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.
- 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