Marataba Safari Lodge South Africa

Having to make a 30 minute detour thanks to lions blocking the road was one of many memorable experiences at Marataba Safari Lodge

Lions-Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Marakele-National-Park-Limpopo-South Africa

Lions blocked the road for quite a while.

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What: Tent 7 Marataba Safari Lodge North West Province, South Africa. Marataba is one of the properties in the More Portfolio of hotels and game reserves in South Africa
Who: JB
Why: On a familiarisation trip with South African Tourism
When: May 13 to 15 2014

How Did It Rate?

Breakfast-Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Marakele-National-Park-Limpopo-South Africa

The breakfast that was waiting for me

My welcome. While according to the lodge, the drive from Johannesburg to Marataba takes around four hours, road works and a few wrong turns meant a drive of around five and a half hours. Any frustrations at such a long drive and accompanying hunger pains were quickly forgotten on seeing a table set for breakfast overlooking a small waterhole and the Waterberg Mountains (which in part look very much like the mountain ranges of Western Australia’s Kimberley region)!

A welcoming letter which explained the program including times of game drives in the morning and evening, the name of my ranger – Adriaan, and the restaurant team who would be looking after me.

Giraffe-Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Marakele-National-Park-Limpopo-South Africa

Watching this giraffe and her baby was a highlight of my first day’s game drive.

The time Adriaan and I spent exploring the 230,000 hectare reserve in an open vehicle. Marataba is located on a 23,000 hectare private concession in the Marakele National Park at the foothills of the Waterberg Mountains. The reserve is home to the big five – i.e. lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros. We didn’t see the big five, on my first day but having been to South Africa on many other occasions it wasn’t a problem. Indeed seeing and learning more about some of the other creatures was just as enjoyable. At the same time on my last day at the reserve we did come across three lionesses on the roadway. After one walked right past our vehicle and had a short and angry exchange with another one the three settled down. As a result a long detour was necessary to get around them.

Lions-Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Marakele-National-Park-Limpopo-South Africa

A couple of the lions who blocked our way.

A sunset cruise on Miss Mara, a small pontoon vessel, which the lodge operates on the Matlabas River. Watching the sun set on the water with the red mountains as a backdrop, while enjoying snacks and a white wine, was one of those unforgettable experiences. The following night we had evening drinks next to the river which was also a great experience.

Cruising- Matlabas-River-Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Marakele-National-Park-Limpopo-South Africa

Heading off for a sundowner on the Matlabas River.

A sunset cruise on Miss Mara, a small pontoon vessel, which the lodge operates on the Matlabas River. Watching the sun set on the water with the red mountains as a backdrop, while enjoying snacks and a white wine, was one of those unforgettable experiences. The following night we had evening drinks next to the river which was also a great experience.

Sundowner- Matlabas-River-Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Marakele-National-Park-Limpopo-South Africa

Enjoying a sundowner by the banks of the Matlabas River.

My accommodation in one of the 15 canvas-and-stone tent suites. Each of the suites features a king size bed, free-standing stone bath, indoor and outdoor shower, bathrobe, slippers, Charlotte Rhys body products, tea and coffee making facilities and complementary sherry. My tent overlooked the Waterberg Mountains and a balcony provided the ideal place to enjoy the view.

My bedroom-Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Marakele-National-Park-Limpopo-South Africa

My bedroom. Marataba Safari Lodge. Image courtesy of Marataba Safari Lodge

A massage on my balcony. Marataba offers a number of treatments including an aromatherapy full body massage. It was very reasonably priced at around South African $600 Rand.


The meals. Breakfast was served after the game drive and included hot and cold options, at lunch there was a choice of two starters, two mains and two desserts and for dinner two entrees, three main meals and two desserts. Options included char grilled gemsbok fillet, pan seared duck breasts, venison curry bunny chow, vegetable strudel and stuffed chicken breast.


The friendly, helpful staff.


Free-wi-fi in public areas.

The seats on my balcony could have been more comfortable.

Marataba has  advised “chairs on the balcony  have been replace with chairs that you will want to spend the entire day on!'”

Balcony-Marataba-Safari-Lodge-Marakele-National-Park-Limpopo-South Africa

My balcony,Marataba Safari Lodge. Image courtesy of Marataba Safari Lodge

While there were no children at Marataba during my stay, the resort is a family friendly lodge and there is no restriction in terms of age. While only children over six are allowed on game drives it’s very much a personal choice as to whether you want to spend time in such a lovely location with either your own on other people’s children! Special family safari drives are available for all children between 2 and 6 years. These drives are offered just after breakfast and they don’t approach any dangerous animals.

Marataba has advised from 2016 it will no longer be accommodating children under the age of six.

 Marataba Safari Lodge sister property Madikwe Safari Lodge also provided a great stay.

Visit travelswithjb/South Africa for more reviews and stories about South Africa and travelswithjb/ accommodation for more accommodation reviews.

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