Marataba lies within a 23,000-hectare private concession within the Marakele National Park, Limpopo province, just 3.5 hours’ drive from Johannesburg. Situated on the north-western edge of the Waterberg Massif, the area offers dramatic vistas of rugged cliffs standing watch over the winding Matlabas River, with vast plains stretching all the way to Botswana’s Kalahari system. The beautiful landscape is home to a wide array of wildlife, including the ever-popular Big Five and a globally significant population of black and white rhino.
Morning and evening safari drives operate each day, and private vehicles mean schedules can be tailored to suit guests’ preference. There are also guided bush walks on offer, and for the more seasoned hiker there are trails which pass through gorges and mountain pathways. Additionally, boat safaris are available for sunset and morning cruises along the Matlabas River. The morning boat safaris are focused on bird life, while in the evening guests tend to see more land animals which have ventured to the river to drink.
With a keen focus on conservation, Marataba also offers guests the chance to get involved in some of their vital activities. Led by veterinarian Dr Andre Uys, a dedicated team of groundskeepers and conservationists protect the Park’s inhabitants from poaching and other risks. Throughout the year, rhino registration and identification procedures take place, whereby guests can help immobilise and notch a rhino, insert DNA microchips and submit tissue samples to the RHoDIS database. Such processes are integral to successful anti-poaching efforts, and offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience with such a majestic animal.
The six tented suites at Explorers camp have canvas walls and roofs, offering the feel of a camping experience without compromising on luxury. From the private decks outside each tent there is plenty of opportunity to relax and take in the stunning natural surroundings. The reception area offers a decking area with stunning views of the Waterberg mountains, and meals are eaten in front of a watering hole which attracts many thirsty animals. Founders camp is the more exclusive option, with four suites positioned on the bank of the Matlabas river providing excellent birding opportunities and perfect tranquility.
For those looking for a true escape from the modern world, wild walking and sleep-out experiences are also offered. Guests walk to a remote area of the park, whereby four spacious tents, a camp area and fire pit await. No electricity or phone signal is available here, to minimise the camp’s environmental footprint and allow guests to soak in the natural magic of their surroundings.
10 suites (six tented, four not), swimming pool, open plan lounge and dining area with fireplace. Each of the suites is equipped with air conditioning, en-suite bathroom, vanity area, safety deposit box, minibar, hairdryer and toiletries.
The Marakele National Park holds an impressive variety of mammals, all readily seen. The mountains are a haven for many interesting and unique plant, mammal and bird species. Notable mammalian species include aardwolf; bat-eared fox; leopard; ground pangolin and brown hyena. There is also prolific bird life, with over 400 species sighted including the Cape vulture, Gurneys sugarbird, half-collared kingfisher; white-backed night heron; Verraux’s eagle owl; mountain wagtail and ant-eating chat. The Miss Mara water safaris also reveal species such as hippo, elephant, white rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, warthog, baboon, jackal, zebra and bush pig. Bird life viewed from the river includes pied, malachite, pigmy and giant kingfishers, greenback heron, African fish eagles, masked weavers, Egyptian goose and African jacana.
A typical day at the lodge would comprise a morning game drive (approx. 0530-0930 in summer), followed by breakfast and the morning at leisure to relax or partake in other activities such as a bush walk, nature lecture or village visit. Afternoon tea is served around 1600, after which the evening drives begin, returning round 1930 for the evening meal. Guests can also partake in stargazing, walking sections of the Marataba Trail, the Miss Mara water safari experience and spa treatments.
Perhaps book a sleep out experience for a memorable night in the wilderness.
If you have any questions regarding our South Africa tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. Leopard View was fantastic. The guide did his upmost for us and the rest of the game viewing was great. We saw everything that we wanted to see.