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“Don't think twice..JUST GO!!”
Review of Thakadu River Camp

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Thakadu River Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 28, 2014

This vacation was one that we kept putting off. We were waiting for our children to get to a certain age and I can't believe we waited so long! Our girls are 8 & 12 and we all had the best trip ever!! We arrived in December late in the evening. We were greeted by Wayne, the camp manager, and all of the staff. Even though we arrived around 9:30pm, they held dinner for us and still served us a 3 course meal. It was just what we needed!! The next morning when we woke up we realized not only did we not have a television in the room, but we didn't have internet in our tent either. I thought this would be a disaster for the children but low and behold it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We made so many memories together as a family that had we had those amenities, we would not have made. The food was AMAZING, the staff absolutely brilliant and our game driver, Tolou (sorry about the spelling) was also one in a million. During our game drives, Tolou made sure that we saw everything we wanted to see plus a whole bunch of stuff we didn't even realize that we wanted to see. Everything about this vacation was top notch. My advice to anyone who reads this is...Don't think twice about it...JUST GO!! Thank you to all of those who made our stay at Thakadu River Camp one of the most memorable vacations ever!

Room Tip: We stayed in tent # 12 (the last one on the campsite) and it was AMAZING! Felt like we were the only...
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank teampaladino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne H, General Manager at Thakadu River Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2014

Greetings from your special place in the African bush,

We are very happy to receive your review on TripAdvisor and to learn that you enjoyed your experience with us to such an extent. The Thakadu River Camp team really enjoyed hosting your family and we are most rewarded to receive your positive feedback.
I am happy that the lack of contact with the rest of the world enabled you to enjoy more of a wholesome experience with the family, it is always a privilege to be able to get away from it all.
I have passed your compliments on to your Guide Tsholo who remembers your family well. Tsholo not only is a gem of a Guide but a lovely character as well.
We look most forward to welcoming you back in camp as one of our special return guests.

Gratefully,

Wayne Herholdt
General Manager
Thakadu River Camp

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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212 - 218 of 345 reviews

Reviewed January 20, 2014

Game viewing during our 4 night stay was phenomenal. Highlights were seeing a herd of elephant (we counted 29 in total) ambling past the lodge on the track and then bathing in the river, also a pack of wild dog right next to our vehicle. Our guide Obi was fantastic and our children really enjoyed all the game drives with him.
The staff were very helpful and accommodating although the facilities were a little limited and apart from the game drives, there was not a huge amount else on offer. A few reference books on wildlife would have been welcome.
This is definitely a place for game enthusiasts rather than holidaymakers looking for luxury and lots of activities. The food was great throughout our stay.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Gillian T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne H, General Manager at Thakadu River Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2014

Thank you kindly for taking the time to post a review on your safari experience with us at Thakadu River Camp.
The Madikwe Game Reserve does offer wonderful animal sightings and we are happy that you and the children enjoyed your activities with your Guide OB and the encounters with the herd of Elephant and Wild Dogs.
Thank you kindly for you suggestion of reference books, that is definitely something that we will look into.

We look forward to welcoming you and the family back to as one of our return guests…

Gratefully,

Wayne Herholdt
General Manager
Thakadu River Camp

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2014

The Thakadu River Camp is the place to be for real safari and animal lovers. The tents are well-equipped with a most comfortable king size bed, shower and bathtub, separate toilet, a couch, air condition and a big balcony with a stunning jungle/river view. You don't really need to go on the game drives to see animals as you'll always find surprises in the river bed and surrounding areas. The camp has a beautiful pool deck with a perfect view over the river. Hornbills, bushhbucks, monkeys as well as huge herds of elephants, buffalos, waterbucks and other animals are always around. The sound of the bush will be the only sound you will hear during the night - perfect atmosphere!

There are two game drives per day. One starts at about 5:30h in the morning, the afternoon drive starts at about 16:00h (in summer). The duration varies between 3 and 4 hours depending on what you see. Be sure that you will see a lot of animals and also very close to the vehicle as the guides will go offroad where allowed. Being as close as three meters to a roaring lion will give you creeps!

Thanks to our guide Obakeng, we had amazing safari sightings on every game drive. And thanks to the whole Thakadu staff for an unforgettable experience! We hope to be back soon.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank 747boeing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne H, General Manager at Thakadu River Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2014

Greetings from the Madikwe Game Reserve,

Thank you kindly for posting your review on TripAdvisor. We are happy to note, from your ratings and comments, that you enjoyed your safari and camp experience with us.
I will try and make sure that our comical Hornbills are at the dining area to welcome you on your return. The monkeys, well of course, being as naughty as they are, they will definitely welcome you back.

