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“Truly outstanding experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Marataba Safari Lodge

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Marataba Safari Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Rooiberg Road, Marakele National Park, Thabazimbi 380, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Dublin, Ireland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Truly outstanding experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2012

Could not recommend Marataba enough. Service, ranger, food and game drives were excellent. While we did not see any rhino or leopards on our drives, we found there is much greater diversity of general wildlife than that in Kruger where the primary focus of drives is on Big 5. Our ranger (Christoph) was very knowledgable of local flora and fauna and it was interesting to learn about this as well as good game viewing. Overall could not recommend enough, this was our first safari experience and the attentiveness and attention to detail of the staff was fantastic not to mention the food which was truly amazing.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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138 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
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Johannesburg
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2012

We spent a few days last week at this superb oasis in the bush. The game viewing surpassed our expectations; we have the attitude that 'we'll see what we see' and were pleasantly surprised at the different animals we saw - often quite close up eg. elephant and lions. On one late afternoon whilst enjoying a beautiful African sunset with our sundowners, we were 'serenaded' by a chorus of jackals all around us yet who remained unseen. Just one of those special, unplanned moments in the bush which stay with one forever!
Our accommodation was luxurious and all our meals were absolutely delicious. The attention to detail by all staff from Maryann (Acting GM), to the waitering staff, to the kitchen and to the rangers was fantastic. Little unexpected touches like hot-water bottles in our bed (part of the turn-down service), and a hot bubble-bath by candlelight on our last night make this lodge extra-special. Each time we returned from supper, the Marataba 'elves' had left their mark. As the only couple at the lodge, each evening we were seated for supper in different romantic locations together with loads of candles etc.
We were treated by all staff in an exemplary manner absolutely fitting to a 5-star establishment. Perhaps the ONLY disappointment was the lack of some snacks in our suite (only some nuts on first day which were subsequently removed and never replaced). The sherry carafe at least stayed.
Thank you to Maryann and staff for a really superb stay - we absolutely loved the privacy and uniqueness of Marataba - keep it up!!

Room Tip: Ask for Room 10; has a raised deck overlooking a small stream and facing the beautifuly Waterberg m...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Munich, Germany
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

Marataba Safari Company is located about 340 km NNW of Johannesburg, next to the beautiful Waterberg mountains and door to door with Marakele nationalpark. The area is considered as being malaria free, so unlike Kruger Nationalpark, Marataba offers some very nice game viewing opportunities and real African safari feeling, without having to worry about getting a malaria infection.

Marataba Lodge is operated by the Hunter Hotel Group, and definitely is one of those unique and special places that captivate you the moment you’re there!

How to get to Marataba:
The drive from Johannesburg to Marataba is pretty smooth, as you will encounter mostly motorways and tar roads. Only the last 7.5 km, just after the Police station in Rooiberg, will actually confront you with unpaved gravel roads.

Upon reaching the Marataba gate, the guard will check via radio that you’re actually on the Marataba guest list and once cleared, you can continue onwards to the lodge. Due to the fact that the roads within the Marataba concession are pretty rough, I would not advise trying to drive from the main gate to the lodge with a vehicle using a lowered „sports suspension“.

After a short drive of about 15-20 minutes (first game viewings promised) you’ll reach the gorgeous Marataba Lodge, and can instantly relax and leave all your worries behind for the rest of your stay (vehicles are taken care of, parked somewhere out of sight during your stay and returned in a “spick and span” condition on the day of your departure).

Upon arrival at the lodge, we were greeted by Yolanda the GM of the Hotel and Anton (which I would call the „good soul“ of Marataba) with cool flannel and cold drinks. Unnecessary to say that the luggage was instantly brought to our room and after a short introduction to the safety regulations and the typical daily schedule at Marataba, we were able to proceed to our suite.

In total, Marataba offers 15 luxurious, so called „tented suites“, which are located above a small riverbed. There is enough space between each of the suites, so guests will hardly notice anything from their neighbours.

