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“Amazing Christmas” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Three Cities Madikwe River Lodge

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Three Cities Madikwe River Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Madikwe Game Reserve | P.O. Box 17, Madikwe Game Reserve 2876, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Watford, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Amazing Christmas”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2012

The Dempseys from Australia, England and South Africa decided to make the Madikwe River Lodge the place to stay over five nights for Christmas. What an amazing holiday we had. We choose here as it seems an authentic South African experience, but still receiving the five star treatment.
The lodges were large, clean, comfortable and had everything you needed. You had to latch the door, no locks needed, because the naughty monkeys were able to open the doors and get in to steal the fruit. The bathroom had a large picture window facing the river so as you showered you could watch the scenery, however no-one could see you. The staff went out of their way to be helpful and even sang and danced for us on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The food was good and we never seemed to stop being fed. The cooked breakfast was served to us but lunch and dinner were help yourself to as much as you wanted. There were also pre-game drive snacks and high tea in the afternoon. The game drives were the best we had ever been on, getting within touching distance to many animals, even the lions, as you can see from my photographs. The drive is about four hours from Jo'burg but it is possible to fly to the small airstrip, which if we went again we would do. I would highly recommend the Madikwe River Lodge for an amazing holiday.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
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96 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    54
    29
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
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  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Gerrards Cross, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2012

This was our second safari after being in Entabeni and once again received a warm welcome with a drink and cold towel to clean our face with (much needed after a 5.5 hour drive along bumpy dusty roads). The chalets we stayed in were luxurious and very comfortable, beds were very soft and pillows huge. There was also complimentary water, tea/coffee and reading/sitting area near the bedroom and also a lovely balcony overlooking the river. The safari started at 5.30am so up at 5am with a wake-up call - a light snack of yoghurt/cookies/tea/coffee and then off we go! The safari lasted 3 hours and back before 9am for a huge breakfast. Lunch at 1pm and then snacks again at 4pm before a 4.30pm departure for the afternoon safari. Dinner was at 8pm for dinner. Food was excellent and a wide choice for every meal.
Our guide Takira was excellent, he was very keen to get as close to the animals as possible! We drove over plants and trees trying to get close to lions/wilderbeast/waterbuck/cerval/wild dogs etc. You could ask him any question about any animal and he would know the answer! He was very good at finding animals after dusk. We noticed that in the morning safari we did not see a lot of animals until about 8am after the grass had dried out, the afternoon safari was far more successful. We got within touching distance of elephants, zebras! I would thoroughly recommend Madikwe River Lodge to other travellers.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Dubai
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2011

We stayed at the Madikwe River Lodge in September 2011 and had a very good time.

The food was very good, although the service a little slow.

We had a great guide for the game drives, he explained a lot and drove on each of the 4 drives a different route. The morning drives were a bit cold but the lodge provided us with warm ponchos, so it wasn't that bad.

We loved the cottages, they are very clean and all are located with a view on the river.

Thank you to the Madikwe team.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Canterbury U.K
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2011

Sited on the Groot Marico River in a pretty belt of greenery- this super holiday destination was just what we expected.
Spacious rooms, very clean with friendly staff
The game viewing /guiding by Charles was outstanding.We could not have wished for more.
Thanks so much to the Madikwe team

Room Tip: all are situated on the river
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2011

We stayed at the Madikwe River Lodge in July, which proved to be a wonderful season to be here. Yes, it was really, really cold during the morning safaris, but we had brought warm winter clothes and they provided us with warm ponchos. There were no leaves on the trees and it was easy to see all the animals. Furthermore, there were only few people at the lodge, so we felt the personal service even more.
We stayed for three nights, which is just the perfect number of days. We got six game drives and they were all different. Our guide Jerry was not only very knowledgable, but also managed to make every game drive different, either by the kind of animals we saw, the route we took, the landscape we saw etc. He was also very good in arranging the car, so everybody could take good pictures and remembered to follow-up on questions from earlier game drives or found us trees or bird nests that we had asked about.
We felt that the focus of the lodge was mainly game drives and nature experiences. Exactly what we expected and wanted. The food was of course good, there was a swimming pool, but it was too cold anyway, the chalets were very nice.... but the main thing that made this such a good experience was the game reserve itself and the enthousiasm of the guides. I am not an experienced safari person - this was actually my first one - so I do not know if you usually get your own guide during the whole stay (we did not at another game reserve afterwards), but this worked out very well, as the guide knew what we had seen the day before.
I read that someone earlier commented on the fact that he had to share a table with other guests. We tried both having our own family tables and sharing with other people. We actually thought it was fun to share experiences with the other people. We also experienced a bit of a language problem with some guests from Europe, so maybe they could arrange the tables according to language or family vs. couples and not according to the guide. It is also more fun to ask the other people what they had experienced and inspire each other with these stories.
I would love to return to Madikwe again. I like the concept that you have a guide instead of driving yourself, as I believe you both see more animals and learn more about them. I also like the fact that they take care not to have the Madwike game reserve overcrowded by only allowing people in that stay at the lodges. Unfortunately, this makes it quite expensive (although we though it every ZAR worth the money) (-:
Last but not least, I think it is such a nice thing that the Madikwe Game Reserve was developed to create tourism jobs in a quite remote area.
I felt very lucky to be able to come to this place and see the Southafrican wildlife instead of looking at a lion in a European Zoo.

