Marakele National Park


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Who knew?!

Written on: February 11, 2015   |   I visited in May 2014 Having spent years exploring South Africa's iconic national parks and wildlife private reserves, I wasn't sure what to expect when the More Properties family invited me to stay at their newest property, Marataba in the Marakele National Park.

Who knew what awaited! And if I did, I would have stayed longer that is for sure. From the moment we arrived, the service was really friendly and personal, discreet though which I personally like - nothing worse than being continuously bombarded by questions and attention. Then there is the setting. WOW WOW WOW. This place is truly the most scenic I've seen in a long time, enormous, curvacious mountains wrapping the horizon in front of you. Now for the actual lodge, oh my goodness I gasped under my breath. If I could sketch I would have illustrated the main building to one day recreate it as my own family home because it was truly perfect. Open plan yet with intimate areas for quiet moments shared with loved ones like the library, open fire, lounges and then stairs down to the lovely grassed area under trees overlooking almost completely dry river bed and in the background, those mountains. This would be where lunch was savoured each day and time lazing in lovely hammocks. The dining room inside is very spacious and at night, quite grand the way it is set up and lit. And now for the rooms, you walk down sandy pathways and come to your enormous semi-tented room on stilts with more solid wall structures internally giving it a really homely feel. Your private verandah with beanbags no less, has the wow views and inside, your bed and free standing stone bath are positioned to capture the views.

There was a pool area with sun loungers, but we didn't spend time there as it felt very open and exposed and we preferred time together exploring or lazing in hammocks and beanbags! It is perfect for families though as the pool is really well positioned and has all the safety requirements necessary to ensure a great stay.

Now to the safari activities... there are game drives in open sided 4x4s, a lovely boating cruise at sunset and fantastic walking. Because the national park is massive, you don't really see an abundance of wildlife, it is a challenging safari and in our opinion, all the more rewarding. So it is ideal as a first time safari goer who may want to relax first and ease their way into safari and next go somewhere like Madikwe, Kruger or Sabi Sand where wildlife is big hitting. Or for the safari purist who really is in touch with the rhythm of life and nature and wants the thrill of the chase. Whilst we were there, the head guide took us to the site of their soon to open Walking Trails Lodge. It will allow for two and three night walking safaris in a more remote area of the national park. Riverine and waterholes trail, gorge trail where you may get to swim in a fresh water pool, mountain trails which are a little bit longer and ideal for those wanting the ultimate views over Africa’s vastness and then special interest trails focusing on the history of the reserve, its cave paintings, stone age relics and iron age ruins.

So what did I think overall - loved it. Quality of wildlife was great, just not abundant so I've given it a 4. Quality of lodging 5 star for sure, just remember the pool is very open and exposed to guests sitting on the grassed area and walking past to their rooms. It won't bother many guests, I'm just a bit of a prude... No crowds in this national park. The lodge can get busy and noisy if there are multiple families staying. But there is ample space to keep to yourself. Overall, 5 stars for me! I'll go back in a heartbeat, this time with my toddler.
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Sep 01, 2015   |   Visited: Aug 2015.
A habitat restoration and wildlife repopulation success story, Marakele National Park is also amongst South Africa's most scenic. With the dramatic Waterberg massif as its backdrop, the park is home to the big five, and much, much more. At 120,000 hectares, there is no shortage of places to explore, whether on game drives, on the water, or on foot (guided, of cours... read more
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Nov 04, 2014   |   Visited: Jan 2010.
Marakele is one of the smaller and lesser visited national parks in South Africa. It’s located relatively close to Johannesburg (about a four-hour drive), so it can make a nice weekend trip for travelers to Johannesburg who don’t have time for a more far flung safari.

Marakele is now a big five reserve after the translocation of a herd of buffalo in 2013. When I... read more
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Tracking a male lion knowing it was literally metres in front of us and not finding him due to thicket! We could smell and hear him, it was truly remarkable experience.

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