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“A little piece of heaven”

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Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A little piece of heaven”
Reviewed April 14, 2014

Makanyane is beautiful. The people... beautiful, the lodge... beautiful, the food... beautiful, the reserve... beautiful... you get the idea.
This is a truly stunning hidden gem on the Botswana border. This was our third visit to Makanyane and once again everything surpassed our expectations. For us it was like coming back to our extended family. We haven't worked out what it is about this place but it's the one place we've found in the world where we truly relax. It has everything, incredible game drives, absolutely stunning cuisine, service that is second to none and is always with a smile, the most beautiful lodges and it's own private slice of the vast Madikwe reserve. In fact we had such a good time again we're working out how to make our fourth trip next year.
We really can't speak highly enough of Makanyane, you really won't regret a visit, and we can guarantee that when it's time to go back to everyday life, you'll leave a little piece of your heart right there in Africa.

Room Tip: We've stayed in Rooms 3, 4 & 7 - they're all stunning but Room 7 is the best we've s...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Chris_Payne73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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259 reviews from our community

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English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2014

Just returned from an incredible 2 nights at Makanyane. The rooms are sublime, with a big bath and incredible private views of the river and trees. With a maximum of 16 guests, the staff ensure that they greet you by name which really makes it personal. The food is generous, creative and delicious with a fantastic house wine served with the meals. There is a spa and a gym with a treadmill too - great for getting in some exercise while away from home.
With morning and evening game drives and a very experienced ranger, Nico, we saw an incredible amount of game, right up close too!
I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

Room Tip: Wild Olive is one of the furthest from the main lodge with great views of the river
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Amyswindow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
77 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2014

As I sit here in my room for my second visit to Makanyane I feel very guilty for not writing my review the first time. You see I didn't want to write a review because I didn't want to share with you how wonderful this place is because I the next time I wanted to book it might be full. I know it’s selfish of me but when we went through Johannesburg and a number of tour operators told me that this was the best lodge in Madikwe I knew I was onto something special.
It is a small lodge with only 8 rooms (no kids either thank goodness) and it is absolute heaven. It is so peaceful and quiet. The rooms are exactly as you see them in all the photos. They are extremely well kept, very spacious, have heated floors and fireplaces for winter. And yes you can see the animals through the glass. Only yesterday I was sitting at the desk and looked up to see 2 bush buck eating grass out the window. We also sat and watched a family hippos play for around an hour right in front of our lodge (I can hear them again today) and the big male hippo was outside our room in the middle of the night.
On our first visit we saw everything we could possibly see, lions and cubs, leopard up a tree with a kill, cheetah, herds of elephants, giraffes, rhino, buffalo, etc. Actually we saw the big 5 in 24 hours.
Coming back a second time what I know is that the staff here are exceptional. We were welcomed back like long lost family. It is so wonderful to feel so welcome. And the guides are amazing (I am not going to tell you which one I had as I want him next time). The guides have all been here for nearly 10 years so that tells you how experienced they are. Unlike a number of other guides from other lodges they know every inch of the reserve and they are incredibly efficient at spotting and viewing important sites such as leopards, lions, cheetah etc (some guides from other lodges can't even find the windsock on the airstrip and I know this because I hear them on the radio continually asking for directions????) They are also very very respectful of the animals and will watch how they respond to the vehicles and will never push them beyond their comfort zone. If in doubt they always pull back.
Also there is an amazing night watchman who walks us to our room called David. I have never felt so safe walking through the night and every night when we sees a rhino, elephant or hippo in the dark he is just as excited as the first time he saw one. You will hear him say “oh my god” and go back for a second look.
And finally the food is simply outstanding. Every meal, every time.
The only thing I will say is that I ask the owners to invest a big more money in the maintenance of the vehicles and the common areas. It certainly does not distract from the experience but believe that it is a bit overdue.

Room Tip: Not telling as I know my favourite rooms as I want it when I come back
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank TLee41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1 review
Reviewed March 25, 2014

Fantasic place, way better than expected.

Elephant at the pool, in fromt of your bedroom at night, lots of game around.

Go for safari with Dylan, he is the crocodile dundee of the Makanyane. Real fun, good guy.

Also ask to sleep a night in the private hide-out in the middle of the bush, nobody around you in a circle of >10kms, except for all the animals obviously.

