Marakele means “place of sanctuary” in the local Setswana language, and that is exactly what you feel like you are entering when you arrive at Marataba Private Reserve, which forms part of the greater Marakele National Park.
Marataba itself is 21 000ha of mixed thornveld and open woodland, flanked to the east and south by the utterly spectacular Waterberg mountains, which gather every last drop of golden light as the sun starts to sink and reflect it back over an environment brimming with wildlife.
Lion roars reverberate up the valleys from the plains below, whilst from the rocky crags the guttural rasp of a leopard is regularly heard through the hours of darkness. It is in this magnificent setting that we find two stunning lodges, Marataba Safari Lodge and Marataba Mountain Lodge, both part of the NJ More collection.
Safari lodge is the larger of the two with 15 luxury tented suites (11 two-sleeper and 4 family suites), whilst Mountain lodge, tucked away in a rocky valley close to the escarpment, is something entirely different, featuring only 5 eco-suites. Mountain lodge is completely solar, so as well as feeling a wonderful sense of isolation in such an intimate setting, guests can be happy in the knowledge that their stay is having the least possible impact on the environment.
The offerings are both spectacular however, and it is simply a case of what type of escape you are after. For honeymooners and those who want ultimate tranquility and time to themselves, wishing to feel a complete sense of isolation, Mountain lodge should be your pick.
For families or those who want to enjoy a a slightly more social vibe in the evenings, seated around a roaring fire, Safari lodge, down on the plains and within a stone’s throw of the serene Matlabas River, would be our recommendation.
At no time at either camp will you feel anything but fully immersed in the wilderness. The subtle colour tones and layout of every aspect of both lodges has been carefully thought out, designed to feel like a simple extension of the African bush whilst retaining every element of luxury.
Marataba is only a few hours drive from Johannesburg, or easily accessible via a 45 minute charter flight. The area is malaria-free, so if you are travelling with small kids or have even the slightest concerns about malaria (which is extremely rare in South Africa), look no further than Marataba as your destination of choice.
Iconic Africa is still running holiday season specials, so enquire now if you want to take advantage of these limited-time offers. Lodges are getting exponentially busier as tourism returns and postponed visits start coming into effect, so be sure not to miss out…