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Madikwe Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 27, 2013

If you are looking for nice accomodations, great wildlife viewing, and friendly staff, Madikwe is the place. This was a perfect way to take our first safari. We booked a wonderful combo cape town / madikwe package with lion tours on a whim (travelzoo top 20 deal). Everything from the charter flight in to the game drives was first rate. The rooms are spacious with lots of nice little touches like the outdoor shower. The food was outstanding. And our game drives blew us away (special thanks to our guide, JP). We saw the big 5, learned a lot on the way, and met some outstanding people. Thanks Madikwe for an outstanding intro to Africa.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank travelwizard72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 19, 2013

It was my first experience on a safari and I loved it! Great and friendly service, good food, excellent ranger. Unfortunately I did not see the big five, but only the "big three" since we did not find the buffalos northe leopards, but I saw many animals and I left the lodge very happy after 4 nights. The cabins are very comfortable and the safety is total. Thanks to my guide Jacques, to Moses and Lebo. Also thanks to Go2Africa who organized everything for me, through the travel agent Leanne Rodney. I recommend!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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Thank JorgeBRA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2013

What an experience. The accommodations are first rate. Every single member of the staff seemed genuinely pleased to have us there. We stayed three nights. By the time we went to dinner the first evening, everyone knew our name. Our little cottage was fantastic. A cozy bedroom, a little sitting area, a marvelous bath room, a nifty little plunge pool on the deck (too chilly to use while we were there, but nice eye candy). The first afternoon, before we had even unpacked, we sat and watched herd of 30 elephants walk right past our deck - 40 meters away.
We flew into the reserve on a small charter plane. Turns out the ten people on the plane were all from the U.S. and we were formed into a group for meals and the incredible game drives.
As we stepped off the plane, we spotted a giraffe coming out of the bush. And then we met J.P.!!!!
J.P. was our ranger for six unbelievable game drives. While everything was wonderful, J.P. was the best thing about the whole experience. He has a passion for the African bush and the animals on the reserve that is genuine. He truly loves his job and infuses his guests with that same passion. He's fun and funny too. He made sure we saw the "big five" (Elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo, leopard and lion), but went so much further. e's one of thos people that my wife and I (and the other four couples in our group) will NEVER forget.
If you're thinking of a safari, Madikwe Safari Lodge is just the one to choose.
The Madikwe reserve is one of the largest in South Africa. Yet it is far less crowded and far less commercialized than the big famous one.
You'll see more game than you expected. You'll eat better food than you expected. You'll get better service than you expected. You might even get to lie in bed one night and hear the territorial roar of a big male lion just a few meters away. We did..

Room Tip: Don't sweat it. You'll get a great one with a fabulous view anywhere in the lodge. If you do...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Lynpeachtree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2013

We spent 3 nights at Madikwe Safari Lodge with our 3 kids and had the best bush experience ever (knowing it is not the first one as we have lived almost 3 years in South Africa).

First the reserve itself is very diverse, with nice and different landscapes. It is big enough not to see the fences and conveniently located at 4hours drive from JNB.

The lodge (we stayed in Lelaba) is superb, located on a small hill. It has recently been redecorated it looks very nice. Rooms are fantastic, private, large with a huge bed, a big open bathroom and a private large deck with pool.The service is top of the range : warm towels after the game drive, meals, drinks, management of kids. We had a great time with our ranger André, very skilled and sharp but also people oriented and very nice and patient with our kids. André made a point not only to see the animals but to live the experience, like spending time with male impalas fighting or a very close encounter (a few feet !) with some elephants.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank benjinho13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

We stayed at Madikwe Safari Lodge for 3 nights. There are 3 lodges there -- Lelapa, Kopano, and Dithaba. We stayed at Lelapa Lodge. Even though it is a family lodge, our room was quite a ways away from the family rooms, and was very quiet and private. To reach Madikwe from Sun City, you have to travel over about 30 KM of dirt roads, some of which were like a washboard, before you reach the game reserve. And pay attention to the directions at the gate, as to how to get to Madikwe Safari Lodge, as there are no signs for it, until you get close. (We didn't, and had to stop at an administration building to get directions).

The room was huge, more of a suite, with a bedroom area (including a wood-burning fireplace, which we used for ambiance), a sitting area, a large bathroom area with indoor shower, a large bathtub, 2 sinks and a separate toilet. There were double doors there (one of 3 sets of double doors to the patio) leading to the outdoor shower. There was no TV in the room, but it wasn't missed at all. We didn't have wifi there, but used the computer terminal in the gift shop.

