This was my second safari and my husband's first trip to Africa and his first safari. As others have said in their reviews this place is stunningly beautiful. Expensive yes - but there is nothing this spectacular lodge doesn't provide or do perfectly for you - you will want for absolutely nothing. Yes the game viewing here at Marataba requires a little more patience than I had experienced previously but in a way it makes it that much more exciting when you do find animals - you just have to relax and enjoy the "African massage" as the bumpy game drives are called and enjoy the different types of drives. We were very fortunate to have the outstanding Liam as our guide/ranger - we had two young teenage kids on our vehicle as well as five different nationalities and he handled every request with great humour and diplomatic aplomb. He is a gem and extremely good at tracking. We saw four of the big five as well as baby hippos, baby rhinos, baby baboons and families of giraffes, warthogs, gnu's, impala, African rock pythons ( on the boat tour - a magical 1.5 hour trip) as well as bush pigs, hyenas, jackals, kudu etc. I don't want to repeat everything that others have written as it would be too repetitive. Some minor personal thoughts having spent two nights and four game drives here: IMHO I personally would not bring kids here unless they are very grown up and quite adaptable. The two teenagers on our trip who were very nice kids either slept during the game drives or played video games! At least they weren't any trouble! Also since there is no wi-Fi or television in the amazing luxury tents you will start to see that this is a place for people to escape and have a bucket list experience - not your average holiday/vacation and having a screaming three year old at dinner is not really fun for anyone including the parents when you are in the midst of the most peaceful and beautiful surroundings inside the Marakele park (malaria free - yeah!). There is some wi-Fi in the main reception area but it's spotty. This is an experience to be savored and enjoyed to the fullest so honeymooners, empty nesters, anniversary celebrators, adventure seekers, animal lovers, come and find respite but families should not really bring disinterested kids along. It's just not the right place for them.
The food is amazing and plentiful as previously described - I am a foodie, my husband is not and truthfully he did not like any of the appetizers on the dinner menu (they can be quite eclectic) but I loved everything especially the amazing cheeses and wines. The Chardonnay and the Pinotage (South African red wine) were delicious and service from Shaun was great. The brunch menu is outstanding and the scones were the best I have ever tasted! Soft, light, full of air and each bite was amazing. The boat trip and the game drives all have more food and drink so pace yourselves accordingly!
My husband and I both had outdoor massages on our patio by Yolanda to help us get over her jag and she is hands down the best massage therapist we have ever had. Coupled with a view of the dramatic Waterberg mountain range it was a magical experience. She also offers facials so treat yourself - it's very affordable and she is charming.
I especially appreciated the little touches - the raffia wrapped soaps, the candles lit at night by our huge bathtub, the hot water bottles on the game drives and in our beds at night, the chocolates on the bed with a little note, the stationery box so we could record which animals we saw each day, the candle-lit dining room and it's magical atmosphere, the hand towels folded in different shapes each day in the main rest room area, the divine toiletries and the bottles of water wrapped beautifully and handed to us as we left - I am very detail oriented and really appreciated all these small gestures.
Magical and highly recommended!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Marataba is a malaria-free 23000 hectare private concession within the Big5 Marakele National Park (Limpopo, South Africa). Just four hours from Johannesburg, this is a sanctuary where busy people can find themselves again by connecting with nature. We were rendered breathless by the dramatic Waterberg mountains, vast plains, rich animal diversity and winding rivers cutting through the landscape of the Marakele National Park. Rich red mountain rock meets lush green plains (where you will find yellowwood and cedar trees, 5m high cycads and tree ferns). All of the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats, as well as an amazing variety of birds (including the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures in the world, with more than 800 breeding pairs) have settled here. Marataba Safari Lodge is a simple extension of the natural environment beyond its walls - rich, bold, organic and patently magnificent. Whether you prefer your own company or that of new-found friends, there are a number of spots from which to soak up the view - hammock, pool lounger or grassy patch. On the menu for your pleasure is a smorgasbord of activities from which to choose. Whether game drive, walking trail, sunset river excursion on Miss Mara, or a private dinner for two, there is never enough time to exhaust the many ways there are to love this place. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marataba Safari Company Hotel Waterberg
- Marataba Safari Lodge Thabazimbi, Africa - South Africa