We stayed in Makalali second half of September 2012. This was our 3rd visit in a private game reserve, but the first time here. Makalali was definitely the best of the three !
It is a 260 km² property and therefor it takes a while (after you entered the gate) to reach the central reception, but with dry weather the road is not an issue, not even without 4x4.
The check-in was fast, friendly and efficient and we were picked up by our rancher at the reception to bring us to our camp and bungalow.
The welcome by the camp manager was also very warm.
Food was very good with lunch even exceptional - light but delicious.
During our 3 nights we had diner in the boma/lapa twice and once in the central camp bungalow. The athmospere was good, as was the food.
Drives were very special, not because there is a lot of wild in the reserve (at the contrary) but what you see is very worthwhile and our driver and tracker made serious efforts to show us the big five. They - also literally - went the extra mile to track the lions, cheetas, leopard,...
During our 3-day stay we did manage to see the big five plus hyena and cheetah (and more). It is the first time in our 5 stays in South-Africa that we were able to spot a leopard.
Also how the game drives are made is an experience on its own. Leaving the gravel roads to drive through bushes and find one of the big five is a thrill. On top, when some of the other guides tracked rare animals and our drive was contacted by radio, he rally-ed on the gravel roads to get there asap. This too was for us a great experience : a bush-rally.
I could continue for a while, but it would stop most people from reading a too long evaluation.
In short : we had a very worthwhile and extremely enjoyable stay in Makalali. We can strongly recommend this lodge.
P.S. In some sites it is stated that only camp 4 has airco, but this is not true. All bungalows in all camps eem to have heating and airco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.