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“Stunning”

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Madikwe Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Hampshire, UK
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Stunning”
Reviewed January 21, 2011

Beautiful individual lodges in reserve. Staff and guide amazing. Food very good.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Thank AlyWilks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Lorne, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2011

Our stay at Madikwe Safari Lodge was one of the best experiences we have ever had. The lodge has a lovely outlook over the surrounding landscape and the accommodations are a superb blend of luxury and rustic African charm. The service from every single staff member was attentive and polite. Our ranger, Greg, did a great job managing to find us all of the 'big five' during our 3 night stay. This was no small effort given that we were there in the wet season. We also had a very informative game walk during the day on top of our safari drives.
I took a number of books expecting to have heaps of time between the game drives but didn't end up opening anything other than some of the reading material provided by the lodge. When we were sitting out by our plunge pool during the day the birdlife kept us amused for age and it was so easy to just doze off in the peace and tranquility.
While this lodge isn't cheap it is by no means the most expensive and I would urge those who are looking for a special once in a lifetime experience to consider the &Beyond Madikwe Safari Lodge. I'm still on a high as I write this from Johannesburg!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank storeyanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frankfurt am Main
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2010

We spent a week in the Madikwe Safari Lodge at the end of our football world cup 2010 tour in South Africa.

The Madikwe Safari Lodge is a magical place. The reserve is stunning and the accommodation was out of this world. The staff can't do enough for you and made our stay very very special.

Our car trip from Jo'burg was easy and on our way to the lodge we already saw elephants, zebras, giraffes and brown hyena!

We were welcomed at the lodge with a cool drink and hand towel. Our room was very nice with inside shower (it only had had about +5 degrees celsius in the morning :-)) and a private large terrace with lounge chairs and pool /shower.

The guys already waited for us to take us on the afternoon game drive. A special mention goes to our ranger Matt who was absolutely fantastic and very experienced. We unfortunately didn't see any hippos or leopards but they are hard to spot. Apart from that, saw a variety of birds and the rest of the Big 5 including herds of elephants, a large pride of 18 lions and rhinos (including a baby - amazing!!). The lions were so close to our jeep that we could actually hear them breathe and pant!

We would highly recommend the Madikwe Game Reserve and the Safari Lodge.
Thanks to everyone there!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Paul_the_Octopus_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen
Level 6 Contributor
209 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2010

This is a wonderful setting for a first time safari and malaria free which is a big bonus. Cheap it isn't, but the general facilities, lodges and staff are all first rate - many other contributers have given detailed accounts of what is provided. Our ranger Brett was extremely knowledgeable and went out of his way to give us a truly memorable experience. The food is outstanding and all the staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Life is very informal (first names, no dressing up for dinner). Our most memorable experiences included a lion kill, a herd of elephants appearing at a waterhole at dusk, and breakfast in the bush. Be prepared for very early mornings (getting up before 5.00am in our case) and take plenty of warm clothing for the early mornings and evenings.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Barbara41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed August 1, 2010

My partner and I recently spent 3 nights (2.5 days) at Madikwe Safari Lodge. We believe this was one of the best places we have stayed and we have both travelled a lot. The service was excellent and the charming staff (every single one of them) went out of their way to ensure that we had an enjoyable stay at Madikwe. We had rented a car in Johannesburg and drove to Madikwe, using the directions supplied to us by &Beyond. We arrived at the gate in the early afternoon. Once we were cleared at the gate, we proceeded approximately 30-40 mins to the lodge on good gravel road.. On our way to the lodge we saw zebra, impala and kudu. The directions were accurate and we had no trouble finding the lodge. We were greeted by Solomon, who gave us an overview of what to expect over the next few days. That night we joined our fellow safari travellers for a dinner in the Boma which was the beginning of many beautiful meals that were served to us during our stay. All meals and alcohol were included in the tariff and the wines we had were entirely acceptable. Before our first morning game drive our ranger, Matt gave us an orientation of what we can expect on the game drives. Matt was extremely professional and knowledgeable and was always keen to provide us with the answers to our many questions about the animals and the game reserve. We went on five game drives and saw elephants, zebra, giraffe, impala, wildebeast, steenbok, springbok, baboons, lions and many others, We even had lions roaring outside our room at night and kudu grazing in our garden. Unfortunately, the leopard alluded us as did the hyenas and wild dogs. Our room was excellent, and included a plunge pool and outside shower which we didn't use as it was winter time when we stayed. We were so sad to leave and wished we had booked in longer (next time we will). We were given a lunch pack the day we left and this was only one of many little surprises that the management and staff do for the guests to make your stay pleasant and comfortable.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank kayw49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
America
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2010

My son (10yrs old) and I traveled to South Africa in June of 2010 for the World Cup (the 7th WC we have attended). We had a 3 day break between games and decided to go for a safari. Our choices were: Kruger (too far from Jo'burg for a 3 day trip); Pilanesberg (closer to Jo’burg than Madikwe, but less "authentic") and Madikwe (4 hrs from Jo’burg through very good and safe roads)
Within Madikwe we researched several lodges, but chose Madikwe Safari lodge.

