Just like my welcome at Madikwe Safari Lodge’s sister property, Marataba, on arrival at the property I was warmly greeted with a refreshing drink and cold towel provided by friendly staff. A welcome letter explained the program during my stay.
My accommodation. Madikwe Safari Lodge comprises three lodges – the four suite Kopana and Dithaba lodges and the 12 suite Lelapa lodge. I stayed at Lelapa. My suite was extremely spacious with the main bedroom area featuring a very large bed, open fireplace and couch. The bathroom contained a separate bath and shower. The surrounding deck overlooked bushland and included a small plunge pool, outdoor shower and a couple of chairs and table.
The friendly, helpful staff.
The extras in my room such as the gym in a bag (which included some weights, band, skipping rope and a book of exercises) and a blackboard to allow for communication with housekeeping.
Coming back to my room after dinner and finding a crackling fire. It was a great sound to go to sleep to, especially knowing I didn’t have to clean the fireplace in the morning!
The meals which were both plentiful and delicious! At both lunch and dinner there was a choice of two starter dishes, three main courses and two desserts.
The massage on my balcony overlooking the surrounding countryside. Numerous therapeutic treatments are available.
Free wi fi in the public areas. These areas included a souvenir shop, several lounge areas, outdoor dining enclosure (boma) and a deck where most meals were served.
My game drives in an open range vehicle. Madikwe Game Reserve is home to the big five (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros) and we saw all but buffalo on our game drives. Highlights included watching a young leopard `chill out’, a large pride of lions and rhinoceros’ playing in the water at sundown.
While time didn’t allow me to attend, the lodge offers educational lectures in an Eco House, a stand alone building. There are numerous animal skeletons to see and feel while the house is also home to a very big Ball Python named Sid and a Tarantula spider named Zuela (creatures you definitely wouldn’t want to meet on a dark night!) The house is specifically aimed at children who are welcome at both Lelapa and Dithaba lodges where lots of activities are on offer.
Lelapa and Dithaba lodges both welcome families with no restriction in terms of age. While only children over six are allowed on game drives, it’s very much a personal choice as to whether you want to spend time in such a location with either your own on other people’s children!
Given the 680 square kilometre Madikwe Game Reserve is home to more than 20 lodges so there are quite a few vehicles on the roads. The good thing is that the rangers from all lodges co-operate when it comes to sightings, notifying each other of what they have spotted. A disadvantage can be seeing other vehicles around the wildlife. At the same time the Game Reserve has a policy whereby only three vehicles are allowed at a `sighting’ with another three on `standby’. During my visit, considered to be off season, there were no more than two vehicles at any one sighting and in many cases we were alone.