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“The warm heart of Africa”

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Madikwe Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“The warm heart of Africa”
Reviewed July 9, 2012

It is difficult to choose the best experience in Madikwe. From the moment we were greeted at the airstrip, the first glimpse of the luxury open air lounges in the bush, the "welcome home" feeling when stepping inside your room, all were very memorable experiences. The staff, and I mean all the staff, were always friendly, and best of all, alert to your needs. We saw 4 of the big 5, but also wild dogs with puppies which was unique. But it is the little touches that truly makes this place great. At night, while dinner is served, the fireplace in your room is lit, and a hot water bottle is placed in your bed. Way to go Madiwke!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank Peru_van_Niekerk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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579 reviews from our community

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Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed July 4, 2012

Stayed for 2 nites. Picked up from airstrip by Steph in the open top safari jeep. Lovely welcome at hotel, all staff introduced themselves by name, and looked after us from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. Staff were lovely.

Vaughn was our guide and he was very knowledgable with a calm and relaxing manner. What he didn't know about animal poo, doesn't need to be known!! Who knew that hyena poo was white - full of calcium!! He really went out of his way to help us find the animals, taking us to really way out paths (clearly not many other vehicles had used these paths). We didn't see buffalo or leopard but we did see elephants down by the water hole (all 75 of them...amazing). Even Vaughn hadn't seen that many. Lions feeding on a wilder beast, giraffe and zebras hanging out together, white rhinos and lots more. Cold as the preverbal as we went at the coldest week of the year, but we had hot water bottles and blankets to keep warm.

Hotel laid out rose petals around champagne on ice after our dinner and ran the bath - fabulous. They also ensured we had hot water bottles in the bed and the fire nicely going.

The only let down was the food. Lunch quite nice, breakfast ok but the dinner was not great...my lamb rack was raw. In fairness, the GM was very apologetic and I am sure by now it will be very clear to the kitchen that this can't happen again, so expect well cooked lamb when you visit. The menu choice was poor...in fairness we were the only couple at the lodge that night, but I was looking forward to some 'local' food.

The BOMA on the first night was pretty fun (more people at the lodge that night) and we were joined by Vaughn. Great fires to keep warm, hot water bottles and blankets on the seats, wine good, service top notch. The food was good BBQ quality.

Had a massage in our room next to the open fire - pretty good.

Every time we walked along the path to our room in the dark, we were accompanied by a guard..assume to keep an eye on the animals that roam freely around the lodge. Don't want to be lion dinner!

5 star in all aspects except the food, which was a little disappointing. Vaughn- hope your visit to Pretoria was successful!!!!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank AlexMove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Delhi, India
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 3, 2012

We spent 2 nights 21-23 June. We enjoyed 4 game drives and our Ranger ERNST was very good. He made all efforts to enable us to enjoy our drives. We saw 4 out the big 5, except for Leopard. Lodge staff was very nice and always willing to cater to your requests. On our request, they arranged Bon-Fire on 20th evening, which all the guests enjoyed very much. Would easily recommend anyone to stay there.

Room Tip: All rooms are well located
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank dinesh2403
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai
Level 6 Contributor
69 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed June 16, 2012

As a frequent traveler to south Africa , so far been to madikwe game reserve three times to different lodges that were excellent , Madikwe safari lodge was among the best I visited, each game drive was professionally handled by our ranger Stephanie who made sure I get the best shots of animals.
sad, no more cheetahs at Madikwe reserves, hope they introduce them soon as this will make madikwe the best safari option not very far from Jhb.

only one thing didn't like about the room is the bathtub is located outside the bathroom , no privacy if you were traveling with a friend,

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Khalil A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2012

Watching two lionesses trying to hunt down an Impala was an awe inspiring experience at the Madikwe Safari lodge.. The lodge itself has excellent service, courteous staff and neat rooms. The rooms are a bit small but you are on a safari for almost 7-8 hours a day so you don't have too much time to spend in the room anyways.

It was a bit of a problem for the vegiterians as the chef could only muster pasta on most meals.. The evening entertainment was excellent too..

Would love to be back to Madikwe Safari lodge

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank arsenal789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2012

We absolutely loved our 4 night stay at Madikwe, so much so that I actually shed a tear as we left - this really is a special place. The lodge is beautiful - very luxurious but in a subtle way - it uses all natural materials which looks great, and it's carefully designed to blend into rather than stand out from the landscape, so you hardly see it until you arrive at the entrance - I loved that. Our room was its own little house - curvy mud brick walls and thatched roof, lovely decor inside, huge comfy bed and sofas, and best of all, a totally private timber deck with our own small plunge pool and outdoor shower - we actually spent most of our days here with no clothes on as there is no way anyone else, guests or staff, can see you in your lodge - where else can you do that?!

We also really appreciated the option to stay in the child-free part of the lodge to really make sure we had some much needed peace and quiet, but I think one of the other parts allows kids, so check when you book.

The food is very good (although be warned there is a lot of it - you will pile on the kilos here!!) We especially loved having lunch on the upper deck of the restaurant - looking out at the elephants wandering across the plains while we ate was pretty cool!

