Marloth Park is a unique project. It opened in 1972 as a holiday township, though a large part of the park remained natural. There are no internal fences and the vegetation remains in its original state. Marloth Park is separated by a boundary fence and by the Crocodile River from Kruger Park. Within the park, there are giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, zebra, impala, bushbuck, warthog, baboon, vervet monkey and other small game and a rich bird life. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of the natural park is well developed.
Inside Marloth Park (3,000 hectares), the freedom of movement is remarkable. Tourists can ride a bicycle or go for a walk on their own through the African bush. Movement is not confined to the housing units. While walking along the Crocodile River, visitors can watch spectacular wildlife scenes in the adjacent Kruger National Park. Local restaurants, shops and a filling station are easily accessible.
Marloth Park is a horse-shoe shaped area that borders the Crocodile River. Gate 1 is the West Gate, with only a dirt road. Gate 2, the East Gate, is right near this house. It is manned 24/7. The garbage dump and recycling is right beside Gate 2 as well. Gate 2 has a paved road leading to the n4 highway that leads to Mozambique to the East, and to Nelspruit, Johannesburg etc to the West. This is likely where you will have entered, and it is where you will exit to get to Crocodile Bridge entrance gate to Kruger Park, as well as to the nearest town with a large grocery store, that town being Komatipoort.
Marloth Park itself has many private homes like mine, as well as a number of lodges that cater to those wanting to explore Kruger without having to book months in advance to stay inside the Park itself. Some of these lodges have restaurants that are open to the public. There are also two “bush centers” (small shopping areas) that are almost side by side and contain, between them:
There is only one paved (tar) road that runs in the horse-shoe curve from gate to gate, Olifant Road. Both bush centers are on Olifant Road. All of the other streets are gravel/dirt so drive carefully if you have a “regular” car and not a bakkie/SUV/utility vehicle. You may drive all over Marloth and see interesting creatures. There is also a dirt road that follows the Crocodile River, and therefore the fence bordering Kruger, but it is definitely very rough for a normal car. You may of course walk any of these roads (DAYTIME ONLY). I like to walk along the Crocodile River fence for miles with my binoculars and camera. You will very often see hippo, crocodiles, and elephant. I have also occasionally seen lion and rhino in Kruger by the river, through the fence.
EATING OUT IN MARLOTH
Throughout Marloth, there are 5 restaurants:
My all-time favorite is Phumula roughly across form the larger of the two bush centers. It has a big indoor space and a big outdoor space with a lovely fountain, full bar, terrific (very reasonably-priced) food, and a very laid-back atmosphere. They also have TVs for those who feel the need to watch a soccer match or two. Nice mix of locals and international tourists. A great place to hang out. Phumula Lodge and Restaurant: www.phumulakruger.com
The Tin Shack, 4884 Olifant Road, is in one of the bush centers. Very casual upstairs open air patio (think plastic chairs and tables), and more “formal” dining downstairs. Great service, good food, recommended.
Die Watergat. It is in the larger bush center next to the bottle store. The food is hit and miss but it’s a pleasant enough place to sit outside, even if just for a beer. Inside is more of a smoky old-school pub with nothing but locals.
Jabula. It’s closer to Gate #1, inside a lodge. indoor and outdoor seating on a balcony in the trees, excellent food and excellent service. A great place for a leisurely dinner. Highly recommended. http://www.jabulamarlothpark.co.za/
Aamazing Riverview Restaurant. This place has gorgeous views over Crocodile River, and sometimes great food. But also sometimes horrible food, horrible service, and slightly psycho owners. (You have to read the Trip Advisor reviews to see some of their responses to critical reviews to see what I mean). Many have told me that it’s well worth to go for a few drinks and the view but remember the VERY mixed reviews...