The Marataba Walking Trails Lodge has recently opened as a haven for those wanting to escape from the digital world and rediscover themselves amongst the wilderness. Located in the Marakele National Park, in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, it is only a 3.5 hour drive from Johannesburg and is a postcard of spectacular views. Its unique position in the Waterberg Mountains, an area which is between the dry west and the moist east, allows for a variety of large animals and plant life, and a diverse landscape. Amongst the mountainous land, one will also walk through valleys and over grassy plains, and freshwater pools are a welcome retreat from the hot air. Lion, rhino, elephant and hippo are all commonly seen in the region, and there are over 280 bird species in the National Park, including the world’s largest colony of the Cape Vulture; a species vulnerable to decline.
The Walking Trails Lodge offers guests a three-night stay in one of its five luxury suites; each with an organic atmosphere that is true to the spirit of the safari, but without skimping on comfort – with an en-suite bathroom, fireplace, and viewing deck. Marataba encourages healthy living; with meals often prepared over an open fire, and with lots of fresh and organic ingredients. The lack of technological gadgets, Wi-Fi and cell phone reception enables one to leave behind the fast pace of a highly-strung life and to reconnect with the earth.
As a walking trails lodge, there are a series of trails that visitors can explore, with the help of well-trained guides to make suggestions based on one’s fitness levels and objectives.
- The Riverine trails take one along the river, where one can expect to see the general game and stop by the water holes that draw the hippos and other large animals.
- The Gorge trails take one to the gorges of the Waterberg Mountains, and pass water pools along the way that are perfect for swimming in.
- The mountain trails take one hiking to the points that offer the most spectacular views of the region.
- The interest trails take one around the reserve to the points of archaeological interest, where one can see cave paintings, Iron Age ruins, and relics of the Stone Age that reveal the secrets of the cultural practices long gone.
The Marataba Walking Trails Lodge goes the extra mile to ensure that the experience is not just an adventurous one, but also a social experience that endeavours to draw its guests into the fold of the local culture. At night, guests sit communally around a campfire under the stars, where they learn about bush cooking techniques and the local customs and legends. The Walking Trails Lodge is presenting here not just a holiday, but a way of life – a simpler life that is untouched by the rigorous demands of the city, and yet is more connected, and a more wholesome way of living.