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“Great safari”

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Motswiri Private Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Berkshire, England
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great safari”
Reviewed February 3, 2014

We spent 3 nights at Motswiri and had a wonderful experience. The staff were polite, very welcoming and nothing was too much trouble. The accommodation was excellent as was the food and attention to detail to make guests feel very special. The guide was very knowledgable and we were fortunate to see a large variety of game. Would highly recommend this lodge and with a 4 hour drive from Johannesburg it is easy to get to.

Room Tip: We had honeymoon suite but all rooms equally good
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Safari75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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147 reviews from our community

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English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2014

Motswiri is a lovely full service lodge, intimate with great service while still being relaxed. On our last two visits, however, we tried out the self catering option and really loved it:
- the unit sleeps 6 in 3 rooms with a lounge and dining area and a small well equipped kitchen
- the rooms are smaller than the main lodge but are still comfortable with luxurious bathrooms and outside showers
- there is a private boma/braai area and plunge pool
- there is a good chance of having a game vehicle to yourself
- service is excellent - you never need to wash a dish or light a fire yourself

All in all, it's a wonderful way to combine the luxury, private lodge experience with a more casual relaxed self catering option, and of course works out quite a bit cheaper.

Special mention goes to the ranger staff, we have only had good experiences at Motswiri. Of course it helped that this time we saw a group of cheetahs hunt and kill a zebra!!

Highly recommended (whether you opt for full service or self catered)

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank MakiGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2014

Motswiri was lovely. Our guide, Werner, was extremely knowledgeable about the animals and respectful of the bush. We've done hundreds of drives and learned lots from him. He provided a nice balance of "general game" sightings and spectacular sightings (elephants chasing wild dog around a dam). Pool and facilities were very nice and the food was excellent.

Room Tip: Room 1 seemed much bigger than room 2. Neither of those had a good view of the waterhole, but were...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Virignia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2014

Motswiri Private Safari Lodge is the perfect place to unplug and reconnect!

Our family just completed a five-day stay at Motswiri. We are experienced safari goers, having been on numerous game drives in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Madikwe As we are spread out all over the world, we were looking for a quiet, malaria free zone (safe for pregnancy) close to Gaborone, Botswana, with good game viewing. Motswiri exceeded our expectations in every way! We arrived after a major rainfall…MAJOR….which finally had filled the reservoirs! The animal viewing was plentiful. The food was great. The staff were gracious and humorous, helping us through our small family foibles and fears (snakes). Lodge manager and park ranger Zede is exceptional, racing all over the park to catch sightings of the big five, and very quickly tuning in to our family dynamic, humor and sensitivities. Geraldine was terrific, knowledgeable, and very accommodating. They aim to please and they do not miss the mark! The staff and management are very responsive and hard working. Great, Great, GREAT experience!

Childcare, alcohol and beverages were the only additional charges and were very reasonably priced. My only recommendation is that the beverage policy be explicit, as this does seem to vary from lodge to lodge.

We have been to several lodges in several different countries, and most heartily recommend Motswiri. A terrific experience!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank capecodrev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunnyvale, California
Level 6 Contributor
57 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed November 27, 2013

I recently stayed at Motswiri after deciding that I wanted to go back to South Africa to finish seeing the rest of it. During my first visit to South Africa two years ago, I was disappointed that I only saw two of the Big Five at Kololo and Welgevonden---rhinos and elephants---but not leopards, buffalo, or lions.

This time, I selected Madikwe because it was (1) malaria-free like Welgevonden; (2) not Welgevonden (that is, a different reserve in a different part of the country); (3) within driving distance of Johannesburg (barely); (4) had a reputation as a good place to see the Big Five as well as African wild dogs; and (5) was previously visited by Michelle Obama and her daughters, who reportedly enjoyed their visit. The White House is well-known for overplanning everything because of all the demands on the First Family's time as well as security reasons. If they had selected Madikwe out of all the game reserves in South Africa, I figured it had to be good.

The next task was selecting a lodge. I eventually picked Motswiri because it appeared to have the right balance of amenities versus price---that is, a lodge with private enclosed suites and a central pool big enough to swim in (as opposed to other lodges which feature "plunge pools" for each suite which are barely big enough to sit in). I knew I didn't want to splurge on a super-luxurious high-end lodge (e.g., Madikwe Hills), but I also didn't want to "rough it" and stay in a tent either (e.g., Thakadu River Camp).

Motswiri turned out to be all that I envisioned and more---excellent facilities, food, and service. Food and service were a entirely different level above Kololo, although to be fair, Motswiri costs a LOT more than Kololo. The staff were friendly, attentive, and sensitive to guests' needs.

The guide, Zede, was friendly and professional, and worked really hard to find the Big Five for us. Besides the Big Five (lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant, and leopard), I was happy to also see wild dogs, ostrich, stork, impala, wildebeest, red hartebeest, cheetah, zebra, steenbok, and giraffe (just to name a few).

Also, I went swimming in the pool during my stay. Other than the fact it was a bit on the cold side (because the weather was cold that week), the pool was fine, and I was glad to get some exercise done on vacation.

Of course, we all read TripAdvisor for the downsides which you can't get on the official Web sites of hotels or other hospitality operators.

