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“Magical Safari”

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Marataba Safari Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Thabazimbi
Miami
Level Contributor
1,039 reviews
79 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 505 helpful votes
“Magical Safari”
Reviewed 1 August 2014 via mobile

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!

Stayed August 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank mwooduk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (77)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2014

We went to Marataba for our honeymoon and it was the best Safari Lodge we have ever been to. The service is 5 star and the attention to personal detail out of this world! With a limited number of guests at any time you are guaranteed personal service and to feel like royalty. The luxury tents are stunning with complete privacy and breathtaking views. The food is absolutely exceptional with everything made fresh daily - from the biscuits served with afternoon tea to the croissants served at breakfast. Game drives are equally memorable and what puts Marataba at a cut above the rest is keeping groups small and intimate and the excellent knowledge of the game rangers. This is a South African gem that shouldn't be missed!

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ads242
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2014

Marataba is a stunningly beautiful place at the foot of the Waterberg mountains. Our stay was so varied and well thought out. Our guide, Adriaan, knows the region very well and is knowledgeable about the trees, insects, birds and animal behavior. We even learned about reading the night sky to find south! Everyone there went out of their way to make our stay fabulous. The meals were extraordinary, the tented rooms very comfortable, the game drives and animals out of this world. We saw lion on all three days with a family of four passing right alongside the jeep. I loved this place, the friendliness of all the staff, and the magical evenings outside. I've been to several game parks, loved most, but this was my favorite!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mel M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2014

We had an excellent stay at this hidden gem. The rangers pulled all the stops t try and find us the two elderly lions but to no avail. Though we understand they were spotted the very next drive. Shame but thank to Michelle and Wickers for trying. Though we did see a Pangolin and an aardwolf all in same day very rare and very special.

Room Tip: The rooms are great they are high class tents with bathrooms and baths. Just don't worry about...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Englewood, Florida
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2014

Everyone's great reviews makes you think there is no way Marataba could be that good, but it meets and exceeds your expectations. We spent 3 nights and 5 game drives. The place is better in person than the pictures can show. The rooms are so clean and the bed was very comfortable, everyone was talking about the bed the next day. The bathroom was beautiful, great shower, and I was happy to see a normal toilet. We had air conditioning. The food was wonderful and we ate 7 times a day. The brandy in our room was smooth and we loved the South African wines served. The food was outstanding and we are foodies. My massage outside on the deck was wonderful. The staff are so gracious and genuine. The game drives are amazing, it is like you are inside a huge zoo, you are part of it, and you see all the animals in their natural habitat and the way they really live. The landscape is beautiful with the mountains, river, and valley. It has been 3 months and when we think about Marataba we go off into our memories and can not believe how wonderful of a time we had. We want to go back and take our children and grandchildren. It was one of our top life experiences.

Room Tip: The lodge is in the middle, tent 1 is furthest away, 7 & 8 on each side of lodge down to 12, the...
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Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank KatieB7SkiBeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hartbeespoort, South Africa
Level Contributor
31 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 July 2014 via mobile

Seldom do you find a bush lodge that gets it all right, from service, to accommodation, to bush experience to amazing cuisine. We had a wonderful stay and could find no fault! The team made us feel so welcome. Our ranger was knowledgeable and friendly at all times and the chef's offering was consistently excellent. Nothing was too much trouble for the manager and his team. Well done! We would certainly like to return!

  • Stayed June 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Janbg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2014

My wife and I spent 3 nights at Marataba Safari Lodge in early June 2014 and enjoyed a five star experience. The setting, accommodations, food, and game drive vehicles are top notch, as the other reviewers have described. In Marataba's case, the staff is what made it such an outstanding experience for us. General managers Gawie & Yolandi Grobler are engaged and enthusiastic about their jobs. Our field ranger - Melanie Delamare - was knowledgeable and insightful. The resort staff was gracious and helpful.
A highlight of our experience was a river cruise with Melanie Delamare and Liam Charlton. My wife and I had the good fortune of being the only two who chose to cruise that day, and we enjoyed a special encounter with playful, bathing elephants. Fortunately, we had taken a diversion to seek out an African Rock Python that was crossing the water ahead of us, only to stumble upon the young elephants frolicking in the shallow river waters directly ahead. We lingered there for a fascinating afternoon cruise.
We would gladly return to Marataba upon our next visit to South Africa.

Room Tip: The rooms front the stream that runs through the lodge.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank vagabond07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Marataba Safari Lodge

Property: Marataba Safari Lodge
Address: Rooiberg Road | Marakele National Park, Thabazimbi 380, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Thabazimbi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Thabazimbi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Marataba Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 15
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

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