A Weekend in Marakele National Park

The best thing about living in Botswana is how many options there are for awesome weekend trips! When I get really bogged down by the frustrations of my work – I can just say “Hey lets get the heck out of here and go hang out in the middle of nowhere this weekend!

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I am lucky to have good friends working at the hospital with me – we can share our frustrations and support each other through the difficulties of our work. My friend Surbhi and I really needed a break so we decided to try out a new national park in South Africa. Marakele NP is about 3.5 hours from Gabs and situated in the heart of the Waterburg Mountains. These aren’t the kind of mountains you see in Colorado – but the red rugged cliff-like mountains that are characteristic of SA.

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On a recommendation of a friend, we booked an air bnb place called Luara Wildlife. It’s crazy how you can basically book your own safari through air bnb in SA! We fell in love with this place! It was started by a family who had a game farm right outside the national park and decided to build up a nice lodge style area for guests. There are two tents that have been lavishly decorated and have a full shower, bath tub and toilet. Raised walkways connect to a braai pit and then to a full kitchen and dining area. The best part about the place is the dining room porch situated right next to a watering hole which is frequented by a variety of animals. In the morning we were treated to breakfast with a group of giraffes. You can also do nature walks around the property. The one mistake we made was not putting all our food away in kitchen cabinets. We were visited by some very clever monkeys who knew how to break into the kitchen! We had a loaf of homemade bread that was stored on the counter in a bread box with a clear lid – the monkey took off the lid and grabbed one fistful out of the bread! But only one! I guess he decided he didn’t like it. There was also one orange that had a single bite out of it! Who knew monkeys could be so picky!

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our front porch

The gate to Marakele is about a 10 minute drive from the lodge. The main draw of this park is the unique landscape of the Waterburg Mountains. You can drive up a winding mountain pass to get to a beautiful look out over the mountains. Although the park does contain the big five – it is not very dense with game. We saw elephants, zebra, giraffe and some other antelope but if you are really interested in game this isn’t the best spot for you. There is a lake inside the park that has some cottages set up along the shore which looked really nice. I would also recommend staying at those – they are called the Tlopi Tented camp. Would be a great place for bird watchers!

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This was such an easy and enjoyable getaway! Would absolutely recommend Luara Wildlife to anyone looking for an awesome glamping experience!

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