travelling across the wider region. Spotting a leopard during a night safari at Nambiti Private Game Reserve is definitely an experience I'll remember forever.

Marakele National Park Trip Ideas

Here are some trip ideas that include Marakele National Park. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 01483 319 333

Map of Marakele National Park