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“Magical Motswiri”

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Motswiri Private Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 16, 2014

After staying at numerous game lodges in Botswana and South Africa over the past 17 years my wife and I agreed that our 4 night stay in Motswiri last weekend with our family who were visiting us from Europe was the best ever!! We had an exclusive game viewing truck driven by Coenie for our entire stay and Coenie went out of his way on every occasion to make the game viewing both exciting and enjoyable, especially for our 7 year grandson. We saw everything up close , including lion, bufallo , black and white rhino, spotted and brown hyena and numerous elephants. An exciting encounter for us was on the Sunday morning when the truck got a puncture . We were all standing around in an open space watching Coenie change the tyre when suddenly a very large bull elephant in musk charged out of the bush towards the truck. We all scrambled very quickly back into the truck and with a shout or two from Coenie the elephant stopped, glared at us, flapped his ears and then walked away, having imposed his presence on us. The rooms at the lodge were large and luxurious and we stayed ay Lodges 5 and 6, which had its own pool. The Lodge management under Geraldine's superb care, could simply not do enough for us to make our stay more enjoyable and needless to stay the food was fantastic. Patricia , behind the bar, was ever attentive to our thirsty needs. A highlight for us all was the celebration of our granddaughter's (Ella) first birthday in Africa. As we had the lodge to ourselves on the Sunday , Geraldine and her staff decorated the dining area around the pool with birthday buntings and balloons . Then a large cake was produced and the entire staff emerged, sang Happy Birthday to Ella and performed a lovely dance around her. After lunch all ten of us including our four grandchildren got into the truck , with Ella being seated in a car seat specially secured by Coenie. We had a beautiful game drive and to crown it all we stoppped to view four lions lying peacefully in the shade. We all sat like statues looking at the sleeping lions until Ella started cooing gently. So we had our experience of "Talking with Lions"!! All in all a wonderful experience at Motswiri , with so many happy memories to share for the future. Thank you, Motswiri.

Room Tip: Lodge 6 is fantastic and ideal for a family .
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank samuel m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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102 - 108 of 161 reviews

Reviewed April 1, 2014

This is a superbly managed and unpretentiously luxurious lodge. The staff could not have been more helpful, providing many extra services that any other facility would have charged a lot of money for much less attention to our needs.

The room was original, comfortable and fully equipped. The game drives with Coenie were sensational. He knows the park and the bush and enjoyed the wildlife sightings, especially the wild dogs, at least as much as his passengers.

It is a rare treat to have barman, servers, and management anticipating every need without being in any way intrusive or obsequious. Truly a service culture which makes Motswiri special. I've been to probably 20 game park hotels and lodges over several decades. There are some in Botswana that equal Motswiri, but none that I know of anywhere else. This is the real deal for a delightful game park experience.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank Xamb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2014

We were the only guests on our first night, so had the luxury of two game drives, dinner overlooking the waterhole and breakfast on our own. All were excellent. We were given villa 6 which has its own pool which was a bonus. The villa was very comfortable. The games drives were very exciting and we saw all we wanted apart from leopard. Staff we're all very friendly. Highly recommend Motswiri.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank M and M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2014

This was my second South African safari and I had a little trouble convincing my partner he would love it. He was worried it would be like driving around a safari park (eg zoo) in the UK or Australia - how he changed his mind!

We drove up from Johannesburg and, although it's not the most picturesque drive ever, it was great to drive through towns and see different sights. Driving is probably not for the nervous or inexperienced though as the main road is only 2 lanes and cars over-take cars over taking!! There are a few tolls too, so be prepared with change/money.

Anyway, on the road to the entrance of Madikwe my partner was getting more nervous seeing the fences, thinking it was looking more like a zoo. We were met at the main entrance, signed in and were given a map to Motswiri. It was about a 20 minute drive past all the other lodges (which was great, ours was at the end of the track so more private)! We saw a very young elephant close to the road side which was a fantastic start. There was no signs of being in a zoo, my partner started to feel more relaxed and excited.