Each of the tented suites features the following amenities (among others):

- a huge double bed with a very comfortable mattress and linen, guaranteeing a good night’s sleep

- an adjustable aircondition unit

- in-room charging station offering an adaptor from South African connector type to European and US style connector types

- 2 comfortable armchairs

- freestanding and very stylish bath-tub + an additional shower in the open bathroom area

- a lovely deck featuring two very comortable “beanbag seats” and offering a spectacular view over the Waterberg mountains and the riverbed (we actually had the opportunity to enjoy a lovely private dinner on the deck of our suite)

- backside of the suite equipped with two large separate stylish washbasins, sufficient space to place your toiletries as well as a large wardrobe for your clothing and your luggage

- a separate bathroom with WC

- high quality toiletries by Charlotte Rhys

- a very nice lighting concept that creates an intimate atmosphere in all parts of the suite

- a bottle/carafe of sherry

- a tray of biltong and dried fruit

- daily supply of ice cold drinking water in a thermos bottle as well as bottled mineralwater in the evening

- outdoor shower allowing you to cool off, while enjoyng an unspoiled view over the Waterberg mountains or simply watching animals visiting the opposite waterhole

- sliding wodden doors to your tent instead of the usual zippers you'll find in many other tented accomodations

etc…

All in all, Marataba Lodge offers a perfect carefree allround package, which will meet even the highest demands – basically the only thing you will not find in the lodge and the suites, is a radio and a TV-set. But honestly speaking, who needs multimedia entertainment, if you’re surrounded by the sights and sounds of the African bushveld?

Speaking of multimedia - if you need an internet connection, you can use the wireless LAN in the main builduing, which is free of charge. Although the wireless access point is connected to a relatively slow VSAT connection, the bandwidth is sufficient to send and receive e-mails and do some basic tasks on the WWW.

So what can guests expect on a typical relaxed day at Marataba?

- Wake-up call via telephone at 06:00h in the morning by your individual ranger (Thanks to howling jackals and the calls of the various spurfowls around the lodge, I assume you won’t really need the wake-up call by the ranger).

- Upon special request, the ranger will bring a tray with tea, coffee and some delicious homemade breakfast rusks to your suite (Marelize – thanks a lot for sharing the 3 rusk recipes!). Otherwise the early morning tea is served in the main lodge.

- Vehicles usually depart from the lodge for the early morning gamedrive at 06:30h, while you can expect to be back at the lodge by about 09:00h, followed by an exquisite breakfast buffet offering a huge selection of fresh fruit, cold meats, cheese as well as a hot breakfast of your choice (I can really recommend the omelet with chili, biltong and optional feta cheese!).

- After breakfast you can relax in your suite, chill-out at the pool area or simply enjoy the lounge area at the main building

- A light lunch is usually served under the beautiful camel thorn tree in the garden just outside the main lodge between approximately 12:30 and 14:30 h

- Afternoon tea is served around 16:00 h

- Departure for the late afternoon/evening gamedrive can be expected at around 16:30h and guests will enjoy an atmospheric sundowner somewhere in the reserve. Vehicles ususally return to the lodge around 19:00h.

- Upon arrival at the lodge you can either decide to take a welcome drink under the camel thorn tree, enjoying the garden scenery illuminated by several lanterns and fire bowls or proceed directly to your 4-course dinner under the roof of the lodge (the 4 chefs prepared some really excellent meals during our stay at Marataba and of course any kind of food allergy is respected and taken into account) .

- After dinner you can either enjoy some drinks in the main lodge or ask to be brought back to your suite. Due to the fact that the lodge and the suites are more or less not fenced, animals can roam freely through the camp, hence due to security reasons, a ranger will always bring you to your tent during darkness hours (leopard tracks are frequuently noted in the camp area).

Summary:
The 4 night stay at Marataba was the highlight of our 3 week vacation throughout various Namibian and South African resorts and we enjoyed every minute of it. The food prepared by the Marataba chefs is a treat, wine selection is excellent, the lodge and the suites are top of the line, gameviewing is great and the surrounding Waterberg mountains offer a breathtaking scenery regardless of where you reside within Marataba.

Last but not least, one of the important reasons why we enjoyed our stay at Marataba so much, was due to the exceptional staff keeping the place up and running – the team members are all very professional, yet extremely friendly and always made us feel like we were part of the Marataba family. Our “personal” ranger Keith Connelly, by the way - a walking encyclopedia and a very talented photographer, did a perfect job in patiently answering every one of our sometimes stupid questions and making our game drives a very entertaining, educative and memorable experience (who would have thought that termite mounds are such an exciting complex living virtual organism!).

