The first time you do anything is the most important. It determines your opinion of the activity for the foreseeable future. Had a bad experience eating broccoli when you were young? How do you think that impacts what you think about broccoli now? Sure, you might like broccoli, but it’s in spite of your bad experience. So, I wanted to make sure the environment was perfect for my first safari. I’m not the biggest ‘nature’ person out there so I needed the right balance between comfort and nature. I wanted an authentic experience, but with the bells and whistles I’ve come to expect at hotels.
Lucky for me, I got to experience my first safari at Marataba Safari Lodge. Guys, I’ve stayed at amazing properties and this place is up there.
The lodge is set in a private area of the Marakele National Park and the only other property on the park is their sister lodge, the Marataba Trails lodge. This guarantees that there is no traffic at animal sightings and there aren’t hordes of other vehicles crowding the animals. Most of the time it was just our group and nature.
I guess, since I’ve already started talking about it, let’s chat about your routine at Marataba. All drives, food and drinks are included in your room rate so you don’t have to worry about anything once you’re there and you decide. You can either go on ALL the safaris or one of them. Here’s what my routine was at Marataba Safari Lodge.
Day one: Sunset game drive followed by dinner under the stars outside the main area of the lodge.
Day two: Snacks and tea, sunrise game drive followed by full breakfast, lunch, snacks and sunset game drive followed by dinner under the boma.
Day three: Snacks followed by sunrise boat safari
It wasn’t about what animals we saw, but the chase. We’d spot something exciting in the trees and Landon, our guide would then proceed to the chase. He’d ask us to look around and inevitably we’d spot it, a lion, a leopard or a rhino. After all that hard work, we’d stop off for tea in the morning and drinks in the afternoon at a scenic spot of the park. Trust me, we never went hungry. Also, we were never starved for beauty. It’s cheesy, but the scenery at Marataba was excellent, we’re not on the beach, but something speaks for the backdrop of these magnificent mountains set against the bush.
Marataba really makes the safari experience luxe. Mid-drive drinks and snacks, warm towels after each drive and service guides who greet you by name are standard. I’ll be covering the accommodation in another post (because I’ve got so much more to say) so keep an eye out for that.
A shot of me taken by our guide, Landon during our morning tea and snacks session mid-sunrise drive.
Landon preparing the tea and hot chocolate.
The gorgeous leopard putting on a show on the catwalk/road ;).