MORE Africa’s newest luxury outpost is South Africa’s only malaria-free Big Five walking safari trail. Marataba Trails Lodge is an explorer’s paradise, where the picturesque red mountains and grass-clad hills of Waterfall Valley promise some of the most spectacular scenery and wildlife the Waterberg region has to offer. Learn more about this South Africa safari lodge below.

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Marataba Trails Lodge is a year-round trails destination created solely for those in search of an active and interactive safari experience. Five luxurious eco-suites are an extension of their natural environment, beautifully designed with all of the luxurious amenities of a five-star hotel yet utterly connected to Marakale National Park’s remote wilderness. En-suite bathrooms, rain showers, fireplaces, and private shaded decks with infinite views across the valley are but some of the unique amenities within each room. Accommodating only eight guests at a time, Marataba Trails Lodge offers the perfect peaceful retreat. Floor-to-ceiling unobstructed windows, natural wood and stone contemporary furnishings, and a healthy lack of Internet and cellphone reception ensure there is nothing to distract guests from the intimacy of the bush.

Mornings at Marataba Trails Lodge begin early with fresh offerings of kiwi, pineapple, and berry breakfasts. Marataba is renowned for its healthy culinary offerings, with fresh, organic, and delicious meals served throughout the day—many of which are prepared over an open fire and accompanied by the resident elephants. Guests have a choice between morning and afternoon hikes with the option of a full-day outing and picnic in the winter months. Each track presents a different opportunity to experience the many microenvironments hidden within this private 56,000-acre concession linked to Marakele National Park. Guides are particularly talented at gauging each guest’s fitness level and safari desires to create an unforgettable wildlife encounter, whether it be trekking over the top of the Kransberg range vistas, traversing through gorges of the Waterberg Mountains, following the natural riverine courses, walking past ancient Stone Age cave paintings, taking a dip in a refreshing waterhole, or enjoying a sundowner on a boating excursion. Regardless of the route, the one thing that remains consistent is the likelihood of encountering wildlife along the way. All of the large game species—from elephant and rhino to big cats and various birds—make their home here due to the park’s transitional location between the dry western and moist eastern regions of South Africa.

After a day on the trails, return to Marataba Trails Lodge for an in-room massage, a candlelit dinner around the table, and good company at the boma fire learning about bush cooking techniques and some of the local legends of the land. This South Africa safari lodge is particularly magical at sunset, with vistas presenting Africa’s vastness in both land and starlit sky in all of its untouched wonder.

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