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Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Which Madikwe Game Reserve hotels are on sale?
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Milan, Italy
posts: 19
reviews: 20
Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Hi All,

I'm trying to organize few days of our honeymoon in Southafrica and we would love to have a safari experience in a game reserve.

We are going in May 2007 and our initial choice was the Tshukudu Bush Lodge in Pilanesberg Game Reserve but it's unfortunately booked out for the dates we want (12-15 May) and so we are forced to consider some other options.

Madikwe Game Reserve is definetely looking great but the only thing that it's a bit annoying is the long drive from Johannesburg Airport.

Anyway, our choice would be for:

Impodimo Game Lodge

Madikwe River Lodge

Makanyane Safari Lodge

They all look nice but would someone be able to tell me which is the closer to Johannesburg by car? By checking various brochures, I still don't get if it takes 5 hours or 3.5 hours from Johannesburg to Madikwe.

Anyone been in one of the above places? Any reccomandation?

We are actually still considering Pilanesberg but the only place "available" would be the KWA MARITANE but I reckon it does not offer a "real" safari experience as the places in Madikwe.

I 'd be grateful for any suggestions or advice!!

Milan, Italy
posts: 19
reviews: 20
1. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Forgot to mention..

Would Pilanesberg be a lot busier than Madikwe? (due to Sun City being so close)

Also, in May, it is usually a busy season both in Pilanesberg & Madikwe?

I also forgot to mention that for us it would be the very first african experience and therefore we are not looking at too "special" things like real safari lovers, of course we would be very happy to see a lot of animals in their habitat! I read that Pilanesberg offer a wide choice of animals in a short time (3 days) whereas I'm afraid that in Madikwe we would not see that many being it bigger and all.

Thanks again for any help that might come

London, United...
posts: 1,721
reviews: 75
2. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Hello,

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Pilanesberg -- it does get very crowded with people from Sun City and day-trippers from Joburg, and doesn't really feel like the bush IMO...more like a giant-size UK safari park.

If your budget can sustain it, I'd recommend skipping the drive and flying. It is about 5 hours to Madikwe by car but 1.5 by plane.

If you're willing to fly, however, I'd recommend going to the Sabi Sands near Kruger (about 2-2.5hrs by plane) rather than going to Madikwe. In my experience the game-viewing in the Sabi Sands is MUCH better than in Madikwe, and you'll definitely get a real bush experience.

Some good mid-priced lodges include Chitwa Chitwa, Lion Sands, Djuma, and Nottens.

Cheers,

Julian

Milan, Italy
posts: 19
reviews: 20
3. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Hi Jasher,

Cheers for your reply.

Actually we'd like to stay in a Malaria Free Zone and that's why Madikwe or Pilanesberg suit us best.

The + point for Pilanesberg would also be that it's so close to Sun City that we can also allow ourselved a day of sightseeing there (although I read many controversial reviews about that place).

In the end, I think our budget will not allow us to fly to Madikwe and I believe we will be going to the Kwa Maritane in Pilanesberg, eventhough I hope I won't get the UK safari park feeling out of it :-)

Thanks again for your help & advice.

London, United...
posts: 248
reviews: 12
4. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Ciao Galbionix,

I really think you should consider Madikwe as opposed to Pilanesberg. As previous poster says, you can get rather a lot of day trippers in P. The game is good in Pilanesberg for sure, but i honestly think its better in Madikwe. I was there only January and we saw incredible game.

And you are in LOW season so you should get some good rates in Madikwe whichmay enable you to take the one hour flight which saves the 4.5 hour road journey.

have a look into it, as im sure you'll appreciate the effort in the end...and the safari lodges are outstanding...you'll love them.

A word of warning - it can get VERY COLD in any of the parks as soon as the sun goes down, so take plenty of winter clothes!!! Its beautiful and warm and sunny during the daytime but when the sun isnt there, very cold!! Makes for great sundowners and braai's though!!!

Enjoy

Milan, Italy
posts: 19
reviews: 20
5. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Hi MarshyM,

Thanks for the advice.

I do realize that Pilanesberg can't be compared to Madikwe, never mind to Kruger, as in these 2 places you just get the best Southafrica can offer (in terms of game viewing).

Still, the Tour Operator where I'm booking my honeymoon gives me only a few places that I can choose from (like I could choose Makanyane or Madikwe River Lodge in Madikwe and both are much more expensive than Kwa Maritane) and being a "beginner" in the safari african world I don't mind Pilanesberg for the first time.

I will definetely look into the "flying" option to Madikwe though, as if it really makes that much difference comparing to Pilanesberg we have to consider this seriously.

Being our trip in low season, I wasn't expecting the Pilanesberg park to be that busy (I read many reviews about Madikwe and immediately realized that you get a "private" game experience there, also because tourists apart from the ones staying in the private lodges are not allowed in the park).

Anyway, it's such a special and expensive trip (3 days Rome, 3 days Southafrica, 10 days Mauritius, and 2 days Florence!) that I wanna check all possibilities as any "potential disappointment" must be avoided! :-)

Cheers

London, United...
posts: 248
reviews: 12
6. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Galbionix,

You'll still have a great time in Pilanesberg, im sure of that, so dont expect a bad safari - any safari is a great experience!!!

Enjoy...especially Florence, haha!!! im jealous!!!

Milan, Italy
posts: 19
reviews: 20
7. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Yeah, will definetely enjoy! no worries there :-)

London, United...
posts: 1,721
reviews: 75
8. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

Hello,

If you want a malaria free experience, Madikwe is a good option. Another option that you may want to consider is Phinda, which while not officially 'malaria free' is extremely low risk at the time of year you're travelling and has better game-viewing than Madikwe. It's about two hours by plane from Joburg.

http://www.phinda.com

Personally, if I were you I'd look into switching agents, or at least getting a quote from another agent. There's no reason why you should be limited to such a narrow selection of proeprties during the low season, and a good agent will work with a wide selection of properties to get you what you want.

When I was last at Madikwe I stayed at Madikwe Safari Lodge, and the guiding and hospitality were superb. The accommodation is all suites and very reasonably priced.

http://www.ccafrica.com/reserve-1-id-2-19

A friend of mine has stayed at Buffalo Ridge and had a great experience there.

http://www.buffaloridgesafari.com/

Cheers,

Julian

SOUTH AFRICA
posts: 2,258
9. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

HI there

I have been to all of the lodges you've mentioned. Of those 3, I would definately choose Makanyane Safari Lodge. Another excellent option in Madikwe is Madikwe Hills. Madikwe is about 3.5 hours drive from Jhb. I agree with Julian that Phinda would be a wonderful alternative!

Milan, Italy
posts: 19
reviews: 20
10. Re: Need help/advice for honeymoon!

thanks to all for the replies and advices!

so far, Pilanesberg is the most likely option but followed immediately by Madikwe.

I'm right now discussing with my travel agency to evaluate various possibilities!

Cheers!