When we arrived at the lodge it was stunning, not a modern building but wooden, authentic and suited the surrounding bush. We were greeted by the host (perhaps the manager) with hot towels and a cocktail, what a lovely welcome. They took our car, parked it, took our bags and showed us to our room which, again, was stunning (I'll come back to the room in a minute), as we had driven up we were later than we thought and were asked if we wanted to go on the night safari which was leaving now, of course we said yes!

The greeting was warm and friendly and we felt relaxed and welcome straight away - our room was gorgeous. We had a large four poster bed with mosquito nets, a lovely fireplace (which wasn't needed at the time of our visit), a desk/vanity, wardrobe, coat rack, beautiful bathroom with a massive tub, separate toilet and an outdoor shower! All views were of the water hole and bushes, stunning view. It was a little strange showering outside at first but after the first time it was fine and quite liberating, if not a little fresh!! I'm not sure i could have managed in the colder weather but it's all explained on the website so it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The rooms were mainly white stone walls with gorgeous dark wood fittings and furniture, with clean, crisp, authentic bedding and soft furnishings, we loved it. We had a massive deck overlooking the water hole and saw many different birds and wildlife at all times (baboons, warthogs, kudu, impala etc). The door didn't lock but I think that was for your own safety (?) it didn't bother us so we didn't ask. The place is so secure it shouldn't matter and there is a safe in the room for valuables.

The whole complex is secured by electric fencing or barriers, as are the decks around the rooms.

Our first night safari was amazing with only one other guest. We drove for around 3 hours with a storm closing in. We saw plenty of animals, giraffes, zebras, elephants, kudus, impala, lots of birds. Coenie (our ranger) was excellent - very friendly, very knowledgable and asked us what we wanted to see or know - excellent service. We stopped for a sun downer which was wonderful, under the setting sun, a storm in the distance and in the middle of the bush. I had my vodka and diet coke (plenty of it), fruit, nuts, meat and cake - so good!

When we returned we were greeted with a hot towel and a drink and a very friendly smile, asking us if we had a good time etc. Dinner was served immediately. The food and service was amazing, plenty of food and someone always just there when you wanted something else. There were no other guests just my partner and I and the other guy on the drive. We had a lovely evening before he had to leave as this was his last night.

We slept well, the bed was very comfortable but we would remember to take large bottles of water back to the room in future - they provided a jug of water and glasses but we preferred bottled water (and we drank more than was provided).

We stayed for 4 nights in total and, although the structure of each day was the same we never drove the same route twice and saw different views and animals on each drive.

Each morning we were up (with a courtesy knock at the door) at 6am. Meeting in the main lodge at 6:10 for coffee/tea, muffins, rusks and biscuits before heading off around 6:20-6:30. Each day we only had 4 other people at the lodge and on the drives with us, it was great. In the mornings we had our wind proof jackets, hats and gloves on until the sun came up (just a word of warning, it can be cold)! Coenie would ask us what we wanted to see each time and would do his best to find the animal or bird or reptile.... He could see things no one else could! In the pitch black he stopped suddenly to show us a baboon spider on the road and found a chameleon in the bushes! He stopped on the road to show us a dung beetle rolling his dung - it was great. He read the animals well and knew when we could get close, when to stay our distance and when to leave them alone - I loved that. He took us off road, over rocks, fallen trees, bushes etc to show us the lion cubs - someone in the party was voicing concerns about intruding on the animals (only to his partner) but he shouldn't have worried Coenie read the lioness well and could tell when she had enough and we left.

For the morning drives we had morning tea in the bush, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, muffins, rusks, fruit & nuts, for the evening drives we always had sun downers and snacks of different kinds. After every drive we were greeted with a hot towel and refreshing drink, a smile and "how was your drive today", they really listened and cared. Each morning drive was followed by breakfast; full cooked and full buffet of fruit, yoghurt, breads, toast, spreads, fresh juices, tea, coffee etc - there was nothing missing! All evening drives started with afternoon tea, great quality food and so much of it and followed by full evening meal, with choices - the food was excellent in all terms, choice, quality, volumes!!!!! One evening was a traditional BBQ (forgotten the real name) which was stunning, around a fire, candle lit individual tables, blankets to keep you warm and lots of chatting with the rangers and other staff, we loved it.

Most afternoons were spent snoozing, reading on our deck or watching the wildlife around the water hole, we didn't use the pool for no reason except we loved our deck and the water hole!

