- Secluded location in Madikwe Game Reserve
- 3 large lodges
- Superb vehicle and walking safaris
- Great for families and large groups
Madikwe Safari Lodge offers three top notch, independently run lodges set out amidst the vast, rugged landscapes and open skies of the malaria-free and wildlife-rich Madikwe Game Reserve. Located in a quiet spot in the central-eastern part of the reserve, the lodges are reached via a four hour drive or short flight from Johannesburg and are a great choice for families or groups travelling together. The properties all have a 'home from home' feel, offering warm hospitality alongside welcoming accommodation and superb vehicle safaris and bush walks. There are private pools, a bar and a spa to make use of during down time between safari activities.
While all three lodges have private plunge pools, en-suite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, and wood-burning fireplaces for the colder months, each has its own appeal. Kopano Lodge combines modern design with a traditional homestead feel and houses 4 suites that accommodate up to 8 people aged 16 and over, along with a shared TV lounge. Dithaba Lodge is perched on a hillside overlooking the expansive reserve, and also offers 4 suites and a communal TV area. Lelapa Lodge has a contemporary African feel and welcomes guests of all ages, with a good variety of designated children’s activities and a child-minding service on offer. Lepala has a particularly sociable atmosphere and houses a communal swimming pool and a total of 12 suites, with the two Family Suites incorporating a second children's bedroom with bunk beds and a sleeper couch. Kopano and Lelapa Lodges both offer disabled access, and note that Wi-Fi may only be available in Lepala Lodge.
Activities naturally centre around the incredible wildlife in the area. Early morning and evening vehicle safaris cover significant distances and reveal lion, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, antelope and the endangered Cape hunting dog - sightings of rhino and leopard are not unheard of. Guided bush walks are offered in the early morning or after breakfast and last around 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the fitness level of the group - this is a particularly good way to witness the Madikwe Reserve's stunning birdlife. Cultural visits to a local village are also possible, along with private vehicle safaris and a Rhino Conservation experience (both at additional cost).
Children are more than welcome. The best lodge for families is Lepala, although bookings at Kopano and Dithaba can be made for children under 16 if the lodges are booked out exclusively. The Eco-House is an on site educational entertainment centre where children can draw, bake in the kitchen, make pizzas, go dung tracking and learn about the local wildlife. Children's pool games and supervised swimming is offered in the communal Lepala pool. While children under 6 years of age are not permitted on the standard vehicle safaris, special family safaris can be arranged for families with children aged 3 to 5 years which last around one hour. Note that the lodges are all in a wild, rural setting and located on fairly high ground, so children must remain under adult supervision at all times.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019