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“Wonderful experience!”

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Marataba Safari Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Thabazimbi
Reviewed September 27, 2012

The accommodations at Marataba were like nothing I've ever experienced! I can't express how exquisite and thoughtful the décor was and then put it in the setting of one of many National Parks in Africa and you get a dream vacation. We saw the big five in just two days and this wasn't luck. Marataba's expert guides and trackers work their darnedest to find any animals you may have missed in earlier days. On our last morning our guide Arie was determined to get us a leopard sighting and we got it tenfold. We came across the most dramatic scene of a leopard eating a kudu in a tree with hyenas anxiously waiting below...it may have been one of the most exciting things I've ever witnessed in nature. If you get to take one safari in South Africa in your life, this is it.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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Thank StephanievR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 24, 2012

Spent the long weekend 22-24 September at this magnificent lodge.

Is there anything bad?
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, except maybe that we only spent 2x days there and could have stayed a week. :) It starts with arrival at the boundry gate and being met by the friendliest smile from security. The lodge itself is the most beutiful piece of architecture i have ever seen. It is bright, modern and just so welcoming. All public areas are immaculately maintained.

The rooms are exceptionally spacious, immaculately clean and so well layed out that it is a pleasure to spend time in the room. The rooms have a very private outdoor shower that in the 30 degree plus heat is a real treat. There are perfectly located plug points, for charging cell phones and ladies hairdryers. Then it is the attention to detail that really makes the difference. There is a vat of Sherry in the rooms and the quality of the extras. The soap, shampoo and air freshner are all Charlotte Rhys. The towels we had looked and felt as if they were brand new.

Service, is equally top notch. If you ordered a drink, you couldnt count to 10, before it arrived. The staff are always friendly but never in your face. What is ultra impressive is that management are always around, interacting with the guests and also actively involved in serving and assisting.

Food is plentiful(as you would expect at a 5 star lodge) Breakfasts have a very healthy feel about them and dinners were an absolute taste delight. Lunches were more on the light side(no shortage of food) i.e vegetarian on 2nd day and light meat(Ostrich kebabs) on 1st.

With regards to game drives, i probably enjoyed the drives more than any others i have taken over the last 15 years. Howard our ranger was truly exceptional in every way. He was ultra knowledgeble, so friendly and just always gave the impression of being in total control and at one with his guests. To add to our enjoyment we had lovely fellow guests. A couple who got engaged at the lodge and another couple celebrating their 10 yr anniversary. Stopping halfway during the drives for drinks and snacks and chatting with Howard and our new "friends' was lovely.

I think a point worth mentioning is that one has to go to a a Lodge like Marataba, which is not situated in the Kruger area, with reasonable expectations of what you are going to see. Me and my wife thought the game viewing was excellent. We saw, Lion, Rhino and Elephant close up. G

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Michael P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2012

We stayed for 3 nights in Marataba. We didn`t know what to expect, as it was our first safari. When we got there we entered the gate with our small rental car. I have to say, I was really scared to get stuck in the sand, but it was okay. When we got to the lodge, they took our luggage and car. We got a cold drink and then we had lunch. After that they showed us our room. Wow, the tent was luxurious. The view was to a waterhole where we saw every day new animals. The room was super clean and a bottle of sherry was waiting for us. Then we went on our first game drive - that was exciting. We saw lots of things, were going after tracks and had a nice sundownwer. When we got back, we had a nice glass of wine and dinner. I have to say, the service was amazing, the food, there are no words to describe that. We had the chance to talk to the manager as well, and that was a very nice experience too. The game drives were all good. Well, there were not so many animals and the good ones are hard to track, but the cool thing is, that you have to find them. On the last day, they gave us back our car, it was washed and ready to go. Thank you for an amazing experience - we will come back.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Martin2010187337
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2012

I was treated to go to Marataba for a night for my birthday. The lodge is situated in a concession of the Marakele Game Reserve and is situated with a beautiful view towards the Waterberg Mountain Range.

The lodge is designed in a modern architectural style with rock, timber and glass and is really beautiful in every sense. On arrival at the lodge, a lone elephant came to the watering hole and drank, and this was the perfect welcome for us. The lawned area in front of the lodge is the perfect place to sit during the day and soak up the surrounding area, bush and views towards the mountain. In actual fact, this is all we did the whole time at the lodge. We decided not to go out on game drives in the reserve as we actually just wanted to relax and enjoy the lodge and surroundings.

The tented suites are also wonderful and beautifully located. Our suite (which was the last one on the right past the swimming pool – no 12) had 270º views of the mountains and bush. The manager took us to our suite and upon arrival at the suite; we saw a brown hyena carrying an old kudu carcass away from the tent. This happened about 5m from our porch. This really was a special sighting as the brown hyenas are not a regular sighting. The tented suite has everything you can dream of and the bathroom is beautiful with free standing egg bath and adjacent shower, with private outdoor shower all overlooking the Waterberg Mountains. Complimentary wine, sherry, snacks upon arrival just made everything special.

The food during our stay at Marataba was really excellent, as normally lodge food can be a bit bland and tasteless and unimaginative, but it was truly delicious, fresh, well prepared food that looked and tasted excellent. Compliments to the chef of the lodge!

We did find the wine list a bit small, but it is also understandable with a lodge being that far from the nearest shops, but maybe a bit more choice can be added.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the lodge and will definitely be back for longer stay in the greener season and then do game drives as well. That said, just by driving to the lodge, staying at the lodge and driving back, we saw plenty of wildlife to satisfy our needs. Giraffes, wildebeest, elephant, hyena, plenty of buck and obviously the ever present warthogs.

This is a magical place and is worth the visit!

Room Tip: Ask for Tent no 10 - has a beautiful position and view!
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank mitxcoac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank Mb1902
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank GIGinaJohannesburg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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2  Thank LC-MUC
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 2 Hotels in Thabazimbi
Price Range: $1,203 - $1,651 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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

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