Combining a five star lodge with a fine dining experience is definitely a winning combination. This is what you will find when visiting Marataba Safari Company & Lodge.
Marataba is an exclusive 23 000 hectare private concession in the heart of Limpopo’s Marakele National Park, at the foot of the Waterberg Mountains, with abundant wild and birdlife, incorporating the Big Five. It is multi-functional in the sense that it is perfect for a romantic break-away. On the other hand it is also suitable for a corporate break-away or conference or as is the case with us, a 12-hour site inspection with colleagues to briefly experience all that Marataba has to offer.
The main building is open and spacious with a modern, contemporary look & feel. The architect made use of double volume and lots of glass to ensure uninterrupted views of the Kransberg mountain, part of the Waterberg Mountain range, from every angle.
Marataba consist of 15 tented suites. Yes, tented suites that are luxurious and beautifully appointed with all the amenities one could possible need. The combination of tented suite with fixed structure for the bathroom linked to a private deck and outside shower works well. There is ample space and enough privacy in the unit, should one need to share. Each unit is also sheltered with natural vegetation to allow privacy from other units and you can therefore fully enjoy your outside shower.
Seeing that our visit is such a short one, we quickly freshen up in our tents and then proceed to a high tea set in the garden in front of the main verandah before our game drive.
We enjoy a leisurely game drive and although not many sightings, one definitely has ample opportunity to enjoy beautiful views, sounds and smells! Marataba is home to the ‘big five’ as well as some rare antelope such as roan, sable and mountain reedbuck. Unfortunately we did not see any of these as it is quite difficult to spot animals in the thick vegetation after excellent rainfall during the preceding months. We did spot & heard many bird species, especially in the vicinity of the watering holes.
We were accompanied by an English couple, now living in USA and we were enjoying the account of their first visit to South Africa and all their experiences. Trevor, an avid photographer, captured many moments – this photo of the mountain reflecting in the water, depicting the natural beauty of the area.
On return to the lodge it is transformed with torches, lanterns and bonfire as the sun sets. Dinner is set outside on the verandah under a cloudless, star filled sky.
The menu is described as ‘a contemporary elegant choice menu for your enjoyment – utilizing mainly locally sourced produce, infusing them with Eurasian-African trends.’
The ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from our table on tasting the food certainly confirmed that this menu appealed.
Some of us enjoyed the starter of Parma ham, brie, green fig phyllo tian with fresh rocket, paprika oil and balsamic reduction. This was followed by a main of black tiger prawn & calamari ragout with crispy new potato, sauté green vegetables with a basil, chili & chive butter sauce. Dessert consisted of a cinnamon & white chocolate crème brûlée and selection of cheese.
For those who like to combine the travel and food experience, guests are welcome to visit the kitchen to augment the fine dining experience. For me, with a keen interest in all things culinary, I enjoy discussing the menu with the chef and learning something new that I can try in my own kitchen.
After dinner we are accompanied by Marataba staff to our tents as wild animals roam free. The turn down has been done, with water on the bedside table and chocolates on our pillows – a very inviting picture after a long day. While preparing for bed, one is once again aware of all the little things and the efforts made to ensure that guests have a most enjoyable and relaxing experience.
- Marataba is situated 44km north of Thabazimbi, approximately 3 hours drive from Johannesburg / Pretoria. (310km from OR Tambo International Airport)
- Air strip and helipad available (S24° 14’ 0.447″ E 27° 29’ 0.463”)
- The lodge consists of 15 tented suites. All can be converted into twin, double or single accommodation.
- Malaria free, insect repellant recommended
- Adding to the Big Five it is also home to the world’s largest breeding colony of the endangered Cape Vulture and other birdlife of more than 400 species
- Day excursions to Marakele’s Endangered Species Project can also be arranged.
- Children older than 6 years are welcome
- Can visit throughout the year.
- Please visit www.hunterhotels.com for further information
Marataba, established in December 2005, forms part of the Hunter group, with their other properties situated on the Garden Route and Eastern Cape and has been a member of the international Relais & Chateaux collection since January 2007.