A South African Safari Adventure

A South African Safari Adventure--Wandering Hello

When my husband asked me if I wanted to go to South Africa, the first words out of my mouth were, “We must go to a South Africa safari lodge and go on a safari.” I wanted to see animals in a more authentic way. I wanted to see them in their own environment. 
Our safari journey started a couple days before we left for South Africa. I had an awful day at work. I’m talking worst-day-of-my-life-I-quit type day. It was so bad that I didn’t even give a weeks notice. I said, “adios” and walked out. (That’s actually what pushed me to start my dream of writing a travel blog. But that’s another story for another time.)
My husband felt really bad for me and wanted to brighten my horrible day. He and my sister-in-law, who lives in South Africa, had been planning a three day safari at a lodge a few hours north of Johannesburg for only my husband and I. They had planned on telling me about it on the way to the airport.
I’m so glad they told me earlier so I could plan better outfits!
The news of our upcoming safari excursion made the horribleness from the day melt away.
South Africa Safari--Wandering Hello A South African Safari Adventure--Wandering Hello
Driving from Johannesburg to the lodge, we were able to see a different side of South Africa. On the side of the road people were selling everything from fruit to wood carved chairs. We drove through towns were all the houses were made was metal sheets or cinder blocks. We even had to stop twice in the middle of a highway to let a family of monkeys cross.
South Africa Safari--Wandering Hello
It took 3.5 hours to get to lodge gate. An employee was waiting at the gate for us. He handed us a cool moist towel and offered the restroom to us. We got out of the car and stretched out legs a bit. There was about 15 minute long drive to the lodge depending on traffic (animals on the road). We would be driving in the bush alone in our rented Ford Focus.
It took us a half hour to get to the lodge because, one, we got lost, and two, there were a ton of animals on the road. Looking back, I think we saw more animals on that drive than on our first game drive with the guide. And to be honest, It’s a little terrifying staring at a huge elephant that is just a few meters away from you and your little car.

Marataba Safari Lodge

We stayed at the beautiful Marataba Safari Lodge, nestled in the Marakele National Park mountains. The South Africa safari lodge is a nice blend of authenticity and luxury. Our room was actually half a tent attached to a solid building. The room had a beautiful attached bathroom and air conditioning. All the rooms are disconnected from the lodge and from each other. It’s almost like you’re alone in the bush.

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Our first night, we awoke around 3 a.m. to the sound of hyenas laughing and something making a loud, low howl as the hyenas killed it. If you have never heard a hyena laughing, it is terrifying. Specially when all you have to protect you is a tent.

But I want authentic… right?

However, our safari guide assured us that the laugh can travel a great distance and the kill probably didn’t happen anywhere near the lodge.

At 5 a.m. we received our wake up call and by 5:30 we were drinking coffee waiting for our game drive to start.

“Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all time.”

“But seriously.”

Our guide’s ground rules when we started on our first game drive.

There is something magical about early mornings in the bush. It’s cold and everything is cast in an orange/yellow glow, but the animals are very active.

South Africa Safari--Wandering Hello

South Africa Safari--Wandering Hello

South Africa Safari--Wandering Hello

South Africa Safari--Wandering Hello

South African Safari--Wandering Hello

A South African Safari Adventure -- Wandering HelloSouth Africa Safari Lodge--Wandering HelloA South African Safari Adventure -- Wandering Hello

A South African Safari Adventure -- Wandering Hello

A South African Safari Adventure -- Wanderinghello

While we enjoyed the game drives (clearly), that was only part of our incredible time. The staff was so kind and helpful. The chef made delicious food. He made me the most delicious gluten free bread I have ever had and we dined outside every day with a view of the mountains or the stars. It was a dream.

We had a complementary massage in front of our private room and we took a dip in the lodge pool. We drank nice wines and iced coffees while watching giraffes walk by the near by watering hole.

One night, we came back from a game drive and the tables were lit with lanterns, a bonfire surrounded all the tables, and the chef was bbqing. We dined that night with our guide and learned more about the area and heard stories from him. It was so cozy.

I definitely recommend you go to a South Africa safari lodge and go on a safari. More than that, I recommend Marataba because of the impeccable service, great location, and amazing staff.

Have you ever been to a South Africa safari lodge? What was your experience?

xo, Erin Kay

Click here to read my other South Africa post.

**This was NOT a sponsored post, just an honest opinion.**

A South African Safari Adventure--Wandering Hello Travel Blog

Comments (23)

  1. Reply

    I had the option of doing a South Africa Safari but we chose Kenya instead. I appreciate your post a lot though because you show me what I missed!! I just posted about my safari too today – great minds 😉

  2. Reply

    Oh wow what a beautiful looking place to go on a safari I am loving the lodge you got to stay at as well, it all looks so comfortable and cosy! And the animals OH the animals.

  3. Reply

    Great photos. I often wonder if I could go on a Safari. The pictures are very nice. Thanks for sharing. I felt like I was on tour with you.

  4. Reply

    This sounds like an incredible experience! I’ve always wondered what it’s really like to go on an African safari. The laughing hyenas sound a little scary. I’d love to see one of those sunrises in person.

  5. Reply

    Wow, it looks like you had a wonderful time in South Africa and got so lucky with those animal sightings. I’m sorry to hear about how bad your job was – you definitely did the right thing by leaving!

  6. Reply

    Safari is a dream of mine. I hope I finally get to do it this winter 🙂 It looks amazing, you are so lucky 🙂

  7. Jen


    Awesome photos! You really have an eye for it. What camera do you use? A safari has always been on the list for me!!

    • Erin Kay


      Thank you, Jen! I really love taking photos. Thats really why I started blogging–a way to showcase my photography. I use a Canon Rebel XTi. Getting older, but still works great!

  8. Reply

    The reason I don’t take my daughter to a zoo is that I hope someday I will be able to take her on a safari so she can see the real thing. Nice photos I am jealous!

  9. Reply

    Wow. Just WOW! The safari lodge is incredible. This is such a dream scenario. Taking a safari and staying at a safari lodge like this has just officially become a bucket list item for me 🙂 I love it!

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