User Reviews – Madikwe GR

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dfross   –  
United States US
Visited: April 2015 Reviewed: Jun 30, 2015

Email dfross  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

More than a dream come true.
Overall rating
5/5

I had planned our first trip to South Africa for more than a year. The adventure began at Madikwe Game Reserve. Would reality live up to expectation? Three days at Jamala Lodge exceeded everything we hoped for. The luxury, the impeccable service, the extraordinary food, and the incredible game viewing was everything a dream could be. We saw all of the Big 5, plus so much more, on our game drives -- elephants, buffalo, lion, both white and black rhino, giraffe, zebra, and an amazing array of all the antelope and deer that South Africa has to offer. We had a leopard walk by so close to our vehicle that I could have reached out and stroked its back. Equally amazing was sitting at the "sofa safari" on the deck of the lodge and watching this same array of wildlife wander down to the water hole. One morning at breakfast, a pride of five lion visited the water hole; one evening a leopard. Our final morning was capped with a visit by a white rhino at the water hole. Our first morning at the lodge began with an incredible roar of a lion awakening us at 3 a.m. Jamala Lodge, even though the price may seem expensive at first glance, is truly a bargain. An enormous chalet with bedroom looking out at the water hole, a beautiful bath, a plunge pool and totally private outdoor shower, a fully stocked (and included) mini bar, two three hour plus game drives a day with the best tracker one could hope for, and amazing food every day, throughout the day. All alcohol was included, and surprises every day with specialty cocktails presented at the end of an evening game drive. Madikwe Game Reserve, and Jamala Lodge will give you memories to treasure for the rest of your life.

Massai_1 (Carsten M.) Visited: November 2014 Reviewed: May 25, 2015

Overall rating
5/5

Really beautiful area, great accomodation.

U. Adophis   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: April 2015 Reviewed: Apr 29, 2015

20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Great safari, nice (and closer) alternative to Krugar
Overall rating
4/5

Madikwe was a fantastic reserve and great alternative to Krugar, particularly as there are no self-drivers. We stayed at Jamala which was luxurious and beautiful in every way. The owners built this from scratch, and since they know what has worked and what hasn't worked in other places, everything is organised and chosen to give the "best" safari experience! Madikwe was in a pretty bad drought while we were there, and so the waterhole was pretty quiet since animals were heading to places where it had rained. Also the wild dogs had just had a wave of rabies (we didn't realise this happened) so we were lucky to see the few dogs we did. Even though there were few guests, we still went out in separate cars which was great (this didn't happen at Bush House). We then stayed at Bush House -- this was good as we got to see the other side of the park. Note that at Jamala we could see the north east and south east sides of the park, which was too far if we had only been at Bush House. Our friend stayed at Tau Lodge and had more success at the waterhole -- that is a much larger lodge though, and you lose the exclusivity. Bush House was a lot less posh and extravagant, but the waterhole was very busy (60+ elephants?) and the food and accommodation posed no problems. Also good to check if children can come on drives, as we had 2 incessantly talking kids on our last day who didn't, but could very easily, have affected game viewing. Our guides in both places were very experienced -- the main thing is you need to be watching for animals too, as it increases your chances! On our first drive at Bush house our ranger went off tracking to find a lion. So we sat there with 5 other cars for an hour till they came back, then we drove off and for the next hour none of the rangers could find the ranger who had stayed behind near the lion kill!! Our guide than said "oh, it's getting late, we probably should go now" to which I gave a significant death stare. Thankfully she then found the lions, but at no point had she explained what we were looking for or anything. In this case we were lucky, but I think it's worth being clear with your ranger how much time you are prepared to spend waiting for them to track. We could have wasted 2 hours out of one precious drive, which to them doesn't mean much, but I think they forget how much we pay and how far we come to see animals which cannot be seen by sitting in a non-moving car. We explained this to her that night and from then on everything was fine, but if you haven't done as many game drives as we have, you might not be so confident to voice such opinions.

Ravisyd   –  
Australia AU
Visited: December 2014 Reviewed: Apr 19, 2015

50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Thakadu Camp, warm friendly staff, excellent food, outstanding bush experience, will stay here again
Overall rating
5/5

We stayed at the Thakadu River camp. Warm and friendly staff, personalised service, the food was tasty not too heavy, just right. The guide was excellent took us off road closer to the wildlife, always maintaining a safe distance, good bush sense. The entire staff broke out in a song and dance in harmony, to celebrate a friend celebrating his birthday during our stay. Overall credit goes to the resident manager.

John A Darwin NT Australia Visited: August 2014 Reviewed: Apr 16, 2015

Thouroughly Enjoyable
Overall rating
4/5

Stayed at The Bush House for 2 nights and did 4 3 hour safari drives and managed to see most of what we were hoping to see. Missed out on seeing Cheetahs, Leopards and Wild Dogs, although given the size of the park there is no guarantee you will see everything. The Bush House was fantastic and I have no hesitation recommending it. Our guide Tom was OK but have heard JR is the best. August mornings are chilly but the days are beautiful. Safari Bookings were great with all pick ups and bookings done without a hitch.

Stefano   –  
Italy IT
Visited: November 2014 Reviewed: Apr 16, 2015

50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating
5/5

A surprising and very well managed park; abundance of wildlife and predators, and also a place for birdwatchers. Bush experience is granted, and some accomodation are really 'in the bush'

Nelly Micheleau   –  
France FR
Visited: February 2014 Reviewed: Apr 16, 2015

Email Nelly Micheleau  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

environnement magnifique , faune très diversifiée et très accessible
Overall rating
5/5

Notre séjour au River Lodge ne peut faire l'objet que de compliments : confort optimal , personnel très aimable , nourriture agréable ...
Le parc est magnifique : nous l'avons découvert grace au guide du River Logdge , à raison de é safaris par jour pendant huit jours , ce qui nous a permis de voir une grande variété d'animaux dans des paysages superbes ; à part un orage , nous avons de plus bénéficié d'une météo très clémente .

Coach P Visited: June 2014 Reviewed: Jul 2, 2014

It was breathtaking and we created everlasting memories in just 3 days.
Overall rating
5/5

We loved this experience. The wildlife was plentiful and we saw 4 of the big 5 - only missing a Leopard. Nonetheless, the Tau Game Lodge was first rate. Their hospitality and level of service was unmatched. The food was delicious and the chef disussed each dish he created at dinner. And the rangers were experienced, friendly and patient.

Nelly Micheleau   –  
France FR
Visited: February 2014 Reviewed: Mar 20, 2014

Email Nelly Micheleau  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Madikwe park
Overall rating
5/5

Madikwe is a very authentic nature reserve with lots of animals (big five at almost every game drive), beautiful landscapes and very comfortable accomodation (Madikwe river lodge), more excusiv than Kruger Park and enjoyable for everyone (kid's game drives too).

kanigma Visited: January 2008 Reviewed: Aug 7, 2012

Overall rating
4/5

We managed to see the big 5 over a couple days, we had a wonderful time on safari.

Average User Rating

  • 4.7/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 23
  • 4 star 7
  • 3 star 1
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 0
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