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Vlakvark Does Maroela Camp

This is another flippin’ wonderful camp! Maroela Satellite Camp in the Kruger National Park is hidden away amongst dense vegetation overlooking the Timbavati River bed – almost always dry. ALMOST being the operative word! We got to witness the Timbavati fill, a once in a lifetime experience, right place, right time!

Maroela has 20 camp sites which have electricity. We never use power but it’s good to know for those of you that do. We are 100% load-shedding when out and about with Vlakvark! Check-in is at Orpen Rest Camp where there is also a great shop to stock up at. You cannot book a site, you choose from what is available when you arrive. We found a large open area against the fence behind the ablution area, the opposite side of the camp to the river. It was perfect and as soon as darkness fell, the hyena were patrolling the fence line. 

Maroela has one ablution block which is really 5-star by any camping standards. Everything is kept spotlessly clean. There is a central kitchen area with hotplates and boiling water as well as a communal fridge/freezer.

That particular day, 8 January 2023, while on route to Orpen from Tsendze, we noticed a little water in the dry river bed and suddenly the bells went off. The heavy rains we had experienced at Tsendze had obviously also occurred in the Timbavati River catchment area. The river was coming down in flood. What an epic sight to witness. We turned around and headed to the first of the the two lookout points along the river towards Satara. There we found another car with a family waiting for the same thing. We parked alongside them and started up your typical Kruger friendship where everyone talks to each other with laughs and smiles. A few other vehicles came and went but we were determined to witness the event.

In the early hours of the following morning I was woken by the roar of lions, they literally sounded like they were in the tent. They were so close! I couldn’t wait to get out the gate that morning at 4.30 to try and find them. Getting out the gate at that time is a nightmare with one of the old fashioned rooftop tents. It’s quiet a challenge to get it packed away nicely in the dark without disturbing neighbours. Just after 4.30am and I opened the gates, out we went…..

We drove about 600 metres out of the camp road and there they were in the middle of the road. Two very handsome male lions and six females including the white lioness often seen in the Orpen area. What a treat. The one lioness who was passed out in the middle of the road had blood stains on her body, presumably from the previous night’s dinner. 

The day was spent meandering down to Paul Kruger gate where we exited after a short break at Lake Panic Bird Hide. As usual you were good to us…until next time Kruger!

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