Marakele National Park, Limpopo
The Marakele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains has become a 'place of sanctuary' for a vast variety of wildlife mainly due to its location in the transitional zone between the dry western and moist eastern regions of South Africa.
The Marakele National 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 as well as an amazing variety of birds including the largest colony of endangered Cape Vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, have settled here.
Marakele is home to most of the large mammals synonymous with the African bush, including elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo, leopard and cheetah. Lion and spotted hyena are the only large predators found in the Marakele park. Resident antelope include, sable, kudu, eland, impala, waterbuck, tsessebe and many smaller species. Chacma baboon and Vervet monkey are two species to be watched carefully for mischief, particularly around the rest camps.
Other species to look out for in the lower lying bushveld and broadleaf woodland regions include Purple Roller, Black Cuckooshrike, Brubru, Whitecrowned Shrike and White Helmetshrike and the exquisite Blue Waxbill, Violeteared and Blackcheeked Waxbills. Bee-eaters are conspicuous, particularly Whitefronted and Little with Swallowtailed (winter) and Carmine and European (summer) present as well.