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“Exceptional experience - and quality of our Ranger (Grant) made it unforgettable experience”
Review of Tau Game Lodge

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Tau Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
new york
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Exceptional experience - and quality of our Ranger (Grant) made it unforgettable experience”
Reviewed March 5, 2013

I was on business in Gabarone , Botswana and unexpectedly had 3 days free. Started calling operators in Botswana randomly and ended up with a proposal to spend 3 nights here. I didn't know anything about safaris so I was extremely blessed indeed

It is an easy trip from Gabarone (<1 hour) and even the border/immigration is a cool experience.

Madikwe/Tau had a lot of things that are important and that I didn't know about but that are critical to your experience. Tau is on a water hole so you see lots of animals. It has seperate huts and so you don't feel you're in a hotel. Madikwe controls the number of visitors plus does not have self-drive - so you're in a real natural environment and the animals are really wild. It never feels crowded.

The jewel of the experience, and why you are there, are the game drives. You're assigned to a Ranger. Ours was a son of the soil, Grant Botha, who was absolutely brillant. He had an encyclopaedia of knowledge and could answer (or pro-actively bring up) almost any fact - I was asking him questions like "how much does a Zebra eat a day?", "what is the % sucess rate for a lion's hunt". He was also a brillant tracker and could read and explain the landscape very easily...and was very well versed on the ecology and social/historical context. He's from a farm himself so obviously brings all that knowledge and experience to bear.

The highlight of our trip was seeing and following a hunt of 2 wildebeest by a pack of wild dogs. We also saw all of the Big 5, cheetah's etc. The real "safari" experts in my group were very impressed. In many cases. you get to less than 6 feet from the animals...who completely ignore the presence of the jeep and they're habituated.

As a neophyte, I was also worried that I'd be bored (after 6x 3-4 hour game drives) but the conditions vary so much, the light/weather/what you see, that each trip was fascinating.

I was travelling solo but wanted to offer a few observations for others.

One thing to check for any safari is whether kids can come. For safety reasons, kids <6 years cannot participate on game drives. They can do smaller drives and they have good babysitting....but if you have very young kids, you might be better to wait a few years.

Looking at the huts and the setting too, it is extremely romantic. I wish my wife was able to join. If you wanted a honeymoon spot that had no downside risks....this would be brilliant.

Room Tip: Get a hut right on the waterhole itself. I did and it was a treat to see crocs etc. These are number...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
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2 Thank killylastin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (109)
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English first
Oakville, Canada
Level Contributor
208 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

This was my first game lodge and it was wonderful. We were part of a group and they looked after us very well. We asked for a ranger who was a birder and Ken did a great job. It also helped that our group (3 couple) stayed with him for the 6 times we went out. The birding did not interfere with our spotting of the land animals.
The room (a small cottage) was delightful with an out door shower.
Good food too.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Randalljay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2013

Tau Lodge's proximity to Gaborone makes it a fantastic getaway, especially when you take into account the exceptional quality of the game viewing and quantity of game. The rangers take you off the road and right into the bush, and they work together to get guests the best views.

The service at the lodge, however, was awful and means we will not be going back. We objected having to share a game drive vehicle and dinner table with strangers. What was worse was when most of our group, after spending hours on a hot and dusty vehicle, weren't given time to shower before dinner. We were told we were to go on a bush braai at the last minute after being assured we would be eating at the lodge, and not the Boma, like the previous night. When we refused to go, we were told we had no choice as all the staff had been shipped out. Worse still, we were made to feel we were in the way and everything was a hassle for the staff. I'm sure overseas guests oftern don't mind being organized like this, but we didn't fit into their plans. At Tau Game Lodge, customer satisfaction is not their forte.

