The Marataba Safari Lodge experience

Marataba Safari Lodge

Marakele National Park, Madikwe and the northwest, South Africa

At a Glance

  • Non-malarial and only a 3-hour 30-minute drive from Johannesburg

  • The light bounces off the red iron filled rocks of the Waterberg Escarpment creating an incredible golden light

  • Some of the most amazing white rhino sightings anywhere in Africa

  • Stunning spots, on the slopes of the escarpment or by the banks of the river, for morning coffee or sundowners

  • Large tented suites nestled in the bushveld with game regularly wandering past the decks

  • Top quality guiding, very interactive, great for both children and adults

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

Summer (November to March) days can get quite warm (up to 28-32 degrees on average) but it is a dry heat. Summer rainfall, normally in the form of thunder storms are usually in the evening, however, the African climate is still always unpredictable. Autumn (April to May) days can still be warm but the evenings cool down. Average day time temperature 22-28 degrees. Evenings 10-15 degrees. Winter (June to August) days are warm (temperatures in the mid-twenties) evenings and early mornings very cold with average early morning temperatures 5-12 degrees. It very rarely rains at this time when the bush is golden and dry.

Spring (September, October) days start getting hotter, evenings and mornings could still be crisp but not as cold. A very slim chance of rain.

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Insider's View

There's 15 minutes of self-driving through the reserve to get to the lodge to kick-start your safari experience - keep your eyes peeled!

This reserve is ideal for those who have done safari a couple of times before and looking for something a little different as you can cruise along the Matlabas River on their Miss Mara boat to experience the bush from a different perspective.

Their tented accommodation really brings the safari experience to life as you sleep to the sounds of the surrounding wildlife during the night.

Have a Massage on your deck - listening to the birds

Sit out at the end of the lawn for breakfast, with a glass of bubbly, and look out for the herds of elephants which come to drink from the nearby waterhole

One evening forgo the evening safari drive and instead take a Miss Mara cruise down the river for a different way to experience the bush

Ask to have sundowners on the dam

Call us on 020 3993 5269 to start planning your holiday to Marataba Safari Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to South Africa


Marataba is located in a 23,000 ha private concession adjoined to the vast, malarial-free Marakele National Park in South Africa's Limpopo Province. The Camp is set in the bushveld, on a quiet river with dramatic views of the Waterberg escarpment.

Marataba is part of a real conservation success story. In the late 1990s Marakele National Park was severely underfunded, there was no money to maintain and reinvigorate the park or to invest in a strategy of biodiversity. Game species and population levels were declining.

Huge investment from 1997 onwards, in partnership with South African National Parks, managed to secure the neighbouring cattle farming areas, the area in which Marataba is now set. 7,000 km of barbed wire, 80 km of high-voltage power lines, 100 km of telephone cables was cleared, and the overgrown and poorly managed bushveld was cut back to allow grazing animals to be reintroduced. Fences between the different areas of this part of the Waterberg have been taken down, and the greater Marakele area now covers an unfenced and professionally managed area of 120,000 hectares.

Marataba enjoys exclusive use of one of the most game rich and beautiful areas of the Waterberg. There is a diverse combination of fantastic mountains and gorges, bush and plains, rivers and ponds to explore, with abundant plains game, healthy populations of big cats, elephant, and both white and black rhino. Game drives here are full of excitement and species lists are quickly filled.

The biodiversity of this area is extreme: rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, five metre high cycads and tree ferns, are some of the plant species found here. There is also an amazing variety of birds including the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, which nest on the walls of the escarpment.

The main lodge houses a large lounge with comfortable sofas and warm fireplaces, there's complimentary Wi-Fi access, a curio and retail store and a well-stocked library. Outside there is a good size swimming pool with pool loungers and hammocks in the trees.

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Each of the 16 luxury tented suites enjoys a private deck perched above the river below. From the deck you can enjoy panoramic views of the escarpment towering above the area, closer to the deck it is often possible to spot shy kudu and bushbuck moving silently through the shadows of the riverbank.

Each tent is fitted with king or twin beds, quality linen, indoor and outdoor showers and free-standing stone baths. All tents are equipped with air conditioning should it be required.


Marataba has one family tented area which is two tents close together. The tents are enclosed on one side by a wall which allows parents to go across and see their children in safety if needed.

Two children are able to sleep in a tent with their parents. The children sleep on luxury stretchers, this is limited to children under the age of 14.

Please note children under 6 are not permitted at the lodge without special arrangement. Also, children under 6 may not go on game drive.


Open plan lounge and dining area, Swimming Pool, Spa, Wi-fi


Activities at Marataba vary with the seasons. The area is most commonly explored with an expert guide in an open 4x4 safari vehicle where local places of beauty and interest will be pointed out to you, as well as you being able to spot some game. Walks and even swims in the mountain rock pools are available at certain times of the year.



Sarah Hewett (Guest)

Marataba (both the main lodge and the Trails lodge) was an absolute dream in every sense, and we loved every second of it. Each meal was sensational, and we loved the use of local meats. The chefs at the Trails lodge were particularly talented, and we were incredibly well fed. Our guides Chane and Andre (and Andreus, the student) were incredibly passionate, enthusiastic and friendly. We loved spending time with them, asking lots of questions, and we learned so much. They made everything really special for us and made our stay at Marataba a real highlight of our honeymoon.


Sian Frost (Staff)

This lodge doesn't disappoint in anyway. The lodge itself is beautiful, especially after dark with all of the communal areas lit up with lovely low hanging lights and floor to ceiling windows looking out to the spectacular view. You want for nothing in the secluded, spacious tents (ask for a tent with a view over the mountains). The guides and game viewing is also very impressive as they have so few vehicles allowed to drive in the park at one time you rarely see another, and the scenery is so impressive you almost forget to look the copious wildlife.