The real highlight of the room was the large patio, extending the length of the building (each room in our section was in it's own building). There was a plunge pool, 2 lounge chairs, a table and chairs, in addition to the outdoor shower. The view was out over the bush. The whole set up was very private and you could go nude there. We spent a lot of time on this patio, even ordering room service lunch a couple of times.

The one drawback to the room was that there were cracks under the doors which allowed insects into the room. It was not a problem, as being in the bush, you kind of expect insects, and we saw a few. They didn't bother us. (There were no mosquitos). We didn't even bother using the insect spray in the room to spray around the doors.

The game drives were terrific, and our driver/ranger, Kevin was incredibly knowledgeable about the animals, birds, flora, and all sorts of other topics (even insects), that we learned an incredible lot. We were lucky in that he was also driving a VIP from another game reserve around, so he was trying really hard to find animals. We went on many roads that hadn't been traveled in quite a while. When things got slow, any question would be greeted with a great explanation (example - Why are there termite mounds in places where there are no trees?)

Our vehicle had no top, but the weather was great, and we all wore hats, so the sun wasn't a problem. Being summer, the temperatures were quite pleasant, and even getting up at 5 AM every morning wasn't that bad. We would get out of the vehicle for the morning coffee break, or the evening cocktails. Sometimes we would get out to look closer at whatever it was -- army ants on one occasion.

Kevin could look up a bird in a bird book while also driving on a twisty dirt road. Quite impressive. And once we got close enough to a young bull elephant that he trumpeted at us, and we got out of there pronto! Another time, Kevin alertly noticed that the herd of elephants we were watching as they came out of the bush, were starting to surround us, and he got us out of there quickly, too. Kevin was quite a photographer, also, so he was always trying to get us into a good position to take good pictures. He even got out to take some himself (of interesting trees).

Of course, Madikwe is known for the wild dogs there, and we were lucky to see a pack of about 20 of them. Since they are mainly silent, it was interesting watching them all listening to the domestic dogs we could hear barking in the distance.

The food at Madikwe was good and we enjoyed all our meals there (served by our private butler). That was where we had most contact with the kids that were there, but they were pretty well behaved. The bar was quite popular. And when we were escorted back to our room after dark one night, the man pointed out a scorpion on the pathway, before he chased it off.

The Eco lodge was interesting, and I heard a good lecture on skulls and bones there, from Andre.

We would definitely go back to this lodge.

Room Tip: We were in room 8, and liked it very much.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Hedo-goer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2013

Madikwe Safari Lodge was a dream come true from the moment we arrived. We landed on the landing strip and were greeted by giraffes and impalas. Once at the lodge we were given warmly welcomed with washclothes to clean off the dust from the ride in the safari jeep, and a cold drink. The individual lodges where we stayed were absolutely beautiful: large french doors opened onto the reserve, we had and indoor and outdoor showers, and private plunge pool. The game drives were just spectacular beyond description: we came upon herds of elephants, zebra, impala,kudu, warthog, lions, rhinos. Our safari guide was excellent and taught us so much. We were able to see many baby animals as well, which was an extra treat. The afternoon gamedrives were amazing and lasted past sunset when we tracked animals by spotlight. The highlight of the trip was a "surprise" dinner in the middle of the game reserve complete with tables set with linens, fine china and lit by lanterns and the stars. We were treated to a delicious meal and native dancing and singing. I was so sad to leave Madikwe. I will definitely return.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Megan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2013

We have been to quite a few game lodges, and since there is so much to see and so little time, we really do not go to the same place twice. With the notable exception of the Madikwe Safari Lodge, more exactly the Lelapa Lodge. Madikwe is a huge place (SA's #2 game reserve in terms of size, I understand), and you need a really good ranger if you want to see the rarer species. At the Madikwe Safari Lodge, the rangers are very good. Kenny, for example, does not talk much, but he sure knows how to read tracks and how to find the kind of animal you want to see (in our case, cheetahs and wild dogs).

The lodge itself is particularly attractive when you're a family of three - you can stay in one of the huts with three persons, still enjoy some privacy and, best of all, you will only be charged for one hut.

The rooms are immaculate and well equipped (no TVs, obviously, and no WLAN), service is attentive, if not always efficient. When serving food, there are a few insecurities (do we serve the wine with the soup? will we let it on the table?), but overall, the waitrons are doing a wonderful job. Food is good, would rank 7 on a scale to 10 when compared to other game lodges.

The lodge is almost ideally located within the reserve, lots of big game in the neighbourhood. From Pretoria or Jo'burg, you'll need around four hours when entering through the Molatedi Gate (to get there, you'll have approximately 25 kms on gravel, but nothing difficult).

Room Tip: Lelapa lodge is the family place. Huts for couples are separate from family huts, though, so no nois...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Akka J
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

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: $876 - $1,357 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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