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“A Memorable Lodge!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Lodge

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Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Lodge
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Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa   |  
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Udon Thani, Thailand
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
“A Memorable Lodge!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2011

My S.O. and I spent two nights at Mosetlha Bush Camp at the end of June/beginning of July and had a truly memorable stay. Mosethla stands out as one of our favorite destinations from our many trips to South Africa over the last fifteen years.

I was an avid camper and backpacker in my youth (and still do the odd camping trip, now and then), so I guess what I liked best about Mosethla is that this is close to a camping, "natural" experience - albeit, with lots of luxuries and a very helpful support staff thrown into the bargain! Despite the fact that rooms are not en-suite and there is no electricity and running water, do not be deceived into thinking that a stay at Mosethla is a "roughing it" experience. The rooms are more than comfortable - and what a treat to stay in a partially open-sided room where you can hear the wild and look out and see the stars at night! The vault toilets were the cleanest and most "pleasant" I have ever come across, and the hot water provided by the donkey boiler system more than adequate for nice, hot showers. Meals were simple, but ample and tasty. There is a decent selection of beers, wines and soft drinks at very down-to-earth prices -- we really appreciated this.

The staff at Mosethla was wonderful - outgoing, friendly, caring and capable. Most of them have been with Mosethla since the camp opened, which tells you a lot about the management of the place and how it treats its staff. Our ranger, Jonny, was tops. He is an unusual guide in that he is not full of small talk and showmanship - unfortunately, so many rangers we've had on other safaris feel an annoying need to entertain you constantly - but was one of the most knowledgeable and professional rangers we've come across. His tracking skills are legendary within the park, and he "produced" wonderful sightings of game for us time and again. A highlight was tracking a leopard for the better part of an hour and then finally - presto! - Jonny found him deep in the bush!

We had the pleasure of being in camp when the founder's daughter, Caroline, was present. She is a delight with head and heart in the right place and has now taken over the running of the business. To Caroline: Good luck and keep up the good work!

We can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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264 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
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English first
Oakland, CA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2011

If you have never been on safari before, Mosethla Bush Camp is the place to start. The camp itself gives the feel of living in the bush, with very cosy private tent cabins, a comfortable open air thatched "sitting room", a cheery communal dining area, and a fire pit area used for both cooking and camp gatherings. The food is authentic African faire. The game drives are exciting and include either morning tea or evening "sundowners" with snacks. Photo opportunities abound, both on the drives and in camp. And the hosts and guides become like family. It's an experience to repeat. One couple we met had been there 6 times.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2011

I feel a bit of a miser writing this review as a pretty much lone dissenting voice amongst so much positive feedback but we booked Mosetlha on the strength of the Trip Advisor reviews and were a bit disappointed so I thought it only right to add our experiences.

My biggest gripe with Mosetlha is the price. At almost £170/R1700 per person per night, it was right, right at the top of our budget but we went for it on the basis of the great reviews. On the rare occasion that I have spent a similar amount of money on accommodation in South Africa, I have always come away feeling it was value for money but sadly, with Mosetlha this was not the case. Of course we were not expecting luxurious accommodation, and in many ways the comfy beds, hot showers and relatively pleasant toilets were a surprise but when you think about it, there can’t be many places where you spend £170 per night and don’t have an ensuite and are expected to use a potty at night! However, the accommodation is not the real issue here as the literature definitely prepared us for the realities of that and I have had much, much more basic bush experiences. It was just that no aspect of the place was exceptional or even close to excellent and for that money, I would expect that.

We stayed at the end of May/June and it was, literally, freezing. Of course I can’t blame the lodge for the weather but I think more could have been done to ease things a little. Try getting dressed/undressed in an open-sided cabin (or sitting in a game vehicle for 3 hours) when it is minus 4 degrees and it is not fun. Even cheap and cheerful places I have stayed in South Africa provide hot water bottles in winter and this would have been so welcome but sadly this was not the case here. Or it would have been nice to have been woken with a bucket of hot water so we could at least have washed and warmed our hands and face before going out – just simple gestures which would have made such a difference. Whilst the literature does recommend bringing a winter coat, gloves and hat, it doesn’t really emphasise heavily enough just how cold it can be. We had come pretty well equipped but we had only come from Joburg whilst some international visitors who were at the Camp during our stay were woefully unprepared for the cold. The response of the staff to this just seemed to be to push the Mosetlha branded fleeces, gloves etc. they had for sale which I thought a bit cheeky. Surely a small supply of clothing to be loaned to people who needed it wouldn’t have been too much to ask?

Again on the subject of the pre-arrival literature, we got to the Reserve and found the entry fees had tripled from that which we had been led to expect. Now the literature does say that the entry fee may change without prior notice which is fair enough if the price has increased a little, but if it has tripled, I would expect an email forewarning me of this. It is also the only place I have ever been to that “advises” how much you should tip the staff which again I thought was cheeky, especially as the recommendation was very much on the high side.

In other areas, the food was actually very good for what it was - simple, hearty South African fare (boboties, potjies, etc.) and cooked well and certainly welcome in the cold weather. However, again I couldn’t help feeling it was lacking a bit, given the price we were paying. I was also surprised by the lack of space and facilities in Camp. It was absolutely fine for us as there were only 6 people in total but I would have thought that when the Camp is full, the number of toilets, showers, seating etc must be a bit inadequate especially as everyone is going to want to use facilities at the same time (i.e. when returning from game drives.)