There are only two big downsides I can think of. First, the company Motswiri uses for online bookings is a bit disorganized. After I noticed that they hadn't charged my credit card even though I had received an immediate automatic email confirmation and several weeks had gone by, I contacted them directly. It turns out their Web site hadn't properly forwarded my credit card information to them! Eventually we got that cleared up and they were able to charge my card well in advance of my visit.

The other major downside I can think of is not specific to Motswiri and is actually shared by all Madikwe lodges: namely, Madikwe is really far from Johannesburg. It turns out that several of the guests staying at Motswiri had come in on one-hour charter flights out of OR Tambo, rather than risk dealing with the wild four-hour drive (and that's only one way) from OR Tambo.

More than half the route to Madikwe is on a two-lane portion of the N4 National Route (also known as the Platinum Highway). It's kind of hard to explain to people from First World countries how South Africans drive on two-lane National Routes. You have to see it to believe it.

I had decided to drive the N4 in order to see the "real" South Africa between Madikwe and Gauteng. However, much of the North West Province which the N4 passes through consists of flat or gently rolling terrain. It is not that scenic and in retrospect, not worth the time or risk or stress. If you fly, you're not missing much, and you can always get the details of the boring terrain you just skipped by looking at Google Street View. (By way of contrast, Kololo and Welgevonden are located in the Waterberg region of Limpopo province which features very dramatic mountainous terrain definitely worth the drive.)

However, both of these issues are tangential to my actual experience at Motswiri and Madikwe, which is why I'm still giving Motswiri a rating of five. Overall, I was very pleased with my Big Five safari experience. I strongly recommend Motswiri to anyone looking for an affordable, comfortable, and enjoyable malaria-free Big Five experience in Africa. Just remember to follow up if you don't see your credit card charged within a couple of weeks, and consider flying rather than driving.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank coolcaesar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New England
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2013

We spent 3 days and nights in this South African provincial game reserve after touring four resorts in neighboring Botswana. Although the overall experience was good, one received the distinct impression that the resort was aging rapidly and somewhat in need of repair.
Our door didn't lock and the door handle was rickety and falling off. Some of the lights in the room didn't seem to work.
Although we didn't use the swimming pool, it needed cleaning and we were surprised that visitors from the USA swam in the greenish water without hesitation. Likewise, the artificial waterholes were filthy and could harbor disease due to the concentration of toxins exacerbated by their small size and the large number of animals that walked and bathed in them daily.
The guides seemed intent on showing visitors the 'Big Five' and ignored interesting smaller animals, birds and all flora.
The drinks at the bar were expensive and the bar bill was wrong at the end of our visit, containing several overcharges and duplicates. At all the resorts in Botswana the drinks were free and everything was included in the upfront accommodation charge. Not so at this resort where the staff are all-to-keen to chalk up add-ons to your bill.
Although we were assured that it was safe to walk around the camp, even at night, we saw numerous breaks in the fences. The decks of the cabins are easily accessible by lions, leopards, monkeys and baboons.
Food is generally average to good and service is fairly good.
Motswiri needs to make a better effort if it wants to compete with the (cheaper and better) Botswana game lodges!

Room Tip: Try to get a room overlooking a waterhole.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2013

We were at lodge in early September and had a great stay. The food and service were excellent and the rooms were very comfortable. Our guide was very friendly and knowledgable as well. It was unusually cold but you do anything about the weather. We highly recommend Motswiri.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Nancy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Motswiri Private Safari Lodge

Property: Motswiri Private Safari Lodge
Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve 1560, South Africa
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Motswiri Private Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Motswiri Private Safari Lodge, situated in the western side of the 75 000 hectare, Big Five, malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province, forms an integral part of The Madikwe Collection's exclusive portfolio of lodges. As its name suggests, Motswiri Private Safari Lodge is an exclusive lodge offering guests a personal bush experience, which is impossible to replicate in larger concerns. The lodge offer some of the best views in Madikwe as well as the tranquil feel given by the mature trees (mostly Leadwoods) under which the lodge's main building and five luxury bush villas nestle. Motswiri has luxurious accommodation, with each bush villa offering stunning views from private decks and multiple-slider bedrooms and bathrooms. Add double-sided fire places, air-conditioning/ ceiling fans, stunning bathrooms and an outdoor shower and you have a bush experience second to none. Then our Family Villa offer three rooms all with en-suite bathrooms. The Family villa boasts a private lounge area leading out onto a private deck and pool. At the main area of the lodge enjoy the rim-flow pool overlooking the waterhole, have a cocktail under the shade of the Motswiri trees (Leadwood in Tswana) on the main deck or just while away the day in the outside lounge and bar area. Fine cuisine is served in the dining room, under the Leadwood or around a roaring fire in the boma. Staff offer personal service in a relaxed but professional manner and the twice daily game drives are conducted by our rangers whose superb bush knowledge is imparted in the manner best suited to the bush knowledge of the guests on the specially designed landcruiser game viewing vehicle. Motswiri offers the option of individual bookings or exclusive use of the lodge for groups. The lodge is ideal for corporate, family / friend groups of up to ten people who do not wish to share the facilities with other guests. Motswiri is a mere 3- 1/2 hours drive from Johannesburg or for utter indulgence, guests can opt for a fly-in safari to the reserves all weather airstrip. Scheduled daily charters are available via the Federal Air Madikwe Charter Joint Venture Partnership. Lodge tariffs include luxury accommodation, two fabulous game drives per day and all meals. ... more   less 
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