Magical Marataba

by Mike Moth

A place of pure beauty and mystery set amongst the Waterberg mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world estimated to be about half the age of the earth at 1.8 – 2.2 billion years old. In the Marakele National Park, the Marataba section of the park is a private area of about 23 000 hectares (54 000 acres), home to much of the Limpopo Waterberg’s biodiversity, including the Big Five and abundant birdlife.

The iron in the rock of the mountains is a great conductor of electricity, so the thunderstorms here are incredible to witness


It doesn’t matter if this is your first safari experience or your hundredth safari experience, the beauty of this place is truly mind-blowing, from the plains that are filled with loads of zebra, wildebeest and some of the rarer things like bat-eared fox, pangolin and brown hyena to the thickets that contain quite a large number of black rhino. The real charm of this place is the backdrop while seeing these animals, a photographer’s dream.


The mountains make for a great backdrop to any photograph


Safari Lodge consists of 15 luxurious tents, family friendly with lots of kids’ activities to keep them busy should the adults decide to go for a bush walk or just want to relax and unwind around the pool with some cocktails.


Marataba Safari Lodge


Mountain Lodge consists of 5 eco-suites situated on the side of a mountain looking down the breathtaking Waterfall Valley and welcomes those in search of peace and space to breathe.


Views from Marataba Mountain Lodge


The activities here will keep you on your toes should you wish to do so. From a sunrise or a sunset cruise along the Matlabas river, you will get a chance to view hippos and the amazing birdlife this place has to offer. This is from the safety of a boat as you enjoy your morning coffee or a good old gin and tonic in the afternoon while taking in the magnificent views.



“Miss Mara” is a vessel used for a boat trip along the Matlabas River, providing a great opportunity to view the birdlife and the hippos while enjoying a G & T


There are the options of doing some walking trails, which can last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours as you are able to navigate through the rivers that have been cutting away at the gorges for centuries. One of the 4 gorges is called Bushman’s Gorge and there is evidence of Bushman paintings and artifacts along that trail that can be dated back to the 1600’s. The paintings are slightly faded due to the fact that hippos and rhino have rubbed their bodies along the surface of the rock where the paintings are found. A walk here is an experience that can really take you back in time. I would recommend that this be done in winter (May – August) though, as the bush can be quite thick in the summer months.


Guests taking in the beauty during a 3-hour walk through Yellowwood Gorge


A zebra crosses the river while we were on our break during a walk on which we encountered several rhino as well as a crazy hippo


Another unique opportunity that could take you slightly out of your comfort zone is to book the treehouse for the night. Set at the foothill of one of the mountain ranges, it’s an opportunity to sit back and get in touch with what Nature has to offer from the safety of a raised platform in the middle of the bush. Take in all the sights and sounds as the sun sets and watch the stars come out as the light starts to fade and the nocturnal animals start to get active. The solitude of it all is extremely captivating, a great place to “reset” your mind.




The Thabametsi Treehouse provides a truly unique experience that will bring you closer to Nature and all that it has to offer


Sunrise from the plains


Pictures and words can only describe so much, so the only real way to know what I am talking about is to come and experience for yourself what this place and Africa has to offer.


SafarisThe Waterberg Mountains


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