Now to the game drives themselves. First, the good - Madikwe is famed for its wildlife viewing and I can’t fault it in this regard. A much longed for sighting of wild dogs was memorable, plus we saw a leopard with a fresh kill and the most amazing sighting of a pack of lions (including cubs) trying to dig a warthog out of its burrow (thankfully for us they were unsuccessful!) Together with sightings of elephant, rhino, jackals, genets, civets, African wild cats plus all the usual suspects, it certainly ticked all the boxes.

Whilst the game viewing was unsurpassed, our guide sadly was not. All the best wildlife encounters were as the result of finds by guides from other lodges (they are in radio contact with each other). Now I may be doing him a disservice and he may be the most knowledgeable game ranger in the country but we wouldn’t know as he hardly ever spoke to us let alone shared any facts, history of the park etc. Any jokes we made were met with stony silence and his attitude bordered on the surly at points. I think he was suffering severely from the cold but, sorry, tough – it’s his job, we were paying lots of money to be there and we were flipping freezing too! (Plus he did game drives with a hot water bottle on his lap, a luxury we were not afforded!)

I apologise if this review seems a bit damning, it is not meant to be. We had a perfectly fine time at Mosetlha and had I been paying £100 pounds a night, I would have been happy. However, Mosetlha is in the lucky position of being the cheapest lodge in Madikwe by a long way and as such, can charge whatever it likes - as long as it remains the cheapest, people will come. However, cheapest does not necessarily equal good value and, for me, that was the problem.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2011

With my wife and our two children (aged 14 and 11) we spent three memorable days at Mosethla Bush camp in august 2010. Lots of imagination has been used by the owners to offer comfort in challenging conditions and with minimal environmental impact if any. Staff and owner (Caroline) keep a great atmosphere. Our guide (Sam) did a commendable job in the drives we did with him.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Nusshof
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2011

My wife and myself spend 3 wonderful days at The bush camp. This is a camp as we always wished to be, not the luxury fancy ones, but still with a lot of style. To prepare the water for the shower with the donkey boiler was just fun and honestly said, it is amazing how long one bucket of water lasts... The cabins were great, drives with Patrick wonderful, we saw so many different animals, just wow, the food excellent, the lodge itself amazing. When coming back from the afternoon drive, the whole camp was illuminated by lamps. Just wonderful. But what impressed us really was the owner, Chris. We felt, this is his life, his home. He was a wonderful host. He explained us everything in details which was really good. He is a good person. We certainly will come back to the camp in the future thats for sure!! Alberto and Anita

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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Portsmouth
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2011

We found The Bush Camp exactly as described both in nearly all previous reviews and on their website. So when we arrived it all seemed very familiar.

Mosethla lived up to all our expectations. Very cleverly set-up, it provides unsohisticated comfort to complement the bush which surrounds and lends an exciting air of adventure to one's stay. Our hostess while we were there, Caroline, was both charming and hospitable and gave personal attention to all her guests, encouraging a laid back relaxing atmosphere. However, the organisation was slick and efficient. The food was excellent, the accommodation kept spotlessly clean and the game drives started on time and were varied covering all the Reserve.

It's sad that someone recently didn't find their stay a happy one. For us, it will be remembered for the rest of our lives with great pleasure - and complacency that we were so clever to choose to go there!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Austria
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2011

we spent 3 nights at mosetlha in jan 2011 and loved it. the camp is located in the middle of madikwe game reserve and is only a 4h drive from pretoria.

game viewing:
we had 2 game drives a day with patrick and every single drive we saw something new. we never thought wed get that close to the animals. patrick was fantastic and knew loads about all the animals we saw. hightlights of our drives were def finding the wild dogs and coming across lions eating their kill right next to the road. we saw all the big five except the leopard but that just means we have to come back to see that :-)

camp and rooms:
the camp is quite rustic and simple but very comfortable and it is kept very clean. the rooms are comfortable and although very hot during the day, are nice and cool at night and once you get used to the idea of sleeping in an unfenced camp, you sleep very well. there were no bugs or creepy crawlies in the rooms at all although my mom had a bat one day :-) the dining area and lapa are lovely. the showers and toilets are fine despite not having running water and you really dont feel like youre roughing it at all. being the bush like that was really a great experience.

service:
in my opinion, this is where mosetlha really excels (in addition to the game drives obviously). we were a party of 5 and there was only one other couple there when we arrived and the last night we had the camp to ourselves. you feel much more like youre staying with friends rather than in a hotel/lodge. all the staff members are exceptionally friendly and made our stay memorable. the manager bruce sees you off on every drive and meets you again when you get back and all the staff members (including bruce and patrick) help out with setting the table and keeping everyone happy. its these little things that really make the difference.
also it was my birthday during our stay - what a treat! my husband had contacted the camp beforehand and asked if we could have a little celebration as a surprise so i was surprised with champagne at the sundowner and a decorated dining area when we came back for dinner. they also brought in a cake all the way from joburg.
id also like to mention that i was 13 weeks pregnant during our stay and was made to feel comfortable and looked after the whole time.

all 5 of us would highly recommend mosetlha to anyone looking for an exceptional safari experience and we would all love to go back some day. thank you again to everyone at the camp for making our stay unforgettable!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Lodge

Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mosetlha, nestled right at the heart of Madikwe Game Reserve and its only genuine eco lodge and authentic bush camp, is unfenced, rustic and intimate. Comfy beds in raised wooden cabins, oil lamps, traditional bush meals prepared on the open fire, a donkey boiler for hot safari showers and twice daily game drives in open 4x4s with expert guides, promise you a true wilderness experience. Come get the dust of Africa on your feet ... ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mosetlha Bush Camp And Eco Lodge
Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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