We enjoyed hosting you while you were with us, Thakadu River Camp awaits your return…

Gratefully,

Wayne Herholdt
General Manager
Thakadu River Camp

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2014

So I don't know about you, but I had varying images of what we would experience on safari. First, I imagined that each day we would set out in jeeps early morning and evening to catch sight of animals. Check. I imagined tented rooms that would be set amongst the trees. Check. I imagined a cacophony of sounds day and night from the local wildlife. Check.

Safari was all this and so much more. Herds of elephants passed within 50 feet of our jeep. We parked within 20 feet of satiated lions and cheetahs after the morning hunt and kill. We had tea and snacks in a field with wildebeest, impala, and graceful giraffes close by. We slowly drove past rhinos as they watched us watching them. Large groups of zebras munching on grass with jackals, steenboks, waterboks, and bushboks formed small wandering bands of cooperative protectorates became familiar sights. Baboons, Mongoose, warthogs, and the ever enterprising dung beetles rolling along with scores of varieties of birds soaring, singing, and hopping greeted us morning and evening. And then there was the magnificent starry night sky.

Mandikwe is a private game preserve occupying 760 sq km (180,000+ acres) with the big 5 (we saw all but the elusive leopard). The park, as it is called, has a wide variety of vegetation and hugs the Botswana border and the Limpopo province. Thakadu is an inviting bush camp lodge with spacious air conditioned (a must) luxury texts. The staff was welcoming, the food delicious, and our safari guide was knowledgeable and accommodating.

We enjoyed every moment of our stay and adventure at Thakadu River Camp.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Wanderlust2travlers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne H, Manager at Thakadu River Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2014

Greetings from the family of staff at Thakadu River Camp,

We were literally thrilled to receive your posting on TripAdvisor and are most rewarded to learn that you enjoyed your experience to such an extent. This inspires us to achieve the objectives that we have set as a team in order to offer you as our guests a wonderful experience out here in this most special part of the Madikwe Game Reserve. We are happy to note that you experienced even more than you imagined the safari experience to offer and that you managed to see all that was around you, not only focusing on the big 5, but also the smaller fauna and flora down to the fascinating Dung Beetles.
Accommodation in our luxury air conditioned tents does enhance your bush experience as you are so much closer to the night sounds and offers a true safari atmosphere.
It was a pleasure you host you at Thakadu River Camp and we hope for you to return.

Kindly,

Wayne Herholdt
General Manager
Thakadu River Camp

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Reviewed January 10, 2014

Thakadu River Camp is a lovely bush lodge with only 12 semi-luxury tents, so even with full occupancy (24 guests) it has very familiar and personal ambience. The whole staff team is doing an outstanding job and we are looking back to 7 nights with big smiles, perfect service and delicious food. Thakadu with its manager Wayne perfectly balances a cozy luxury accomodation on the one hand with a real African bush experience on the other hand.

The spacious tents are fully air-conditioned so even in the hot summer months it never feels uncomfortable at night. All tents come with a private bathroom, shower cabin, bathtub and two sinks as well as nice double bed (with mosquito nets), a sofa and a huge balcony overlooking the river. You always feel and hear the magic of the bush but keep well pampered with everything you need. The days start with a coffee and tea bar before the game drives (wake up call at 05:00 am) and a full brunch breakfast with eggs on order afterwards around 09:00am. Lunch is served as a light buffet with various salads, veggies and meet. In the afternoon there is another service with coffee, cakes and refreshments before heading our for the second daily game drive. And in the evening you will be served an outstanding 3 course dinner. The food is finger-licking good and really unsurpassable.

When it comes to the game drives Thakadu River Camp even manages to put your stay to a level that feels like out of this world. All three ranger guides are doing a great job with Obakeng ("Obi") being aware of every little detail and all the wonderful facts about Madikwe and the African bush. Although he is quite young around his 30s, he comes with an eight years experience in the reserve and a pleasant, dedicated kind of sharing his knowledge.

Every single game drive was a different experience with memorable sightings. Try to stay at least 3 or 4 nights to get a good impression or otherwise please do not come just to check off your bucket list. Yes, we have seen the big five and even cheetahs and the endangered wild dogs - but it's not about rushing through the bush and ticking lists. We actually enjoyed just to watch the behaviour of the Impalas, a herd of elephants playing in the river or Zebras taking care of their offspring. The open game drive vehicles are well-maintained and comfortable for 10 pax each, you will also step out to have a lovely sunset cocktail in the bush.

