Set amid the dramatic mountain scenery of the Marakele National Park in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Marataba Safari Lodge is an undiscovered gem. The only lodge in the23,000 hectare, malaria-free private concession, it combines exclusivity with Big Five game-viewing in an uncrowded and unspoilt environment, where rarer creatures such as the pangolin and the aardvark are also to be seen. Part of the More Hotels portfolio, known for their intimate and family-friendly luxury lodges, Marataba is an easy 3 ½ hour drive from Johannesburg. Game walks and boat trips, as well as game drives, offer an in-depth exploration of this stunning safari wilderness.
The fifteen incredibly spacious stone and canvas tented suites are raised on wooden decks with beautiful views over the meandering river and plains to the Waterberg Mountains. Luxuriously furnished in contemporary African chic, the air-conditioned suites are light and airy with very comfortable big beds, generous armchairs and all sorts of extra decorative touches. The en-suite bathroom features an oval stone bath with a view, as well as both indoor and outdoor showers with running hot water. Modern conveniences include hairdryers, room safes and international adaptors, and there is wi-fi in the main lodge area.
While there is plenty of time in between game drives to indulge in a massage or relax in a hammock by the swimming pool at the main lodge, the focus is on the best game-viewing. And that is what the guides deliver: with their intimate knowledge of the land and the habits of the wildlife, they show guests an amazing diversity of animals, from elephant to leopard, Cape vulture to bat-eared fox and an impressive array of birdlife. Boat trips along the winding river offer another perspective as the animals come to drink.
First class cuisine is served outside under the stars, in the high-ceilinged dining room or in the boma and the emphasis is on fresh produce creatively prepared, and delicious home baked goodies for breakfasts, teas and snacks. So much attention to detail goes into every aspect at Marataba that it’s no surprise guests are reluctant to leave at the end of their luxury African safari.