In Marakele National Park, you have the privilege to camp with no fences or barriers between you and the wildlife.
Here you share the same space and it provides some magical encounters as these photos will show...
It offers real unique wilderness experiences for the discerning nature lover...
There are, of course, also Lions and Elephants, but not in the portion where Bontle camp is situated.
Let me share some of my pictures of the animals we encountered while camping at Bontle campsite, in Marakele National Park...
|One of the biggest attractions of camping at Bontle are the Rhinos. At the point of time that these photos were taken, there were 9 Rhinos regularly visiting the campsite. At the time we had a family consisting of Mom, Dad and Baby visiting, a lone bull who tried to to chase Dad off but Dad wouldn't have anything of it. Lastly, there was a group of 5 younger Rhino's who usually made their rounds after sunset. Here is a picture of the lone bull approaching the campsite...|
|Here he is in the camping grounds. The low posts planted in the ground is the border of the camping grounds. You may not go outside that border, but the animals can come and go at will.|
|Impressive! This bull really enjoyed grazing in the camping grounds. On this trip, except for the rangers, we were the only people around, so the Rhinos and other wildlife, for that matter, had no problem with coming right into the camping site. In fact, it felt as if it were us that were trespassing! Magic!|
|After sunset and this big guy was still around....|
|"And here is Mom, Dad and Junior!"|
|They just came straight in as if we were not there. In the foreground you can see the guide rope of the caravan tent. Getting really close and making us really, really nervous...|
|This is one of my favorite pictures and a scene that I will remember of Marakele as long as I live...Just us, wilderness and the Rhinos...|
Dusk...and even more Rhinos arrive. This was an incredible treat. We watched and enjoyed their company on this evening until before they moved off far enough away to allow us to light a fire to braai... (Have a barbecue)
Just a word of warning...these are wild Rhino's, and although they were at no time aggressive towards us, keep your distance. At night, if you have to visit the ablutions, take along a decent torch, you do not want to stumble across one of these gentle giants in the dark! As I have said: "They are still wild animals and deserve our respect, so keep your distance." It will be incredibly sad if someone got hurt by one of these animals and the fences go up. It will be a great loss to us all, and Marakele, the place of sanctuary, will have lost a great deal of it's magic...The Magic that makes a Magical Southern African Safari...the opportunity to camp in the wilderness with no barriers between you and the African Safari Wildlife frequenting this area...
|Here is another one of our favorite visitors on this trip. Late afternoon this Warthog would come around and dig up grassroots and whatever to eat until late at night. He was always in the vicinity.|
|Boo!...As long as you leave him alone, he will leave you alone. Those tusks are real...do not try and pet him!|
|Shortly after we set up camp after arriving at Marakele, this female ostrich arrived...|
|Although it appeared if she ignored us, I am sure she was checking us out...|
|I knew it! Here is Dad, giving us the once over...|
|And before we knew it, out popped the little guys!|
|From this point onward, we had baby Ostrich chicks all over the camp! Up to 20 and more at a time!|
|We took this pictures a couple of months later during a another visit. just look how the chicks have grown!|
|This is good picture of the adolescent ostriches...|
|They certainly grow quickly...|
|Next summer, she will probably have her own brood around...|
|It is not only big animals that comes around. One morning this little tortoise was outside the caravan...|
|Although we saw the giraffes on a number of occasions, they were quite shy and very much aware of us camping there. This was the closest they came to us.|
|We came across this lone Blue Wildebeest one morning while exploring the park...|
|This zebra stopped to have a quick look at us before following his mates into the bush...|