Room Tip: We had chalet 17, which is the last one at a row, with a nice outdoor shower. Fun experience to try...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 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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Parma, Italy
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2011

This lodge is very well organized, there are tours at sunrise and sunset for the animals and the animals are often seen.
Near the lodge there is a pack of 60 lions, so it's easy to spot them.
The staff is friendly and the rooms are clean and tidy. You can take a shower outdoors in the forest (an experience that I recommend!). The dinners are unforgettable open air with the boom, as well as the picnic in the bush.
It is better to remain 3 days to see well all animals (big 5), buffalo is hard to see.
Pay attention to apes and spiders .

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Pretoria
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2011

My wife and I stayed at the Madikwe River Lodge in September 2010. Our decision to go was on the spur of the moment, so we didn't do a lot of advance research before booking the reservation. Happily, the Madikwe River Lodge was everything that we could have hoped for.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and were warmly greeted by the reception staff. After a brief welcoming chat with the manager, we were shown to our chalet and found that our luggage had already been delivered there. The person showing us the chalet showed us where everything was and how things worked (including latching the door so that the "naughty" monkeys couldn't get in and make a mess of things).

We could laze about on the deck of our chalet, overlooking the river and watching the comings and goings of birds, monkeys and other animals. There was a sitting area just inside the sliding glass doors, which included arm chairs, coffee table, magazines, and a stocked mini refrigerator. Coffee and tea essentials were nearby. The sleeping area, with a king size bed, was two steps up from the sitting area. An en suite bathroom was situated to the right of the sleeping area. The bathroom included sink, toilet and tub, along with an outdoor shower. The good news (or bad news if you are an exhibitionist) is that the shower is sheltered from the neighboring chalets. The decor was lovely, echoing the colors in the thatched roof above and the view outdoors.

The schedule was typical of most game lodges. A predawn wakeup call, coffee and tea, then bundle into the truck for a game drive. Midway through the morning drive, there is a break for drinks and a light snack. After the drive concludes, it's back to the lodge for a hearty breakfast. Then it's pretty much relaxing, punctuated by lunch, until a mid-afternoon tea before the afternoon game drive. Each afternoon drive features a stop somewhere in the bush for sundowners while watching the sun set. As the drive resumes, the ranger uses a spotlight to locate wildlife that is out and about at that hour. We also stopped for an impromptu astronomy lesson. Far away from town, the African sky almost blazes with stars.

Our driver, Francois, had worked at the Madikwe River Lodge for 4 years, so he was very knowledgeable about where to look for things and how to respond to questions from ignorant tourists. One thing any guest at any game lodge must remember is that the ranger or guide will do their very best but they cannot produce a lion or giraffe on demand. These are wild animals living in a near-wilderness and they come and go as their own needs or whims dictate. We came back from our first drive all jazzed about a having a white rhino mock-charge our truck (he got so close that my wife could have reached out and swatted him on the nose) and seeing a very large family group of elephants. Another group of guests came back from their drive excited about having seen a leopard but were crest-fallen when they heard about the elephants we saw. Meanwhile, it's taken me nearly two years to see a leopard in the wild.

Having mentioned meals, I should point out that the food at Madikwe River Lodge was uniformly delicious. Meals are usually served buffet-style on the verandah of the main lodge. Having the family of banded mongooses who live below the verandah scamper across your feet in their search for crumbs adds a special touch. On some evenings, dinner is a braai (South African barbecue) served in the boma (enclosure) just across the river from the main lodge.

The Madikwe River Lodge tries to be kid-friendly, supplying a television and videos in the the loft above the verandah. There are also two swimming pools where the kids can burn off some of their excess energy. Do check about age limitations for kids on game drives in advance.

  • Stayed September 2010, 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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Additional Information about Three Cities Madikwe River Lodge

Address: Madikwe Game Reserve | P.O. Box 17, Madikwe Game Reserve 2876, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Three Cities Madikwe River Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 16
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Also Known As:
Madikwe River Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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