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“Just Fantastic!” 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
Hexham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
110 helpful votes 110 helpful votes
“Just Fantastic!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2009

We'd booked up may months ago and wondered if it really could live up to the excellent reputation in Trip Advisor: it can, and some!!

A superb location, very quiet and so few other people around it really does get you close to the bush and the animals without bumping into anybody else. A stunning view from your tent that is beautifully done; luxurious but not "prissy". Great food, excellent staff who really do care about each and every one of their guests. When we left we felt like we were waving goodbye to real friends.

I cannot reccommend this highly enough.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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137 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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Germany
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2009

I was on a business trip in Johannesburg and did not want to spend the weekend on my own in Johannesburg. Someone recommended the region and I just picked the lodge with the best ratings in trip advisor - which was Marataba. And it was really perfect!

I stay in hotels a lot for business, and do lots of weekend trips - but I did not have such a nice weekend in ages!

Cleanliness / Rooms:
Very tidy, clean, beautiful interior design. Luxurious without overdoing it, always staying in the african theme. The "tents" are really little huts with a tented roof. Very quiet, in the middle of the bush, with a great bath tub, with a view in the open... Every hut has it's own little patio, with comfortable seats and the antilopes were just grazing 20 m away... The lounge and dining room (as it was winter it gets cold at night and they had lots of small and large fires going).

Location
Perfect! Private resort, you do not meet other jeeps on the game runs. Large, the lodge is isolated, the tents distributed over quite a range, so you feel really quiet and close to nature. It took me 3-3.5 hrs from Johannesburg (Sandton) by car. Very good street, you can drive in a rental.
I saw lots and lots of wild animals, with an extremely knowledgable ranger guide; we had Lions and an Elephant stay right in the camp as well...
At lunch time we set on the lawn to lunch, looking at the mountains and at night the garden was alight with torches and small fires...
Small pool (with Warthogs grazing around you) - but it was too cold in July to go into it; but must be nice in the summer.

Value:
It was winter (off) season, so I got a very good rate; it was all inclusive; with 4 meals a day, all non-alcoholic beverages and two 3-4 hr game runs a day - I paid ca. 230 EUR for one day (with single occupancy) which is really great value for money. Especially with the real 5 star quality of room, service, game rides and food
There was free WLAN in the lounge (of course not too high speed - but that's ZA's infrastructure in the bush) and a free Internet PC as well.

Service / Food
Service was great. Very personal and friendly, with just 30 guests max at any time. Very knowledgeable staff that strives to fulfil all your wishes. They were really concerned that I got bored, travelling on my own, but I just loved the silence and quiet (and I met a few nice new people through the game rides and in the lounge).
The food was very good. A bit African, a bit European, some Asian - as always in South Africa, well mixed. Extremly high quality; breakfast, lunch, then "High Tea" (the cakes are a dream) and dinner. I recommend not to stay to long if you want to keep your figure..

Overall - excellent and well worth a visit! It is a great place for couples / honeymoon surely as well and if I get a chance I will definitely return.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hong Kong, China
Top Contributor
144 reviews 144 reviews
139 hotel reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
258 helpful votes 258 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2009

After a few hours road trip from Jo'burg, the doors of Marataba open themselves on an amazing landscape and your dreams turn to be true... A 30 min drive more across the bush on a bumpy way so natural and unique and you arrive at the camp...
However, don't think this camp is not comfortable or too simple cause it's all the opposite. Marataba is undoubtly one of the nicest place we've been lucky to discover. Everything in this beautiful lodge will drop you from a busy and tiring life to the most peaceful and exceptional area around the globe.

It starts with the view when you arrive at the camp... A breathtaking one on the Waterberg mountains you'll never forget. I could look at this fabulous landscape for hours without to get bored but it's time for lunch... Table are nicely dressed in the garden under the trees and you'll enjoy an unformal lunch, a kind of African tapas just "yummy".

Then, and this moment is memorable, you'll discover your tent cause yes, here at Marataba, this is not a classic accomodation but a luxurious tent perfectly designed with a wonderful blend of modern style and african style touches. This is a super "comfy" room with a huge bed and a fantastic bathroom. It's even hard to describe the feeling we can have when we get into the room. Everything is so original and unique i miss right words but to resume, it's FANTASTIC... And what to say about the balcony overlooking the bush and the mountains?? A perfect place to enjoy a bottle of delicious SA wine and sharing nuts with your neighbours, the silly monkeys...

