4. MAROELA SATELLITE CAMP
CLOSEST GATE Orpen SITES 20 BEST FEATURE Riverbed views SPECIAL SIGHTINGS Predators, honey badgers
Satara is a very popular campsite, with a pool, shop, restaurant, the famous S100 road and the ‘killing fields’ on the H1-4, all well-known for good predator sightings. However, Maroela is the campsite in this region that I’ll return to because it’s small (Satara is the second-biggest camp in the park after Skukuza) and is set on the dry Timbavati riverbed in an incredibly relaxed atmosphere – until the resident honey badger pays a visit! Just two kilometres from the Orpen Gate but set back into the bush so there’s no passing traffic, it has electricity and a communal kitchen. Bushbuck tiptoe between sites and Natal spurfowl scratch around your camp chair. The sites beside the riverbed are best, but there are also some on the fence that look out into bush; there’s a communal viewpoint overlooking the riverbed if you feel you’re missing out. You can easily while away an afternoon in your campsite below bushwillow and leadwood trees inhabited by purplecrested turacos – just beware of baboons and badgers. They are notorious for causing havoc here, so keep all your food locked in the car and not in your tent (or they’ll wreck it trying to get in). DO THIS The H7 road, from Orpen Gate to Satara, is a great drive for seeing plains game like zebra and thus also good for spotting cheetahs and other predators. The trees along the Timbavati River often host lazy leopards, so be sure to look up. PLUS Nearby, Tamboti tented camp is also exceptional. All tents line the dry Timbavati River and have a small deck beside the boundary fence and a braai area with great views. There are 30 budget tents (15 are two-bed, the others sleep four), with communal ablutions and kitchen facilities. Bring your own eating utensils, pots and pans. From R610 for two.
below Ellies come to dig for water riverbed the surface of this dry CAPEBUFFALO