National Park is in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains in Limpopo province. It is around 3 hours’ drive from Johannesburg and the closest town is Thabazimbi.
one of the smaller South African National parks but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. It is particularly worth visiting for slightly out of the ordinary sightings, including the world’s largest breeding colony of the endangered Cape Vulture.
Although the park does have the Big Five, you should not go in hopes of seeing abundant large game, but rather for the beautiful landscape and relaxing, yet thrilling bush experience.
Bontle camp consists of 36 camp sites arranged into three clusters with one communal ablution block per cluster. The Rhino and Tsessebe loops have unobstructed views of the Bontle dam and are fairly open with sparse shade.
Rhino loop sites 1, 2, 5 through 10 and Tsessebe 1 through 7 are right on the perimeter and have lovely views of the Bontle dam and surrounds.
The camp is frequented by baboons and monkeys so please don’t feed them or leave your food and garbage out.
Sable loop campsites are more private and shaded under karee, leadwood, bush-willow and black monkey-thorn trees.
All sites have 220v electrity, a light, bin, braai (bbq) and water tap.
The 3 ablution blocks feature 4 hot-water showers, toilets and sculleries each. The ablutions are neat and tidy and are serviced daily.
At Bontle there are no fences, just some short poles planted in the ground a few metres apart to define the camp’s perimeter, and a few small signs telling you not to go any further. This makes the camp feel like part of the surrounding bush and it’s impossible to resist its wilderness charm.
The closeness to wildlife, where there are no fences to act as a barrier between you and them, is very special. Rhino, kudu, impala, wildebeest and ostriches are regular visitors to the camp.
If you want to see the big five, you’ll have to head over to the larger part of the park. The two parts of the park are separated. The roads in Marakele are mostly dirt with some asphalt and paved sections. There is aslo a 4×4-only section.
Going up to the lookout point, is a must do, that is if you aren’t scared of heights and driving with a sheer drop off on the one side. It is tricky negotiating 2 vehicles passing each other with very little space for manoeuvring.
Once you reach the top though, the amazing views make it all worthwhile.
Coming back to my campsite at Bontle is always the highlight of my day though, grabbing a cool drink and relaxing in comfort while the animals come and go.
Bookings can be made through the SANParks webstie or telephone;
Tel: +27 12 428 9111