Marataba Trails Lodge has a maximum of eight guests at any one time.

Marataba Mountain Lodge | Marakele National Park Luxury South African Safari Lodge

Be one of just eight people to enjoy the unadulterated wilderness of the off-the-grid Marataba Mountain Lodge. Tucked into a valley in a private concession within Marakele National Park, this luxury South African safari lodge offers Big Five walking trails, rock-pool swimming, picnics and uninterrupted birdwatching and stargazing.

The place

Arriving at Marataba Mountain Lodge, we’re welcomed by staff with refreshing drinks and introduced to our guide, Hennie. We’re a little early for check-in, so instead of going to our room, we orientate ourselves with a game drive. Hennie takes us along a scenic route through the 23,000ha Marataba concession, stopping for numerous bird sightings and some grazing antelope.As we make our way back to the luxury South African safari lodge, Hennie tells us that it’s made of locally-sourced stone, timber and glass. He shows us how it’s slung across the foot of the Kransberg range, its five suites elevated along the steep mountainside contours with exceptional views over Waterfall Valley. Marataba’s renowned trails extend over the peaks and valleys of Marakele National Park in the Waterberg Biosphere, mere hours from the urban jungle of Johannesburg, yet a world apart.

Arriving at Marataba Mountain Lodge, we’re welcomed by staff with refreshing drinks and introduced to our guide, Hennie. We’re a little early for check-in, so instead of going to our room, we orientate ourselves with a game drive. Hennie takes us along a scenic route through the 23,000ha Marataba concession, stopping for numerous bird sightings and some grazing antelope.

As we make our way back to the luxury South African safari lodge, Hennie tells us that it’s made of locally-sourced stone, timber and glass. He shows us how it’s slung across the foot of the Kransberg range, its five suites elevated along the steep mountainside contours with exceptional views over Waterfall Valley.

Marataba’s renowned trails extend over the peaks and valleys of Marakele National Park in the Waterberg Biosphere, mere hours from the urban jungle of Johannesburg, yet a world apart.

The room

It’s impossible to be in our suite and not look out into the breathtaking valley below. From the prominent king-sized bed to the private viewing deck and the rain shower, every element is designed so that we won’t miss a moment of this jaw-dropping vista. I find myself hoping for a cold night, imagining the bright crackling flames of the indoor log fire warming up our room and keeping the wild at bay. This comfortable base camp is the perfect launchpad from which to explore the varied and rugged trails surrounding the lodge. As seasoned hikers, we’re keen to test our confidence hiking among the leopard, lion and other predators of this Big Five reserve. We meet Hennie at the central area, who soon sets our mind at ease – he’s completely at home in the bush and will accompany us at all times. After our safety instructions we make our way down the valley, weaving our way through the long grasses and bushes on one of five trails that follow the animal-worn paths through the reserve. We follow a sandy riverbed marked with lion prints (causing us to dwell obsessively on close predator encounters), the gorge becoming increasingly majestic with every turn. We learn that it’s part of the Waterberg mountain range, an ancient sandstone massif that’s the oldest of its kind in the world. It’s beautiful, but we think its most wonderful feature is the deep rock pools we find on the way. We plunge into their cooling waters and lie on the rocks to warm up in the gentle rays of the sun. As we enjoy our picnic lunch, we watch the skies for the many types of birds (over 280) that thrive in the dense riverine forest surrounding us.

It’s impossible to be in our suite and not look out into the breathtaking valley below. From the prominent king-sized bed to the private viewing deck and the rain shower, every element is designed so that we won’t miss a moment of this jaw-dropping vista. I find myself hoping for a cold night, imagining the bright crackling flames of the indoor log fire warming up our room and keeping the wild at bay.

This comfortable base camp is the perfect launchpad from which to explore the varied and rugged trails surrounding the lodge. As seasoned hikers, we’re keen to test our confidence hiking among the leopard, lion and other predators of this Big Five reserve.

We meet Hennie at the central area, who soon sets our mind at ease – he’s completely at home in the bush and will accompany us at all times. After our safety instructions we make our way down the valley, weaving our way through the long grasses and bushes on one of five trails that follow the animal-worn paths through the reserve.

We follow a sandy riverbed marked with lion prints (causing us to dwell obsessively on close predator encounters), the gorge becoming increasingly majestic with every turn. We learn that it’s part of the Waterberg mountain range, an ancient sandstone massif that’s the oldest of its kind in the world.

It’s beautiful, but we think its most wonderful feature is the deep rock pools we find on the way. We plunge into their cooling waters and lie on the rocks to warm up in the gentle rays of the sun. As we enjoy our picnic lunch, we watch the skies for the many types of birds (over 280) that thrive in the dense riverine forest surrounding us.

What sets it apart

Marataba Mountain Lodge offers more than just a holiday; rather, it’s a way of life – one that’s simpler and more intuitively connected with nature. We feel completely free and unburdened here, with nothing to do other than walk into the wild, gaze at the stars and share fresh, organic meals – many of them around the campfire. So far we’ve discovered bush-cooking techniques, been told about local customs and legends, swum in rock pools and indulged in delicious picnics. And not once have I turned on my laptop! I can feel the stress washing off me here … I may never want to leave.

Marataba Mountain Lodge offers more than just a holiday; rather, it’s a way of life – one that’s simpler and more intuitively connected with nature. We feel completely free and unburdened here, with nothing to do other than walk into the wild, gaze at the stars and share fresh, organic meals – many of them around the campfire.

So far we’ve discovered bush-cooking techniques, been told about local customs and legends, swum in rock pools and indulged in delicious picnics. And not once have I turned on my laptop! I can feel the stress washing off me here … I may never want to leave.

At a glance

  • Luxury off-the-grid safari lodge with five eco-suites strung along the Waterberg mountain range.
  • Private concession, maximum eight guests, malaria-free area and private vehicles available (additional cost).
  • Walking safaris, game drives, rock-pool swimming, picnics, bird watching and astronomy.
  • Children welcome from 16 years.

  • Luxury off-the-grid safari lodge with five eco-suites strung along the Waterberg mountain range.
  • Private concession, maximum eight guests, malaria-free area and private vehicles available (additional cost).
  • Walking safaris, game drives, rock-pool swimming, picnics, bird watching and astronomy.
  • Children welcome from 16 years.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

Cooler, drier months herald the onset of winter. As it progresses, the vegetation starts to recede, making spotting wildlife that much easier. Later in winter, water for wildlife is at a premium and game drives to waterholes become even more rewarding. Temperatures can catch visitors unawares – especially on early morning game drives. It’s certainly worth heeding the advice to wear layers and you may even be glad of a hat, scarf and gloves. During the day, expect temperatures of around 25°C – which is pretty much ideal!

This is a time of rain, which brings lots of greenery, as well as migratory birds and new antelope fawns. This is not the grey drizzle you may have left behind, though. Rather, we’re talking dramatic afternoon thunderstorms that end as soon as they begin. Summer here means hot days, with temperatures cooler at night and in the mornings, while as we move into autumn, both the heat and the storms begin to dissipate.

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