  • Stayed February 2013
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Helpful?
4 Thank FavouritePlaces
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
taugame, Manager at Tau Game Lodge, responded to this review, March 7, 2013
Tau Management appreciates the time taken to submit feedback after visiting the Lodge and we value all feedback given and take this into consideration in our endavours to meet and ultimately in striving to exceed our guests expectations.
As is the case in many of the private game lodges, we do combine guests and allocate these guests to a specific landrover and Ranger. This practise cuts down on the overall environmental impact the number of landrovers make from an ecological point of view, it furthermore prevents over- crowding (traffic) at sightings and it ultimately cuts down on the overall package costs of the guests. However should guests prefer to be allocated to a “Private vehicle” then this can be requested at the time when the reservation is made at an additional fee.
(Since the Reserve has restrictions as to the number of landrovers each lodge may send out into the reserve at any particular time, it is important that this request is made at the time of booking as this then means that we would have to block off and can not further sell a certain amount of our accommodation units).
In most cases the various guests do establish a relationship while out on the landrover and often enjoy talking about their bush experience with the other guests and their Ranger over dinner, however should any of the guests specifically request to be rather seated at a separate table, then we will gladly assist.
From our experience the Bush Dinner is by most of our guests regarded as one of the highlights of their visit; having a full course dinner with all bar and sanitary facilities in the middle of the bush, makes for a very special and unforgettable experience. As there is an enormous amount of planning and preparation involved we do this only once in a while, (this certainly can never be done at the last minute) and this also means that all staff members on duty are involved in preparing and providing our guests with a 5 star experience out in the bush under the stars.
Once again, we are always very accommodating of our guests requests, especially when approached in the appropriate manner, and are willing to make alternative arrangements where ever possible.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
104 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2013

After having been to Sabi Sands, we felt that Tau Game Reserve was not as exciting. We took a long 5 hours drive from Johannesburg to Tau - this was after my husband's conference in Johannesburg and was organised by his company. The lodge is nice, but we felt that it wasn't really value for money after having stayed at Sabi Sands which we were advised is more exclusive - turned out it was better value in Sabi Sands. Safari in Tau was also disappointing - we did see the big 5, and we also were able to see certain birds which was interesting. I would say that Tau was good for a short break but will definitely take the option to fly next time!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank JC C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2013

We have just returned from a weekend at Tau Game lodge. My husband and I went with our four children age 17,15,13 and 5years. We had an amazing experience. The lodge caters for all ages, a very relaxed atmosphere with the utmost attention to detail. The children were very well cared for, each being addressed by name, special meals were available and the family room was wonderful with a lounge and patio right in front of the watering hole - the family room is right at the end of the row of bungalows and so a little bit of noise from the children didnt interfere with the other guests. there was also plenty of place for the children to run outside, a swimming pool and jungle gym. The food was delicious. Michael in the diningroom was most attentive and knowledgable - even sharing a recipe!!!! Game drives were excellent. The vehicles in perfect order with blankets and rain ponchos available. The rangers very knowledgable, providing many different titbits of information (Brad and Ernest we our rangers). We had an amazing bush dinner under the stars. Ernest gave us a really interesting talk on the stars,planets as well as traditional folklore reletive to astronomy. I would highly recommend a visit to Tau, either as a couple or a family. It is value for money and a truly memorable experience. Thank you to all the staff who took such good care of us.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Carla W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mauritius
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 10, 2013

Had a pleasant time at Tau lodge. the staff was very helpful, courteous, and friendly. We managed to see 4 of the big five and thanks to our guide Ernest who was simply outstanding. We were also pleasantly surprised by the dinner and braai in the bushes at nightfall. I would certainly recommend this lodge to anyone looking for a nice and quiet safari experience.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank TchinB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
278 reviews
89 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 205 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2013

We were looking for a reasonably priced lodge with great game drives and excellent food. Tau certainly hit the spot. The staff were super friendly and helpful and they always went the extra mile. The food was plentiful and inventive - and there were lots of fresh vegetables with every meal. We slept really well and had great views from our room. We saw lions eating a kill, rhinos, elephants galore and buffalos, as well as giraffe, water buck, kudu and zebra. Moses our ranger was great and spent as long as we wanted at sites so we could take all the photos we wanted. We had the whole lodge to ourselves one day and on the other the lodge was full. It did not seem crowded and there were plenty of staff. We have stayed in more exclusive places in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia but this was as good if not better than those other places. We had room 20 from which we saw rhino, elephant and waterbuck right on our door. If coming again, we would choose rooms 3, 4 or 5, as they are closer to the fresh water pipe, which the elephants like to drink from.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank London_Travellers_09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tau Game Lodge

Property: Tau Game Lodge
Address: Madikwe Game Reserve 2581, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Tau Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tau Game Lodge is a 5 star Game lodge Situated in “Big 5”- Malaria Free Madikwe Reserve. Accessible by scheduled flights, or a 4 hour drive from Johannesburg. Each of the chalets ensures privacy with its own viewing deck, the main lodge offers a Curio shop, Swimming pool as well as a lounge, bar, and dining area, all partially outdoors.The convention centre offers state-of- the-Art meeting facilities. At The Spa Oasis, guests are offered rejuvenating spa treatments, surrounded by the beauty of the African Bush. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tau Game Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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