We’ve just come back from a 2 night weekend trip to Marataba Safari Lodge. We drove to Marataba, which is 3.5 hrs from Joburg in the Marekele Reserve in Limpopo.
It was just one incredible experience, and we all loved it! Everything was amazing. From the yummy food that was always available, to the interesting game drives, informative ranger and attentive staff, this place is bucket list material.
Marataba has got two lodges, we stayed at the Safari Lodge, and the other one is a Trails Lodge. Marataba Safari Lodge is a family friendly lodge overlooking the gorgeous mountains. The rooms are tented suites, and were absolutely amazing to stay in.
We left Joburg just before lunchtime, and got to Marataba just in time for afternoon tea. The tea was set up under the most amazing tree overlooking the valley. Isn’t it just beautiful?
We barely had time to check out the tented suite before we headed off for our first game drive. If you’re wondering, the boys shared the suite with us. They had fancy camping beds set up between the bed and the doorway.
Even the bathroom was amazing! I love the touches left for the guests in the suites. There are little leaves placed all over the place as decorations on the towels and soaps.
The view was quite amazing from our tent too. We could see the waterhole, so that meant being able to view game without even going anywhere!
We quickly headed back to the main lodge to get some tea and yummy eats and waited for the family that was joining us for the game drives.
It’s such a pity I can’t take 360 deg photos with my DSLR! This was the view that Lance and the boys were looking at.
We saw the most amazing things on our game drive. This is a water monitor that we spotted as we drove past. It was huge!
Adriaan, our ranger, was incredible. He stopped so many times to show us different trees, explain why the rocks look different at Marataba, and even to break open elephant dung… and then get everyone to smell it. The kids were absolutely enthralled by everything he said. They’ve been talking non-stop about the things they learnt this weekend.
An excellent ranger is essential on trips like this to make every game drive a special experience.
We drove over this dam wall at some stage, and just on the other side spotted a troop of baboons.
And then we saw this mommy elephant and her calf. The calf was not interested in us at all, and just wanted a drink after his little dip in the lake. She was very stressed with us though… or so we thought, until we realised how close the lion was to her and her baby.
The lion however wasn’t interested in her at all! He was quite calm and rolled around on the grass just in front of the game vehicles.
And then the elephant trumpeted a little too loudly… and he decided it was time to move. This happened at 6:20pm btw, and I took the shot at ISO 2500.
Look at all the scars on his face! He wasn’t a very big lion, and according to Adriaan, he’s around 7 years old. He soon got up and trundled into the bush behind our vehicle and started eating the carcass he’d left for safe keeping.
By the time we got to the drink stop it was dark, which is such a pity, because it was a magnificent spread.
And then to top off the amazing day, we got back to the lodge to find a bush braai set up and ready for us!
Safaris in summer mean very early wake up calls, but no-one minded at all. It get so hot so quickly, that it’s a pleasure to drive in the coolness of dawn for a little, and see the beautiful colours in the mountains appear as the sun rises.
The landscapes at Marataba Safari Lodge are just incredible. I don’t think I’ve taken as many landscape photos in recent trip, as I did on this weekend.
Then again, another spoil… after the game drive we stopped in the middle of nowhere for a bush breakfast. It was a full breakfast with fruits, cereals and eggs etc cooked under a tree.
The rest of the day was spent lounging around the pool reading books. Connor made friends with Archie, who was on the game drives with us… while Bradley chilled out of the sun.
How cute is this baby giraffe? I don’t think I’ve seen a giraffe this tiny before.
The boat trip on Miss Mara was a highlight of our weekend away. It’s a pontoon on a lake in the reserve. It’s just perfect for a booze cruise to watch the sunset while hippos and elephants watch you pass by.
After the water safari, we carried on with our game drive. We were lucky enough to see bush babies, a porcupine and a lioness who walked right past the game vehicle. The kids are still talking about the magnificent leopard we saw too… only I didn’t get a photo of it. She was lying under a tree, and as we were getting closer to her to see her properly, a hyena came from behind her and chased her away! It was actually a video moment rather than a photo moment, except it was pitch black apart from the red filtered lights shone by the game vehicles. I’m thrilled the boys got to see a leopard, even though it was so fleeting.
On Sunday morning’s game drive, we saw at least 9 rhinos. This one had a teeny tiny baby that she kept quite far from us.
Adriaan drove us up this incredibly steep track to get to this magical spot for our coffee stop.
If you follow the green strip in the middle of the valley to the right of the photo, you’ll see small white specks… that’s Marataba Safari Lodge.
It was definitely the most perfect end to a magical weekend.
Just a quick note on the brown landscape, because a few people have commented on my Instagram photos and snaps on Snapchat about the dryness. It had rained for a few days before we got there, and it rained every night we were there, so I’m sure that within 2 weeks the landscape will look very different.
If you get a chance to book at Marataba, do it! It’s absolutely amazing!
Disclaimer: I was asked to travel to Marataba Safari Lodge and take photos for their marketing, but the blog post is my own idea.