Best Lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve

Old Dec 12th, 2003, 09:38 AM
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Best Lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve

Which is the finest lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve and why: Jaci's Safari Lodge, Jaci's Tree Lodge, Madikwe River Lodge, Mateya Safari Lodge or Tau Game Lodge? If I've missed any you would recommend, please let me know. Thanks in advance.
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Old Dec 12th, 2003, 09:45 AM
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People on this board know I love Jaci's. If you are a wild dog lover like I am, the dogs tend to den near their lodge so you can see them every day. I don't think there is much of a difference between the two oldges. If you are going in winter, ask them about which is warmer. Apparently they were going to add some heat to one of them.
I would not at all recomment the River Lodge as it is Three Cities and they are are a iffy management company. Tau has gone thru many changes and is in the process of being sold. There are some new camps that I don't know much about. You can't go wrong. I don't think the camp itself matters so much as the management and the guides. Jaci is very hands on and runs a tight ship. The guides there are superb and the service. She is very responsive to problems and fixes them. Email me if any other questions.

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Old Dec 12th, 2003, 09:47 AM
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By the way, I drove from Joberg wihtout any trouble (lady and daughter) and had no problems. In fact it was fun. The flights are rather expensive but when you are paying the tariff, I guess it makes no difference!
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Old Apr 4th, 2004, 02:30 PM
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I don't know if this response comes too late... but, I've been to both Jaci's and Mataya and I must say Mateya Safari Lodge is the most beautiful and accommodating by far. The guides are superb as are the trackers. The vista from the lodge and each chalet (there are only 5) is without comparison. There's a fabulous waterhole just beyond the lodge and animals of all persuasions come in for a drink day and night. The food was wonderful (great wine list), the attention was individualized to our every whim. The chalets are beautifully appointed and have A/C if you need it or take a quick dip in your private plunge pool that we loved while we watched the animals go for a drink. Stone fireplaces for cold nights. I've seen the wild dogs close to Jaci's and they are just amazing. I've also seen them elsewhere chasing Impala at can't get enough of them. Madikwe is a beautiful place and is growing in exposure. I know Jaci runs a fine property, but of the many lodges I've visited around SA, Mateya does stand out!
Old Apr 4th, 2004, 02:57 PM
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One you haven't mentioned and worth a look is the sister lodge of Leopard Hills called Madikwe Hills.

Check and tell me what you think!
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Old Aug 24th, 2004, 03:23 AM
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Wow, Madikwe Hills is quite a lodge!

Madikwe looks like a hidden gem of a park that is not yet overrun with tourists.

I am strongly considering a stay at Jaci's Lodge for as long as possibly four nights. Madikwe Hills does look great, but Jaci's has some really excellent feedback from its past guests. Here are the reports from July, 2004, alone for Jaci's Tree Lodge:

While Madikwe Hills looks fabulous, it also looks a little cold.

Mateya, on the other hand, looks like a fabulous option, although a pretty expensive one. I do like the fact that they have a wellness center, and I would be able to come straight from Cape Town to Mateya, without having to consider a two night stay at Bushmans Kloof or the Winelands, largely for their wellness centers.

Unfortunately, I just noticed that Mateya's rack rates are up to 5,500 ZAR per person per night sharing. Even if I were to get it for 5,000 ZAR pppns, that is still $1,500 USD per night.

Madikwe looks really beautiful and still pretty exclusive.

If anybody has feedback on Madikwe, please post it on this thread. Thanks.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 12:48 AM
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So, for anybody that has visited Madikwe, is this area a 3 nighter only, or is it worth considering for a fourth night.

I will definitely be staying at Madikwe Hills, although Jaci's Tree Camp looks pretty great, also.

Mateya is just out of control with their rates and they are not at all flexible.

If anyone has stayed at any camp in Madikwe before, please let me know how long you stayed, how the gameviewing fared, how you found the landscapes to be in comparison with other places you have visited and whether or not you felt that you stayed the appropriate amount of time.

I am considering the following itinerary:

Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, 3 nights

La Residence, Franschoek, 2 nights (now that I have found the best source to book at reasonable rates)

Simbambili, Sabi Sand, 3 nights

Royal Malewane, Kruger National Park, 3 nights (sister property of La Residence).

Madikwe Hills, Madikwe, 3 nights (or is Madikwe worth 4 nights?)

Phinda Forest, 4 nights

18 nights is already pushing it, so something is going to have to give if Madikwe is worth four nights.