The staff at Madikwe are really lovely - always friendly and helpful and just charming. Also, for any LGBT travellers out there, we're a lesbian couple and this absolutely did not phase anyone at Madikwe - so bonus points for that :-)

But lovely as the lodge is, the best thing about a stay here is of course the safaris and these really exceeded our expectations. There are two per day, one early in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening - both go for several hours. Each of the three parts to the lodge has its own ranger (ours was Greg who was great) and its own vehicle, and this meant there were never more than 7 people in our vehicle - and often only 4. This made for a very personalised experience. We saw so many animals it was unbelievable, the 'big 5', some rare African wild dogs and many, many more. But even when we were not looking at animals, just driving through this incredible landscape in an open vehicle was lovely - the scenery is really breathtaking. Not to mention stopping for coffee and muffins at dawn, or a gin and tonic from the makeshift bar at the back of the vehicle while we watched the sunset - magic!
Some tips - be prepared for early mornings! And know that between the morning and afternoon safari you will be whiling away time at your lodge, we loved this - it was fantastic downtime in a completely zen location (and we also used it for afternoon naps to make up for the early start) but you probably want to make sure you take lots of books etc too to fill the time.

I did lots of research before choosing Madikwe and we couldn't have been happier with our choice. Yes it's expensive, but given that it is all inclusive - unique luxury accommodation in a remote area, with heaps of great food and alcohol, and many hours of small group safaris with highly qualified guides it really is reasonable. We would certainly go back if I was ever lucky enough to have the chance, and I would not hesitate to recommend this place to anyone. This trip will live in our memories for ever.

*My only complaint concerns the booking system - it is run by a centralised agency so this comment does not in any way reflect on the staff of the lodge. But trying to make a booking through this agency 'More Hotels' (which is where you are directed from the lodge website) was a complete nightmare - they stuffed it up so many times (wrong dates, wrong cost, booked the wrong flights etc etc) and made so many mistakes that I ended up contacting the lodge directly to complain and sort it out. As soon as someone from the lodge stepped in it was sorted out immediately and with great apology. So I suggest you check your booking carefully, and do the same if you have any issues. But I also urge the lodge to review their relationship with this booking agency as the trouble I was having nearly made me give up and book somewhere else. (Of course I'm very glad I didn't!)

Room Tip: There are three separate parts to this lodge, each with their own ranger and vehicle and their own d...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Emma_and_Sarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andy P, CEO at Madikwe Safari Lodge, responded to this review, May 31, 2012
Dear Emma and Sarah

Thanks so much for the review and there is nothing more inspiring for myself and the team to read when the experience exceeds all expectations. Thank you for the time in detailing it all and know that all the staff at the Lodge read the reviews and it goes a very long way to bettering the experience and keeping everyone so passionate about what we do.

On the comment about More Hotels I am embarrassed to say that we are all the same team and even more embarrassing is that Kate, your initial res consultant, sits a few feet from myself. Claudine, whom you eventually also landed up working with also sits next to me and I am glad that she managed to get things sorted out for you. I don’t really have any excuse only that it is something we are going to work through internally as this is not normal practice.

Thanks again for taking the time to send us your feedback and I hope that when you do book your return trip that it is a fast, efficient, professional & personal process.

Kind Regards and must admit I am very jealous of you living in such an incredible city as Sydney.

Robert More
CEO
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2012

I just wanted to say how impressed we were with your staff, especially Vaughn (sp?) and Barbara.

Barbara went out of her way to make us feel welcome and also to ensure that we had everything we wanted. She made it clear that no request was too much to see to, even ensuring that I had my camomile tea to drink on the morning game drives. She also found out information for me regarding your lodge's decor. Fantastic lady!

Vaughn (sorry I don't know the correct spelling of his name) was superb. He is by far the best ranger/guide Eric and I have ever had. His passion for the bush shines through, which in turn makes his audience see it through his eyes, not in a casual tourist way. His willingness and ability to share knowledge made the whole safari experience special. He is like a sponge with his knowledge - it seemed as if there was little he didn't know. He even taught us a bit of astronomy using folklore. I think you are very lucky to have him! Billy was also great and we learnt a lot from him too. It was really brought home to us just how good they both were when we went to another lodge and had an extremely disinterested ranger taking us around. In addition, he didn't know nearly as much as Vaughn and Billy.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you and your staff for a relaxing and happy time. Your lodge is a place I would definitely recommend. I hope to come again in the not too distant future.

Kind regards
Sue Kobal

Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Eric K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Madikwe Safari Lodge

Property: Madikwe Safari Lodge
Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Madikwe Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The rich red timbres of the African earth are reflected in the warm tones of Madikwe Safari Lodge. Cradled between rolling hills, overlooking game-filled plains intersected by the Marico River and framed by the Dwarsberg Hills, just 20 suites are clustered in three intimate camps. With circular fireplaces at the heart of every suite, and big glass doors to blur the boundary between inside and out, Madikwe embodies the warm, bold heart of this spectacularly rugged corner of Africa. Spacious wooden decks embrace inviting plunge pools, and book-filled shelves in quiet corners entice and captivate, while large pizza ovens add a fun twist to meal times. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Madikwe Safari Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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