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“Perfect Paradise”

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Marataba Safari Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Thabazimbi
Certificate of Excellence
Germany
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Perfect Paradise”
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank TiggerAndPuh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (77)
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English first
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
197 reviews
186 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 356 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 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
Helpful?
Thank RCBLHKG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
32 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ronandclaire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monmouthshire
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank JoAndrew1212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Guinn's
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
1 review
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Gwynellis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2008

An incredible place. The staff are exceptional (and charming), really going out of their way to make the experience faultless for you. The food was brilliant, attention to detail amazing and the accomodation as spectacular as i've ever seen.
I wouldn't recommend a long stay there (for bog standard safari enthusiasts such as myself), as four days was about right for us (although we left very sad to be leaving). The game was not exceptional, but very good nonetheless (lion, rhino, hippo, giraffe etc).

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tom_and_Sarah
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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