Please advise.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 07:58 AM
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roccco i see you have added royal malewane to your plans, and that you seem firm on madikwe hills over the ccafrica madikwe lodge. I know the difference in price is large was madikwe hills willing to come close to madikwe lodges price or are you splurging on madikwe hills?
i have actually stayed at royal malewane and had a great experience.
i have also stayed at madikwe river lodge approx3-4 years ago. i think i stayed there for 4 days. if i were to go back i would only stay for 3. however i can not advise you regarding how many days at madikwe hills becfause that would be in a totally differnt league than madikwe river and judging by the web site you may never want to leave.
Please let us know which lodges are negotiable and which ones have been firm in their pricing
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 08:28 PM
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Let me just say that it may be worth your while to contact Jaci's Tree Camp and Madikwe Hills. The discounts at CCAfrica are very standardized.

4-5 nights at CCAfrica camps (any combo) earns you a 5% discount. 6+ nights earns a 10% discount.

Therefore, Madikwe Safari Lodge (CCAfrica), if combined with another CCAfrica camp such as Londolozi, Phinda, Ngala or Matetsi, will go down from 2,500 ZAR pppns all the way down to 2,250 ZAR pppns. That works out to about $337.50 pppns, an excellent bargain.

Using the same discount, Phinda Forest (in low season beginning April 01st - August 31st) goes from the rack rate of 2,605 ZAR pppns down to 2,344.5 ZAR pppns, or about $350 USD pppns, again a great bargain.

For a really great rate, consider Matetsi. Year-round, except the couple weeks surrounding Christmas & New Years, it is only $250 pppns, pricing itself out in USD rather than ZAR. A six night combined stay will get your rate at Matetsi all the way down to $225 USD pppns.

The only Madikwe lodge that I found completely inflexible was Mateya.

Although Madikwe Hills is still more expensive than CCAfrica's Madikwe Safari Lodge, it is such an amazing looking lodge, at least as nice looking as Mateya, that it is an easy choice. While Jaci's Safari Lodge looks like it may have the best "personality" of any lodge, really seeming to connect with its guests, Madikwe Hills is just too beautiful to pass up.

I will not discuss specific rates this year, other than ones that are already known, such as the CCAfrica discounts. I ruffled a few feathers with Star Of Africa and I will not repeat that mistake again, although in all honesty, I was never instructed to keep it confidential (but I should have known better).

I am having a hard time swallowing the rates for either Londolozi or Royal Malewane, although in all honesty, Royal Malewane seems much more deserving of those rates than Londolozi. Even with the 10% discount applied, Londolozi is still nearly $1,600 USD per night. For about $175 per night more, I can have Singita, but I am hesitant to pay so much for Lebombo, as I have heard that the game is not yet accustomed to the vehicles. If that is the case, I would much rather stay at Kwandwe Ecca for the same rates as Phinda, since Kwandwe Ecca seems to have that same minimalist chic design but at only $700 USD per night, instead of $1,800+ USD per night.

One thing I am trying to do is pair La Residence with a stay at Royal Malewane, hopefully leading to discounts at each of these sister properties.

Bushmans Kloof is being very resistant to any reasonable rates, despite the fact that for 2004, when staying five nights between the Twelve Apostles and Bushmans Kloof, a rate of only 1,097 ZAR pppns ($165 USD pppns) is possible. They will not come down under about $225 USD pppns for the same time period for 2005 (a 35% hike), yet I am sure that the same special will come back again, but at that point, who needs them? I will spend my $845 USD with Luxury Link for my 3 night stay at the Twelve Apostles, and then hopefully either work something out with La Residence or choose Le Quartier Francais or Lanzerac Manor instead.

IT NEVER HURTS TO CONTACT THE LODGES DIRECTLY. Most of them are even willing to offer the same prices if I run it through a tour operator, meaning, I guess, that they will then give the agent a commission on top of the already reduced rate offered.

Ideally, this would be my itinerary:

Twelve Apostles (3)
La Residence (2)
Simbambili (3)
Royal Malewane (2)
Madikwe Hills (3)
Phinda Forest (4)

I would love more time at Royal Malewane and Madikwe Hills, but I will never be able to visit Phinda unless I keep the stays to a minimum. Phinda just has so many attractive daytime options to choose from, activities that I know my wife and I will really enjoy together (while at most of the other places, she will not nearly enjoy it as much as she scares easily of close encounters with wild animals).
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Old Nov 9th, 2004, 11:34 AM
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Another MGR to consider is Makanyane.
I heard from a visitor there two weeks ago who raved about his stay, one of the best places in the world, superior to all other MGR places for food, game viewing, ranger knowledge, facilities...check out
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