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For many people, a South African safari is a once in a lifetime trip. If a safari experience is on your bucket list, then look no further – we have the ideal location for you in South Africa. Created in the early ‘00s by husband and wife team Ed and Anka Zeeman, The Madikwe Game Reserve is set within 75,000 hectares of national park, close to the border with Botswana and a three-hour drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria. This is not a place of formulaic safaris, with big game no-shows and hordes of fellow vacationers. Instead, it’s something spectacular, a truly tailor-made safari experience. Where do we sign up?
A safari at Madikwe is a custom-made experience. By booking a lodge in the reserve you automatically get access to a ranger and Shangaan tracker, who are on hand to plan expeditions to make your heart skip a bit. There are no enforced trips or routine activities here. Every villa operates on the Mourkuru Freedom Concept, which means that you can do what you like when you like. That means boat rides along the Marico River, a romantic dinner in the bush, a safari game drive or walk, a spot of birdwatching or even water-skiing can be arranged almost as soon as you think of it. And, if that wasn’t enough, an evening’s stay in the Hide (a protected spot close to the water’s edge) can be arranged so you can sleep even closer to the animals commonly known as the ‘Big Five’ – elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, and rhinoceros.
As the Madikwe Game Reserve is close to the border with Botswana, it would be shame not to explore what this naturally beautiful landscape has to offer. Speak to your Luxury Retreats concierge about arranging transport. The Okavango Delta river is loved for its extensive birdwatching opportunities and you can’t miss seeing the rock art adorning over 10 square kilometers of the Tsodilo Hills. Dating from the Stone Age right up to the nineteenth century, it’s now a World Unesco Heritage site.
Johannesburg is one of the largest cities in South Africa and is 250 miles south of the Madikwe Game Reserve. It’s a bit of a trek, but a trip to this incredibly green city is well worth it. Take a walk through Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens to see all of the area’s natural flora and fauna up close. Have your picture taken with the oversized statue of Nelson Mandela at Nelson Mandela Square. There are lots of restaurants and bars to pop into here if you are feeling peckish. To fully understand South Africa’s tumultuous history, head to the Apartheid Museum, which is a non-profit organization seeking to educate people on the rise and fall of the apartheid system.
There is so much to see in Cape Town and with the recent opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, there has never been a better time to visit. Must-sees are Table Mountain via aerial cableway, Robben Island Museum (the former prison island where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27 years in captivity), and local community development projects via the tours conducted by non-profit organization Uthando.
Find your safari sanctuary in the Madikwe Game Reserve, complete with breathtaking views of the landscape, five-star finishing touches everywhere you look, and so much more.
Most visitors to the Madikwe reserve stay in our Morokuru villas , private safari lodges set within an exclusive gated community, and named for the majestic trees that grow nearby. Each lodge offers a stay which is the last word in luxury, with interiors that use natural materials from the locality to breath-taking effect. Think heated hardwood flooring, locally crafted Madikwe stone fireplaces, vaulted thatched roofs, huge sliding doors, and sleek yet cozy furnishings. That’s before we even get into listing the butler, chef, nanny, heated infinity pool, outdoor shower, and limitless views of the surrounding countryside!
Staying with family and friends in theMolori safari lodge is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. This five-suite retreat can cater to 14 (very lucky) people and is set right in the heart of the Madikwe Game Reserve. The expansive open plan living arrangement features hardwood flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows leading to smooth boarded terrace decks, and an infinity pool with hot tub and nearby fire pit.
Each king-size bedroom has a private balcony and an ensuite bathroom with fireplace and freestanding tub. All have views of the valley and animal watering holes. Every meal is prepared by the gourmet chef and served wherever you like; in the dining room, alfresco on the terrace or in your room. Your tracker and ranger are on hand to offer twice daily game drives or guided walking trails through the bush. Just remember to take your camera. After a hard day’s safari, relax in the comfort of the lodge’s facilities – there’s a (shared) health spa, gym, sauna, steam room, and chiller pool. Spa treatments can be arranged at an extra cost. What bliss.