View the stunning footage: https://youtu.be/6fTB7Dv2yFc
Marataba Trails Lodge was designed and created for seasoned hikers who are looking for diverse and challenging trails in a spectacularly beautiful big 5 private reserve where a rich abundance of wildlife roams free.
Marataba Trails Lodge is perched on the side of the mountain, with 180degree views into Waterfall Valley. It is utterly remote, in a wilderness world of its own for never more than 8 guests at a time. The original brief to the architect and interior designer was simple. Every stone, ledge, window, piece of furniture and soft finish had to take its cue from the natural environment. The essence here is on the outside, and the lodge had to complement and enhance that – not compete with it. But at the same time every comfort had to be met, and no compromise was to be made on the quality of every single element a guest would encounter through their senses. Only the finest of materials (from timber to cotton sheeting) were to be used, and carefully put together in imaginatively simple ways. And finally, to respect the earth.
The result was an off-the-grid ‘Scandi-Safari’ style luxury lodge perched lightly on the earth and fully powered by the sun’s energy. Those seeking a digital detox will find it here.
MARATABA TRAILS LODGE, QUICK FACTS
- 5 Luxury Suites for 8 guests
- Children of 16 and older welcome. (Strictly no under 16 policy)
- Open plan lounge and dining area
- Full range of dietary preferences catered for
- No electricity, but limited solar power available
The lodge is cleverly situated on the hillside at the bottom of Waterfall Valley. It is surrounded by mountain streams, the source of the Matlabas River (which flows into the mighty Limpopo River, and eventually into the Indian Ocean).
The area surrounding the lodge has sweet savannah grasslands in the valley below, and broadleaved sour veld habitat on the hills above, while some of the gorges are filled with riverine forest habitats.
All units have spectacular views down into Waterfall Valley, which is particularly magical at sunset!
- There will be an early start to the day prior to meeting in the main lodge for a coffee and pre-trail snack. This early trail will be the longer (3-4 hours) of the two trails of the day. Trail options will be discussed and agreed to the night before. A mid-walk refreshment break will be offered at one of the stunning view or points of interest.
- On return to the lodge a sumptuous, healthy breakfast will be served before walkers get the chance to relax, read, snooze, sketch, paint and just be at one in the camp. They can even avail themselves of a complimentary foot & hand massage!
- A light lunch will be served at the lodge before a recommended afternoon nap!
- The shorter afternoon walking trail starts after a snack – these walks include water holes with hippos, vantage points and short gorge walks.
- On return to camp, a special sundowner is offered prior to heading to an interactive experience in the BOMA where guests will learn about the intricacies of cooking “bush style”
- After dinner there are stories around the fire – including local legends, traditional tribes of the region and astronomy.
In winter one of the two full days will be swopped around with a lie in, later breakfast, followed by one long walk and a picnic, returning to camp mid afternoon for some R&R.
- Guests will have the option of heading out on a short two hour trail or having a relaxing lie in. The trail taken will be of a gentle nature so as to let the guests “take it easy” before their onward travels
- A final “Trails Breakfast” will then be served at the lodge.
- A chance to freshen up, pack up and take in the incredible views for one last time
- Guests will then be transferred by their guides back to Marataba Safari Lodge for onward travel, arriving back at the lodge at 11:30
WHAT TO BRING
- A pair of hiking boots
- A pair of gaiters
- A light weight rain jacket
- A hat
- A back pack/ camel bak (for personal items and water)
- A camera
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
- This is a year-round trails destination where experience is varied based on temperature rather than wildlife sightings.
- The best bird-watching is from October to April.
- Winter trails leave from the camp later in the morning and earlier in the afternoon to make the most of the winter sun.
- Summer trails take place early morning and late afternoon so as to escape the heat of a typical African day in the bush.
Our Guides are senior trails guides with years of experience in leading guided walks in Big 5 territories. Not only are they fully qualified to lead these walks, but they have been carefully chosen on their personalities and how they are able to interact with guests. There are two senior trails guides at all times. It is imperative that there are two guides on every walk, no matter the number of walking guests. The maximum amount of guests we can walk with at one time is eight.
ABOUT THE RESERVE
Marataba Reserve is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places we have seen, and we were left breathless when we first took it all in. Rich red mountain rock bears down on the verdant plains at its feet, and it is not hard to imagine a time long past when Stone Age settlers sought refuge in the sanctuary of Marakele.
Some of the interesting areas to explore include:
- Pinnacle Iron Age Ruins
- Bushman’s Gorge
Contrasting mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterize the park. Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, 5m high cycads and tree ferns are some of the plant species you will find. All of the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats, as well as an amazing variety of birds (including the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures in the world, with between 600 and 800 breeding pairs) have settled here.
UNIQUE ASPECTS OF MARATABA’S WALKING TRAILS
- The Marakele Reserve is unique in respect of topography, flora and fauna.
- Walking Marataba offers the only Malaria-free Big 5 walking trail in South Africa.
- The variety of terrain and vegetation makes for a unique walking experience every time you leave the camp.
- These are true wilderness trails, with no sign of civilization. It’s just you and the wilderness.