Please note the images show Lelapa first, Dithapa second and Kopano third with an elephant image separating each lodge.
Ah Madikwe, the reserve that truly has it all. It’s 76 000 ha of magnificence, teeming wildlife, the Big Five, endangered wild dogs, brilliant birding, sweeping vistas and it’s completely malaria free. That makes for the ultimate bush and safari experience. And with three distinctly different camps in the Madikwe Safari Lodge offering, there’s the ideal fit for every guest.
Lelapa Lodge is for families, which is exactly what the name means in local Setswana. It’s sumptuous and spacious and the main lodge area is magically atmospheric; a little like an ancient indoor forest, with gnarled tree trunks serving as pillars. Décor throughout is sand tones and earth textures, with muted sunshine colours and all under thatch. Families with children are definitely the focus here, with suites designed accordingly and spacious outdoor leisure areas with plunge pools. There’s even a Kids’ Eco House where young guests can enjoy fun eco activities, while parents game watch, chill or enjoy an in-suite spa treatment.
Dithaba gives you the sense that all of Madikwe Game Reserve is completely yours. The most secluded of the three camps – and available for exclusive use – Dithaba was recently refurbished and incorporates enchanting natural design elements with flair. This is a private bush hideaway unlike any other. Being elevated, the views are to forever, so you’ll see wildlife going about their day right from your private deck. You hardly need to leave your sumptuous thatched suite, where you can dip in your own pool or curl up in front of the fire and be astounded by the views wherever you are. Under night skies, the star deck will dazzle you with the brilliance of the star-studded canopy above, and you can edge a little closer to it all using the telescope.
Kopano doesn’t stint on decadence yet blends it with a traditional African homestead vibe. It’s the ideal ‘getaway from it all’ for a group of friends or family, with just four fabulous thatched suites for exclusive use – and each with its own lounge, plunge pool and viewing deck. Here deckchair safaris are the norm, along with expansive views over the surrounding savannah. Then meet up again at the fireplace lounge or library, or at dinner in the unusual raised boma that looks right over the treetops. In every way, this is a breathtakingly beautiful space to exhale, regroup and rekindle with special people. You will so agree when you go there.
What we love!
- The dry packed stonework walls are reminiscent of an ancient African kingdom.
- Undisturbed tree trunks are incorporated in all the camp buildings to create natural décor features.
- Ingenious use of textures, rather than colour, provides a uniquely sensual experience.
- Space and privacy is abundant in all suites.
- Game viewing in Madikwe never disappoints, and seeing wild dogs is unforgettable.
Need to know…
- No malaria precautions are necessary.
- Game viewing is excellent all year and the best time for birdwatching is from October to April.
- There is cell phone reception at all three lodges.
- Getting there: Flying: Daily flights from Johannesburg and then 15 minutes’ drive to the lodges. Self-drive from Johannesburg takes 5 hours.
Reviewed by Keri Harvey