We will come back!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank OlivierBlom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MakanyaneSafariLodge, Director of Sales at Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 30, 2014
Many thanks for your review, Oliver.
We are so happy that you enjoyed your stay with us and look forward to seeing you both again soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2014

I had an absolutely amazing 6 night safari here in February 2014. The lodge is luxurious yet intimate with only 8 suites and the staff are very warm and welcoming.
The suites are superb, with beautiful bathrooms, outside showers, panoramic views with floor to ceiling glass and outside space too.
The game viewing was also second to none and the rangers there are the best I've ever experienced. We saw the "big 5" within 24 hours of being there - and so much more!
I also had the most unforgettable awesome experience of a bull elephant coming right up close to the river as I was swimming in their infinity pool elevated above him!
Thank you so much Makanyane for your amazing hospitality, beautiful food and brilliant rangers! I have pictures and memories to die for! We will be back soon I hope!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jonathan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MakanyaneSafariLodge, Director of Sales at Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 13, 2014
Many thanks for the kind review – it was great to meet you and we are delighted that you both enjoyed staying at the lodge.
You know where we are now, so you have no reasons at all to stay away for too long, hope to see you soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
286 reviews
82 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2014

We came here in February for three nights with friends and we had the most phenomenal experience and we would definitely come back here in a flash or recommend this lodge to other travelers. So much detail has gone in to making this lodge so beautiful in every way and you cannot fault it. You really feel that you are in Africa with the way the lodge is designed which adds to the experience when you stay here.

When we arrived at the lodge we were welcomed by the staff who gave us nice cold drinks and instantly made us feel so welcome and at home. The lodge is spectacular in terms of how it is decorated and the suite we stayed in looked out over the river and the furnishings were so lovely with a massive bed. We felt so pampered and the lodge felt so luxurious.

The food was exceptional and we had ostrich, impala and water hog and all the meals were nicely varied and nicely presented. On one of the nights we dined outside in the boma next to an open fire which was lovely.

Our game ranger was Niko and he was incredible and made it his mission for us to see as much as possible. We were so lucky and we saw cheetah, wild dog, leopard, lion and lion cubs, hyena, jackal, hippo, elephant, crocodile, rhino and so much more - we even saw a snake devouring a bird in the tree top. Niko really listened to what we wanted to see and was so attentive in every way. We went on a game drive each morning and each evening and every time we saw something different and it was magical in every way, especially as we saw some amazing sun rises and sun sets.

We had such an incredible time here and the lodge exceeded all our expectations. We would absolutely come back here and hope to return in the near future.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Biffro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MakanyaneSafariLodge, Director of Sales at Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 13, 2014
Thank you so much for your kind words, they are greatly appreciated! It is terrific that you enjoyed your stay with us and that the game viewing was so good – Nico is still talking about being able to watch the snake eating the bird, it was a very special sighting, something not seen very often at all!
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Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2014 via mobile

Madikwe reserve is rich in wildlife. But if you want 5 star service included, look no further. The rangers are friendly, very experienced and well respected in the reserve. Lodge staff and extremely friendly and accommodating. Food is delicious. Lodge location is amazing. We had elephant, hippo, giraffe and wildebeest visit the lodge.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank David B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MakanyaneSafariLodge, Director of Sales at Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge, responded to this review, February 27, 2014
Many thanks, David, your feedback is greatly appreciated.
We agree that Madikwe is a very special place and we are very happy that you liked Makanyane! We are hoping to see you both again very soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge

Property: Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge
Address: Krokodildrift, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxurious accommodation, exceptional food, welcoming service and thrilling game viewing combine to create an unforgettable safari experience at Makanyane Safari Lodge. Situated on private ground within the malaria free, "Big 5" Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa's North West Province, the lodge caters for just sixteen guests, ensuring personal attention and exclusivity. Hidden in riverside forest, the eight luxurious suites, each with glass-walled bedrooms, overlook the Marico River, offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding bush. The suites have open-fronted lounges, private sundecks and spacious bathrooms that can be opened to the forest. The lodge has an infinity-edge swimming pool, gym, health and beauty treatment centre and lookout point with magnificent views. Fine wines from the award-winning wine list complement exceptional cuisine created by the team of internationally trained chefs. Meals are enjoyed in a variety of locations, from our riverside boma to intimate private meals in the comfort of the guest's suite. Makanyane has a rustic sleep-out hide, providing guests with an opportunity to sleep under the stars surrounded only by the African wilderness. The drama, mystery and beauty of Africa's wildlife and cultural heritage can be experienced on game drives and bush walks conducted by expert, passionate field guides. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Makanyane Safari Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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