Even if Marataba is smaller than Kruger, it offers very nice game viewing opportunities and bird spotters will love the variety of species that can be seen especially during the African summer.

For us the combination of nature and hospitality bundled with discrete luxury was a unique experience. One thing is for certain: As soon as time permits, we’ll book at least another 4 nights in this beautiful location!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2012

The unforgettable bush-veld experience starts when you enter the gate of Marataba - with a refreshing welcoming smile from the guard.
The contemporary style of the lodge is both elegant and exceptionally cosy with excellent food and exquisitely decorated tent chalets. The lodge offers two game drives per day - the rangers are particularly knowledgeable which makes each drive an adventure.
Marataba's splendid location with sweeping views of the Waterberg Mountains must be one of South Africa's most luxurious petit-luxe gems.

Room Tip: This was the first time that we stayed in the numbers 8 and lower - and they do have the best views.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2012

This was to be our first ever safari. We could not have chosen better. From the moment we arrived at Marataba Lodge, we were surrounded by luxury, fine food, knowledgable rangers and the friendliest atmosphere one could hope for.
We can thoroughly endorse earlier reviews so we will not repeat descriptions of wildlife observed or the magic of each venture to see animals we have longed to see at close range. Perhaps we could instead summarise our experience as follows:
Rangers: Chris, Riaan and Ari were superb. Their knowledge and wisdom together with their warmth and care were second to none.
Cuisine: Magnificent! Incredible breakfast, sensible and balanced lunch and evening meals to dream of. All served by lovely staff.
Accommodation: Luxury at its peak.
Management: Yolanda, ever there to welcome you back from safaris and chat in the evenings, is probably one of the best hotel managers you are ever likely to meet.
The time at Marataba flew past and we are determined to go back one day. Is it a cheap experience? No. Is it unforgettable and worth every rand? Without a doubt!
Tina and Sandy Davies (UK)

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bogota, Colombia
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2011

Been to Marataba twice and I have only good words for the lodge. The service, the facilities, the food and the staff are truly amazing. The reserve is also very good: we saw lions, cheetah, elephants, rhinos (12 of them together) and a lot of game. More importantly, Marataba is the only lodge in the entire reserve so privacy and quietness is guaranteed. Thumbs up!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
johannesburg
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2011

My husband and I have been living in South Africa for a couple of years and during this time we have been travelling throughout the country and also Botswana, Zimbawe and Namibia. We have stayed in many lodges, from the most luxurious ones to tents in the middle of the dessert and this is the most amazing one we have been lucky enough to have been to.

We went to Maratab a couple of weekends ago as our second wedding anniversary celebration. The lodge is really beautiful, the luxury tents amazing, food delicious and very well presented, and the rangers are willing to explain you the smallest details. Service is also superb. Thank you to Yolanda, who made our stay unforgettable, and to our ranger Riaan, who was eager to explain us so many things about wild life.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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

Address: Rooiberg Road, Marakele National Park, Thabazimbi 380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Thabazimbi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 13 Specialty Lodging 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 Safari Lodge is a really special place, located within the Marakele National Park. Just 3 hours drive from Johannesburg, this malaria-free reserve is a 23000 hectare private concession at the foothills of the Waterberg Mountains.Contrasting mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterize this spectacular park. Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, 5m high cycads and tree ferns are some of the plant species you will find. All 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. 15 canvas-and-stone Tented Suites are exquisitely furnished and decorated with a contemporary twist.Each Suite has its own private deck overlooking the sweeping plains and meandering river below. A free-standing stone bath invites you to appreciate the opulence of the suite’s interior, while indoor and outdoor showers take full advantage of the dramatic scenery of the Waterberg Mountains.In-room amenities include:Hairdryer, personal in-room safe, bathrobes, slippers, Charlotte Rhys body products, international adaptors, umbrellas, complimentary sherry in the room, laundry & pressing services.Facilities include:Large lounge with a fireplace; public swimming pool with pool loungers; hammocks in the trees; complimentary Wi-Fi access in the main lodge area; curio & retail store; well stocked library; ladies bar; conference room and conference facilities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Marataba Safari Company Hotel Waterberg

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