It's hard to write down the whole experience with a few words, so I highly recommend to experience the Thakadu River Camp yourself. I'm pretty sure you will enjoy every single second!

Room Tip: Tent numbers are ongoing with the distance from the main lodge and restaurant. So tent #1 is just a...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank masterffm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne H, General Manager at Thakadu River Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2014

Thakadu River Camp is most complimented by your comments, ratings and kind words. It is most kind of you to post your review on TripAdvisor and to describe the camp and your experience in such great detail.
I am happy that the friendly hospitality of Thakadu River Camp and the variety of the bush experience captured your hearts to such an extent.
You arrived at camp as guests for a two week visit and you left as friends and part of the Thakadu family. You weren’t finally put in the kitchen scullery department to help on busy nights but you were almost put on duty on game drives as the secondary game spotter.
Whilst drafting this response to your posting, I heard the Natal Francolins calling outside at the river bed. I quickly went outside to see if I could spot something interesting from the pool deck and there was a Spotted Hyena drinking from the Marico River. Such a wonderful sighting. I thought of you both and how much you would have loved to see that.

It really was a pleasure to host the two of you and we will keep your padlock in place where you left it as a remembrance for your return.

Warmest regards from your family of staff at Thakadu River Camp,

Wayne Herholdt
General Manager
Thakadu River Camp

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 24, 2013

We have just returned from a wonderful three nights at Thakadu. We will make it longer next time! The service was outstanding- friendly, attentive, personal and always responsive and speedy. The staff are so well trained and a pleasure to meet. The food was uniformly good and well presented, and the rooms well air-conditioned, luxurious and immacutaletly kept. We cannot rave enough about Patience, our superb ranger, who was exceptionally knowledgeable, fun to be with and incredible at spotting game. We saw amazing wild dogs, lion, rhino, cheetah and elephants. Only the leopards eluded us! We would recommend a stay at Thakadu without reservation. We loved being in a tent near the main lodge, so ask if you can for 1, 2 or 3- and definitely request Patience! She is a gem. Well done to a great team at Thakadu.

Room Tip: We loved being in Tent 1- ask for a tent near the main lodge.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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Thank LesleyG5566
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne H, Manager at Thakadu River Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 9, 2014

Good morning to our Capetonians,

Thank you kindly for submitting your views on TripAdvisor and for your complimentary words. A positive review like yours is truly rewarding for all the staff at Thakadu River Camp. We are so very happy that you enjoyed your experience to such an extent and look forward to your return.
A short report to whet your appetite for a future visit: The Leopard that eluded you presented itself on yesterday afternoon’s game drive - our guests enjoyed a wonderful prolonged sighting where this mature Leopard climbed up a dead Leadwood and on finding a comfortable vantage point, lay down with legs spread either side of the branch with a clear blue sky as a background. It made for wonderful photos, even for small cameras, the sighting being so close.
The morning prior to that, guests had the fantastic privilege of sighting an Aardvark (Thakadu) on the morning game drive. A privileged sighting indeed and only 10 minutes from camp. As you well know, there is always something interesting going on during game drives in the Madikwe. The breeding herds of Elephant have been coming down daily to bathe in the pool in front of camp.

Wishing you and yours all the very best for 2014.

Gratefully,

Wayne Herholdt
General Manager
Thakadu River Camp

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Reviewed December 18, 2013 via mobile

We just got back from a 3 night stay and absolutely loved it. Brilliant game drives, beautiful setting, warm hospitality and lots of great memories. Traveling as a big group of 11 that included 5 children, our every comfort was met by the staff and the manager, including getting a car tyre puncture fixed!
It was our first time at the Thakadu River Camp and there definitely will be more to come.

Stayed: December 2013
Thank PriyaChathleyMAX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wayne H, Manager at Thakadu River Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 9, 2014

Thank you kindly for taking the time to post your positive review on TripAdvisor. We are happy to note that you enjoyed your experience with us to such an extent and that we can look forward to welcoming you back to your special hideaway in the Madikwe Game Reserve.
We thoroughly enjoyed hosting you and your family group at Thakadu River Camp.

Wishing you a wonderful 2014 further…

Gratefully,

Wayne Herholdt
General Manager
Thakadu River Camp

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thakadu River Camp

Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range: $406 - $546 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Thakadu River Camp 5*
Number of rooms: 8
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Also Known As:
Thakadu River Camp Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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