–Discover Marataba, a luxury safari lodge in Marakele National Park, a seldom-visited corner of South Africa
Marataba, a 21,000-hectare (52,000-acre), privately managed section of the malaria-free Marakele National Park, is uniquely situated where lush bushveld gives way to the Kalahari sands, in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.
Marataba is part of the More Collection of safari lodges, and I am a big fan of More lodges in Sabi Sands, where they have 4 lodges and family villas. So I was really looking forward to experiencing the More touch at Marakele!
The Big Five are here, however leopards will prove pretty elusive. We had great lion and cheetah sightings (three cheetah in one day), as well as large elephant herds. And we ran into a “crash” of rhino (seven!) who were huddled together taking a nap in the shade of a tree. We even saw the rare black rhino!
Marataba offers two lodges here at Marakele: Safari Lodge, a 15 luxury tented camp which is very family-friendly (and has an electric fence), and Mountain Lodge, which is about 30 minutes away and is adult-only.
They also have the unique Thabametsi Treehouse, where you can spend a night under the stars in this solar-powered treehouse, a remote and luxurious retreat spanning two levels. With an enclosed shower, bedroom, lounge, and viewing decks, you’re treated to unspoiled views of the Waterberg and Marakele plains. You arrive at sunset for sundowners, enjoy a catered picnic, and as night falls, let the sounds and scents of the bush lull you to sleep. Beneath, wildlife engages in their nocturnal routines, while above, only the sky and stars keep you company.
I stayed at Safari Lodge in one of the luxury tents, which are air conditioned and screened to ensure comfort while you’re immersed in the wild. Beyond game drives and bush walks, there’s ample opportunity for relaxation. Whether it’s pool lounging, an in-room spa session, or simply soaking in the tranquil environment, the choice is yours.
The tent suite is designed for relaxation, with a king-sized bed, ensuite and romantic outdoor shower to watch wildlife 24/7. If you’re travelling with the little ones, your kids will love the Family Luxury Tents giving them the independence of having their own bedroom and bathroom. Between the hours spent on safari, you can relax at the pool, enjoy an in-room spa treatment, or simply choose to take in the mountain views.
The Safari Lodge also has the Mack & Madi Kids’ Adventure Safari Club, where children 5-11 yrs are in for a treat: fun activities, an eco-garden play area, and a dedicated coordinator to guide them. It’s all about creating cherished memories and sparking a lifelong love for nature.
The lodge itself welcomes children of all ages (I met parents with a 2 year old and a 2 month old infant), and offers babysitting services for the little ones who are not able to join certain safari experiences.
Besides game drives and bush walks, Marataba offers an exclusive water safari, taking you out on their boat while enjoying a coffee break or sundowners. I felt like I was in Botswana! We went out one morning so it was a coffee break, and we glided past a pod of hippos, a rhino, an elephant taking a bath AND a lion sitting in the shade-and we saw all of this literally within five minutes!
Another fantastic feature at Marataba is the watering hole in front of the main lodge area and deck-while I was here I saw large elephant herds and giraffes frequently drinking, especially because it was still dry season. There are also plenty of docile impala on the property, you don’t even need to go on your vehicle to see game.
One of three cheetahs we saw in one day!
Water Safari at Marataba, where a pod of hippos kept an eye on us
Check out the tent tour:
Any question about Marakele or Marataba?