After a short flight from Durban to Johannesburg we picked up our hire car and set off for Marataba. Located next to Marakele National Park in the Waterberg the drive took us approximately 4 hours to reach the camp itself, on arrival at Marataba we were welcomed with a cool drink and were shown around the main area of the lodge then once all the forms were signed we were escorted to our room which comprised of a deck looking out over the bush, Twin beds, twin basins, a big bath, indoor and outdoor showers and a separate toilet the units even have under floor heating for the cold winter mornings. Whilst Justin settled into the room – but only after I had finished taking all my pictures – I decided to walk outside to take a few pictures of the outside our room in its surroundings, I had barely walked onto the main path when I heard a crunching in the bushes a few meters from where I was standing, turning around I spotted a large male elephant in the bushes! I slowly went back into the room to call Justin to have a look and I decided my photos could wait until he had moved on, we left him in peace so that we could finish unpacking.
After a lovely high tea we were off on our Afternoon Game drive, the bush was quite thick for May but this was due to the late rains we had in April so there was still plenty of water and grass for the animals, this made spotting them a little difficult but we still managed to find Rhino, Waterbuck, Giraffe and the usual Impala, Kudu, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest etc. so overall a good game drive, when the sun had gone down and the temperature with it we did a short night drive on our way back to camp but unfortunately no cats were spotted. Dinner that night I must say was amazing the food was simply delicious! With a hot starter of cauliflower & almond soup with Truffle oil, a palate cleanser of Kiwi sorbet, Mains was a Gemsbok loin with Risotto and vegetables and to round it all off was a berry panna cotta. After that amount of food combined with a very long day we were off to bed which welcomed us with a hot water bottle.
At Marataba their winter schedule is a little different so the next morning our wake up call was at 06h30, followed by Breakfast at 07h30 which was a combination of cold meats, cheeses, fruits, yoghurts etc. then followed by a hot breakfast of bacon & eggs or my favorite – the French toast with bacon and banana covered with a home made maple syrup - what a way to start the day! and then of course departing for our morning game drive at 08h30. The morning drive was much more eventful and we saw all the usual suspects such as a large herd of Rhino, Impala, Kudu, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest etc. but a very special sighting was the 2 honey badgers unfortunately they did move off quickly and I didn’t manage to get a picture of them, but they are an animal that is rarely seen and one that we had never seen before. We also made our way to the large open plains where we spotted Foxes, Black Backed Jackal, Eland, Steenbok, Vultures and even the last 4 Ostrich left on the reserve.
It was then back to the lodge for a little rest, Lunch with the most beautiful views of the mountains, an afternoon siesta, high tea with more treats and then back on the Game Vehicle for our afternoon drive, this drive was special as besides all the usual game, I am now including Rhino in the usual game category as we did see them on every drive! We also saw Lion and once the sun had gone down we saw Elephants, Genet and Serval by spot light. Dinner was again a scrumptious and hearty meal.
Breakfast the next morning was the same and of course I had to have the French toast, we then sadly packed our bags and said goodbye as we were off to Clifftop Lodge in the Welgevonden.