The main lodge was stunning, dark heavy woods with authentic African soft furnishings. There was a lovely bar, tables, chairs and sun lounges on the deck and around the pool (which was always spotless). A comfortable lounge area with plenty of books and always someone just there when you needed them but never lingering - fantastic service.

We were very sad when we had to leave but so glad we had 4 nights, we saw so much, lions, lion cubs, giraffes, zebras, elephants, rhino, buffalo, antelopes (kudus, impala), hornbills, weaver birds, eagle, chameleon and the amazing African Wild Dogs. Coenie tried every day but we just didn't see a leopard!

There was nothing to complain about - this was luxury but authentic, we chose the lodge as it looked African and not modern where you could be anywhere in the world, the service was second to none we would recommend Motswiri to anyone.

Our only recommendation would be for bottled water in the rooms (perhaps a small fridge in the rooms too)?

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dozza44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2014

This trip for us was to celebrate my father's big 70th birthday and also my wife's first game drive experience. The experience was everything we expected and some more. The service was 5 stars. Not sure what else the staff could have done to make this a even better experience.

Let me start with the lodge: It is a smaller lodge. I believe the max capacity for this lodge is 10 people. This is good if you have a big family and/or friends on the trip. If you get enough people, the lodge is pretty much yours. The drawback to this is that there isn't as much activities to do during "down times" when you are not eating or on game drives. I've been to other much larger game lodges, and there is usually an activities center where you can ride horses etc... you won't get that kind of experience here, but if you are here for the game drive experience and just want some peace and quite with some bonding time with family/friends, this is the place for you. If you want privacy and don't wish to be around 100 tourists, this is for you.

Accommodation: Being in the bush, obviously, you cannot expect a Hyatt experience, but what you can expect is a clean and cozy room. The rooms are well kept and cleaned. I've never used an outdoor shower before so that was quite an experience for me. Although, I must say, after using it a few time, it grows on you. The first time felt strange since I've never taken a shower while not being enclosed in a small little room. Taking the shower at night was also quite strange at first as well. I guess it is really all just mental blocks. Once you get past all that, taking a shower indoors feels like a downgrade. If you aren't comfortable with showering outdoors, the bathtub is still inside the room.

Service: This is rated a 5 star hotel. Though their prices aren't cheap, but it's worth every penny. I've never been to a lodge/hotel where the host/manager would be at the front door welcoming you when you arrive, go on a game drive, and also send you off. Most of the hotel/game lodges would just say goodbye at the counter and off you went no matter if it is 5 stars or not. I have to say that their service is highly personalized and makes you feel like you're some body. I've also never been to a place where their room service are like ninjas. I never once saw anyone in my room, yet the bed gets made (they even put a scroll/poem on the bed) and the room is returned back to its original conditions. For the special occasion, in this case my father's day, they actually put rose peddles in a shape of a heart on his bed when he returned to his room, plus a little bottle of wine and some flowers as well! I was wondering, where the heck did they get roses in the middle of the bush? I was thoroughly impressed and I believe this kind of service is only something that smaller lodges can do.

Food: I was concerned about food being out in the bushes, but my worries were put to rest after the first meal. Not only were the food made fresh, it was also made very tasty. Whoever the chef is, kudos to you, I think I gained a few pounds eating some of the best dishes I've had in a while.

Game Drive: Ok, the main point of being all the way out here is the game drive experience. I've been on several game drives before having grown up in SA. I wasn't expecting much since this trip was really for my father and my American wife and her friend who have never been on a game drive before. My expectations were thrown out of the window (oh yeah, there are no windows) when we weren't on the road anymore. I've never been on a game drive where we were literally following lions through the bushes. Rocks? No Problem. Bushes? No problem. Our guide/ranger really took us on a proper game drive. I don't remember our ranger's name but he was quite young. I do remember that he went through school and got his degree to become a ranger and has been a ranger for the past 5 years.

Overall: Would I come back? In a heart beat!

Room Tip: Room #1 has a front view of the water hole which animals frequently visit from late evenings to earl...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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2  Thank MikeToda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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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2  Thank MakiGirl
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

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: $524 - $790 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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