But this marvellous design can't refrain you to go out and don't forget Marataba is a Private Game Reserve and around 4pm, after a cup of tea and a peace of cake in the main lounge, again marvellously decorated, the jeeps and rangers will wait for guests to start the safari. Everything is perfectly organized and you'll see maybe all the Big Five if you're lucky. On the day we went for the safari, we miss a few Big Five but we saw several hippos, rhinos, girafes, buffalos... And when the jeep stops and the ranger put a table in front of a small lake for a beautiful and incredible sunset drink in the bush, you have the impression to be in an other world: the Waterberg mountains take a pink colour, the sky starts to be full of stars and the noise of the hippos all around give a feeling you'll have nowhere else... The second part of the safari in the dark is impressive as well... The ranger is tracking animals under this sky full of stars and despite of the cold temperature, you don't feel frozen cause he provides you ponchos and blankets... The best experience in our life...

When you'll come back at the "luxury" camp, there is two open fires (boma) in the garden and seats all around where you can enjoy more wine before an elegant and tasty dinner. Service is cool (maybe just a little bit too much for what i expect from a five stars camp...) but actually, maybe this is more relaxing for the guest not to think too much about maners but at least, always be careful to serve ladies first... But this is a very little detail and after a fabulous glass of chardonnay we had an excellent evening with fine food and warm atmosphere...

At night, it will be time to put your mind into a total relaxation (no TV, no music or internet in the room (internet is just available in the main lounge)), you'll hear just animals walking around the tent and after a romantic bath with the lights of the candles and a glass of sherry, you'll sleep perfectly with beautiful dreams...

At 7am, a ranger will bring you a cup of tea or coffee with biscuits. Usually, if you want to run for the morning safari, you have 30 min to get ready but this time, we have chosen to play more with our favourite animals the monkeys before to go for a very good breakfast (choice is limited but you'll find on the small buffet only high quality dishes apart of the orange juice... Eurrrh... This is not a freshly squeezed one ...) and more sleep in the hamac around the pool... But if you're not too lazy, go for the morning safari cause you'll have more chance to see lions...

So, the only bad thing is leaving Marataba cause not a lot of places around the globe gives so much good energy... Moreover, it's very affordable, cleanliness is perfect and the staff very friendly. Consequently and i don't do it often, i want to give 5 points without any hesitation making of Marataba one of the five places i like the most in the world.
CONGRATULATIONS....

Stayed May 2009
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London
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2009

We stayed at Marataba for 3 nights in February. The experience was unforgetable, the scenary is stunning and the range of environments within the 23 hectares of the park is very diverse,everything from mountains to rivers to plains and jungle. The tents( if you can call them that!) are absolutely divine,the height of rustic sophistication in the middle of the African bush, and the lodge itself is equally stunning.
Linda and the staff at the lodge were charming and attentive.
The game drives were a truly magical experience, Marataba is the only commercial lodge in the marakele park and at the time of our stay there were about 10 other guests so we were on our drives with maybe 1 other couple and we never saw another vehicle. The rangers were amazing, the range of their knowledge was awesome and you truly felt that they wanted to give us a special experience and importantly, since you are in the wild not a zoo, you felt that you could trust them to protect you . We learned so much, witnessed the most amazing sights and paused to reflect upon a what, in life is really important. Seeing the Giraffe who had eluded us for the previous 3 days en route to the gate as we were leaving was the Icing on the cake! Thankyou all at Marataba for an unforgetable experience.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Monmouthshire
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2009

As part of our honeymoon we stayed at Marataba for four nights and it was just amazing. We were lucky enough to see the big five, which was so exciting. The staff at Marataba made us feel so welcome and special. The lodge, the tents, the food were all perfect.
If you want to stay in 5 star wilderness luxury this is the place for you. The place is just amazing!
They are also masters at 'personal touches'. Just wait and see.

Be careful about your drinks as you will be charged for them at the end of your stay. I have no idea how they keep track of it, but don't worry it's not too expensive. It may be just a daily charge.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2009

The lodge at Marataba is stunning and the food is amazing. The game is "ok". It is a little light compared to other game reserves, but what it lacks in game quantity, it makes up for in amazing views. The landscape at Marataba is amazing. The Waterberg mountain stretch along one entire boundary of the game reserve, making every photo an absolute gem. The unique ecosystem allows you to see rare game as well. We saw roans, hippos, and a klipspringer! Before leaving the lodge, make sure to take a drive to the top of the Waterberg mountains in Marakele National Park. It is literally right next door to Marataba. The views at the top of the mountains are amazing. You'll also see some game in the national park too!

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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uk
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2008

Amazing place and 1st class service and hospitality. The food is exquisite and the setting of the lodge is beautiful. I cannot think of a single criticism. The lodges themselves are private and extremely comfortable. The game is good but you do have to look hard for the animals as Marataba is 28,000 hectors in size and only about 60% is accessible by the track on which the rangers can drive. All the rangers are friendly and knowledgeable. We saw all the big five over a 5-day period except for leopards. If you want to unwind, drink good wine, eat 1st class food and have the adventure of tracking wild animals Marataba Safari Company is the place for you. My wife and I tend not to return to the same places for holidays however this place will be an exception.

  • Liked — food and hospitality
  • Disliked — nothing!!
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
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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