Louisa Ross-Taylor (Staff)

Marataba Safari Lodge has been high on my list of lodges I have wanted to visit for a couple of years and it did not disappoint. Just the drive through the Marataba Private Game Reserve was wonderful with the lodge positioned to make the most of the magnificent view of the vast sand stone Waterburg Mountain Range opposite.

The main area of the lodge has a spacious modern and very light and airy feel and the staff made us both feel instantly at home. I had promised my husband some 'camping' on this trip and even though it would have been a little tricky to take down these tents it was wonderful to spend a couple of nights under canvas, particularly in the middle of one night when we woke up to the crack of thunder and the light pitter pater of rain on the roof, so atmospheric. The rooms were so comfortable and spacious and it was nice that one of us could sit in the bath and chat to the other one lying on the bed. I can also highly recommend having a relaxing massage on the deck while listening to the noises of the bush.

We were spoilt and had the most incredible guide to look after us during our stay. We were very relaxed about what we saw and had a wonderful time watching wart hogs digging, elephants grazing, a lion cub harassing its mother and aunt and the ever tranquil giraffe moving from tree to tree, snacking on leaves. There was nothing our guide didn't know about and we also became enchanted with the beautiful birds in the reserve - from the little bee eater, the crimson shrike and the lilac breasted roller.


Amber Hopkins (Staff)

Situated just a 3hr drive north of Johannesburg, this Malaria-free reserve is ideal for families and couples alike. When you arrive at the reserve entrance your greeted with a map and directions to get you to the Lodge which is about a 15 minute drive through the reserve, which is a great way to kick-start your safari experience - we saw an abundance of Impala, warthogs, zebra, as well as elephant! Wifi is only available in the main lodge, but it's a really lovely area with an abundance of very appealing sofas, and overlooks a watering hole where numerous animals regularly frequent. There's also quite expansive lawns surrounding the main lodge and communal pool area which is fantastic for children. The tented accommodation is beautifully furnished, with both a bath and shower, and a small deck area where you can sit and watch animals at the watering hole should you wish. Dining is a la carte and presented beautifully, with a good choice of beverages to choose from, and returning from an afternoon game drive for the first time to an abundance of candles and lanterns lighting the outdoor evening dining was really special and memorable.


Mrs Karen Mahony (Guest)

Marataba Lodge was amazing, wonderful personal service, brilliant guide and even a hot water bottle in your bed!. I could not speak more highly of our stay there.


Sarah Clegg (Staff)

Marataba is set in an idyllic spot on the banks of a small stream running down from the red rocks of the Waterberg escarpment. The camp sits in the bushveld that characterises this area of South Africa. I arrived into O.R.Tambo International, picked up a hire car and drove to the camp, an easy drive of about three and a half hours along good roads with increasingly dramatic scenery. We were warmly welcomed by the manager and introduced to the camp, given a safety briefing and taken to our tented rooms. The rooms are very comfortable with large beds, indoor and outdoor showers and a big bath. Each has a deck with comfortable seating, a good spot to catch the odd kudu wandering through the wooded banks of the river below. The guiding here was very good, the guides were knowledgeable and really engaged the guests on tracking and facts of the bush, as well as finding some excellent game. The plains are littered with white rhino, we saw healthy prides of lion and plenty of plains game. The dams and rivers are full of hippo, and the birding was stunning. The main area of the lodge has spacious seating areas with open fire places for colder nights. There is a good size swimming pool for the warm afternoons. Lunches are taken out on the lawn under large camel thorn trees, and dinners are served indoors, interestingly the guides change their khaki for a black shirt to serve you dinner, a fun touch. Marataba is a good option for both families and couples, the malaria-free concession is privately held by Marataba which eliminates the chance of any queues around sightings.


  • Game Drives & Bush Walks

    The Madikwe Game Reserve is an incredible 'Big 5' wilderness area. Lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, white and black rhino, and the critically endangered Africa wild dog are just some of the amazing sightings you can enjoy in this 75 000 hectare reserve.

  • Private Safari at Marataba

    Include the cost of a private safari vehicle, guide and tracker team throughout your safari at Marataba.

  • South African Birding

    The Waterberg is home to an incredible diversity of bird species. Besides residents, migratory species move through during the rains and the escarpment cliffs are home to the world's largest breeding colony of the critically endangered Cape Vulture.

  • Thabametsi Treehouse Sleepout

    Spend a night out under the stars in the natural beauty of the Marakele National Park in the Thabametsi Treehouse. Offering complete exclusivity, privacy and stunning views, this Treehouse offers luxury and comfort for an unforgettable night.

  • Walking in Marakele National Park

    For those intrepid explorers who wish to wander the African bush on foot then Marakele Park is the place to do it. Home to the Big 5 as well as abundant birdlife and flora.

Location & directions

Marakele National Park, Madikwe and the northwest, South Africa

The Marakele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, it is a haven for an impressive variety of wildlife due to its location in the transitional zone between the dry western and moister eastern regions of South Africa. Marataba sits in a private concession of 23,000 hectares which links directly, unfenced, with the National Park and other game reserves in the area creating a large protected area in a magnificent landscape.

How to get there

Fly to Johannesburg, a 10-hour 30- minute flight from London. From here it is a 3-hour 30-minute drive to Marataba, alternatively charter flights in light aircraft can be arranged to Thabazimbi Airstrip, a short drive from the reserve.

Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

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Call us on 020 3993 5269 to start planning your holiday to Marataba Safari Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to South Africa

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The Marataba Safari Lodge experience

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