First, the reservation agents at &Beyond (yes, as in "and beyond") were very helpful and went above and beyond the call (a sign of things to come). Even offered us great discounts even though it was the World Cup (they knew we had done our homework and were prepared to not let us go with another lodge). I don’t like dealing with intermediaries, so it was nice to deal with the company that manages the lodge. Our rate was all inclusive (lodging, meals, drinks, safari rides, etc.)

We rented a car and drove to the Reserve. GPS operated continuously and it was very easy to drive. We needed the vouchers (provided via email by &Beyond) to enter the reserve. Once through the gate we drove about 45-60 min to the lodge (and by the way, saw elephants, zebras, giraffes and wildebeest from our car before even getting to the reserve)

Once at the lodge Salomon (the head of the staff for our stay) was very friendly. We were welcomed with a cool drink and hand towel (this, btw, happened after every safari drive). Our room was very nice. Inside shower (with a view from the shower to the savannah) and an outside shower, inside bath tub, 2 sinks, living room, beds, lots of windows all over. Private large terrace with lounge chairs, small pool outside.
There are 3 paper guides for you to take on safari. They have descriptions and illustrations of the common flora and fauna you are bound to encounter. You can make notes on them and keep as a souvenir. Nice touch from a company who is in the business of outdoor experiences. It shows they know their craft

The MSL is divided into three sections (my comments only apply to the section we were at, but I assume the others are similar):
- The one we were at (can’t remember if it was labeled East or West, but it has 4 independent bungalows (14-17), we were in one of them);
- The main section (bungalows 1-12)
- A "compound" designed for large families or a group of people. The equivalent of 3 bungalows (I think)

All meals were superb. Very well served. The chef asked us each meal what we would like to eat. In particular they catered to my son; he loved the French toast for beast and the ice cream he would get after dinner. The meal settings varied each time we ate:
- The night of our arrival, after the afternoon/night safari ride we ate with the group (two couples and the ranger) in an open terrace lit with torches. Great. The staff sang some old African songs for us while we ate. Very nice touch
- breakfasts were served in tables set up at the common area (big living room and a separate reading room and a separate game room all with large terraces) but the location varied each day
- Dinner was once served in our own terrace just for us

The safari rides were all we expected. Justin, our ranger, was excellent and made sure we were all tended to and engaged. He engaged with my son very much (even invited him to ride up front with him). We had tea one afternoon in the savannah and warm chocolate the next day at dawn. We saw elephants, giraffes (a group of probably 12-15 that walked right by our vehicle), 4 lions (including an amazing roaring "match" between 2 males), zebras, wildebeest, wildhog, mongoose, impalas, springboks, lots of tracks that Justin would point to and used as educational moments. We learned about the flora as well, as he explained many of the trees and bushes around the reserve. Plenty of birds 9of prey, singing, bright colors, etc, etc)

I honestly can’t tell you what was better: the lodge, the staff, the meals, the rides or our ranger. If we come back (and we definitely were left wishing to come back) we would not hesitate to go to MSL. I only which we had stayed longer (we stayed 2.5 days and went on 5 safari rides)
At all times we felt we were in a small privileged setting (which we were) and we were treated very warmly

The only part of the trip we would have liked to change were the early morning wake up calls to go out on morning safari. We woke up at 6:30 (winter, I heard that summer is even earlier) to go out on morning rides. One of those things you hate for about 15-20 minutes but then you are glad you did


Salomon, the girls and Justin were superb in their service. For our journey back we even got a goodie bag for the long drive


I read all the reviews about this lodge (and others in the reserve). The lodge is in great shape (not sure what the person that thinks the lodge is outdated had in mind. Maybe the W hotels in San Francisco or Sydney?)

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank trotamundojr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boston
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2010

Stayed at the madikwe Safari lodge second full week in April for 4 nights. The lodge itself must have been absolutely beatiful when it first opened. Maybe in the 50's or 60's (don't really know), but it looks quite dated now. Still nice, but starting to show age. The plunge pools that I was so looking forward to turned out to be freezing cold and not quite that clean (heated pools would have been a nice touch so the pools could be used)( the weather daytime was in the 70's and low 80's, but at night it cooled down to about 50's). The service was totally exeptional, everyone from the manager to the food servers to the the housekeeping staff, to the guards. Everyone tried so hard to please you with whatever foods or drinks you wanted. Example, I'm not into game food, no problem, that night they prepared a white boneless fish in the Boma fire. The inclusion of all alcoholic drinks in the price was appreciated (I only drink wine and ocassional beer). Other guests were very congenial, and fun to be in the game drives. Saw 4 of the 5 big ones (the leopard eluded us) but saw a cheetah in the dark unfortunely, but one of the pictures that I took of it showed it quite nicely. The drive guide Mark, and his assistant were quite knowledgeable, and tried so hard for us to see as many animals as possible that it became a bit tiring at the end. The charter flight from Johanesburg was quite unnervy as the pilots, although good, looked barely 15 years old (maybe older in real life, but perception is reality). Back to Johanesburg were older and much better. One observation, the guards that escort you to and from the rooms at night are not armed, thus not very reassuring should something be lurking in the dark. They should be armed in my opinion for the service to make any sense.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable safari experience in a malaria-free area.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank george01
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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