Matetsi or Madikwe??

Old May 6th, 2008, 10:33 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 878
Matetsi or Madikwe??

My question is about Matetsi Lodge and lodges at Madikwe. There is not to much on the form about either area. The accommodations look nice. Are either areas worth a visit? We are thinking about a short stay at one or the other since we will be within driving distance of both of these areas. We do not want to do more flying, we are doing enough of that on the rest of the trip.

The RTW flight schedule gives us a choice of three more days in either Bangkok or Africa. All flights Bangkok to NBO will be on the RTW fare. We will already have been in Bangkok for several days, so the extra days in Africa are appealing.

The first plan has us leaving Bangkok early Sun morning March 29. The plan gives us either 4 days we could use to go to Matetsi and use as a base for a short safari and seeing Victoria Falls or going to the Falls for one night and then returning to JNB and going over to one of the Madikwe lodges before we head on to Cape Town. Seeing the Falls is a must as is time in Cape Town, but not sure we really want to add more time to either. There is just too much to see!

The other option has us staying in Bangkok till March 31 and flying to Victoria Falls then down to Cape Town.

We will then head to Tanzania on Apr 6 for a short Safari there. We are working our way to a 24 day cruise departing from Dubai on April 15.

Sat, March 30-
Leave for Bangkok Airport ~9pm, use late check out and use hotel facilities, non stop.

Sun, March 29- Fly Bangkok BKK to Johannesburg JNB Thai Air TG703 (South African Airway SA729-W, F & Su only), 12:15-6:30am, BC, 11:15hrs
Fly Johannesburg JNB to Victoria Falls VFA
South African Airway SA40,9:15-11am, BC, 1:40hrs
Victoria Falls Hotel/Matetsi, 1 night
Mon, March 30-
Tues, March 31- Matetsi Game Lodge /a Madikwe Lodge/ 3 nights
Wed, Apr 1-

Thurs, Apr 2-
Fly Johannesburg JNB to Capetown CPT
South African Air SA347, 3-5:10, BC, 2:10
2 Inn 1 Kensington, 4 nights

or stay in Bangkok and do this:
Tues, March 31 Leave for Bangkok Airport ~9pm, use late check out and use hotel facilities, non stop.

Wed, Apr 1-
Air TG703outh African Airway SA7291 (W, F & Su only), 12:15-6:30am, BC, 11:15hrs
Fly Johannesburg JNB to Victoria Falls VFA South African AirwayS A40, 9:15-11am, BC, 1:40 hrs Victoria Falls Hotel, 1 night

Thurs, Apr 2-Fly Victoria Falls VFA to Johannesburg JNB
South African Airways SA41, 11:50am-1:30pm, BC, 1:40hrs
Fly Johannesburg JNB to Cape Town CPT South African Air SA347, 3-5:10, BC, 2:10
2 Inn 1 Kensington, 4 nights
Fri, Apr 3-Capetown
Sat, Apr 4-Capetown
Sun, Apr 5-Capetown

Mon, Apr 6-
Fly Capetown CPT to Johannesburg JNB
South Afrian Airway SA302, 6-8am, BC, 2hrs
Fly Johannesburg JNB to Nairobi NBO
South African Airway SA182, 9:352pm, BC, 4:05hrs
House of Waine, 1 nights

Tues, Apr 7-
Tanzanian Safari 6 nights all inclusive
Fly to Arusha, Drive to Lake Manyarra, GibbsFarm,1night

Wed, Apr 8-
Drive to Serengeti
Serengetti Sopa, 2 nights
Thurs, Apr 9-Serengeti

Fri, Apr 10-
Drive to Ngorongoro Crater
CCAfrica’s Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, 3 nights
Sat, Apr 11-Ngorongoro Crater
Sun, Apr12-Ngorongoro Crater

Mon, Apr 13-
Drive to Arusha, fly to Nairobi
Fly Nairobi NBO to Dubai DXB.
Kenya Air KQ310, 7:15pm-1:40am, BC, 5:25hrs.
Hyatt Regency, 2 nights
Tues, Apr 14- Dubai

Wed, Apr 15 to Fri, May 8-Cruise Dubai-Istanbul, 24 days
cwn is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 12:28 AM
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IMHO I would not bother with Matetsi, I stayed in the adjoining concession last year, there are very few animals to see, plus you have to fly all the way to Vic Falls.

Madikwe is far more accesible 4 hour drive from Joburg or charter flight around 1 hour. Madikwe has lots of animals but some people dislike it because it is fenced and can be fairly crowded, I think it represents good value for money.
Old May 7th, 2008, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 29
I have a lodge in Madikwe (so I shall be careful to NOT advertise my place)and I am, I suppose, biased, but I would like to share the following facts about Madikwe:
- it is the fourth largest game reserve in SA at 75 000 hectares;
- it is a malaria free area;
- offering the Big 5 plus wild dog (for which we are famous), and cheetah and all other SA predators, a multitude of fat and healthy plains game and 340 bird species;
- There is a choice of over 15 commercial lodges in Madikwe, with prices varying from R1250 to up to about R7000 pppn sharing and all offer accommodation, all meals and game drives throughout the reserve with professional field guides;
- Madikwe does not allow day drives or camping (you cannot get into the reserve without a booking at a lodge) so the game drives are all proper 4x4s driven by expert rangers who are in radio contact with one another ... this makes for up close and personal game viewing (the animals know our vehicles)and does not allow crowded sightings (which are limited to an absolute maximum of three vehicles at a time);
- As well as the amazing animal and bird life, Madikwe offers a amazing array of landscapes: mountains, a river, plains area and scrubby bushveld;

Just to respond to Sniktawk's comments, yes, Madikwe is fenced - all reserves in South Africa are; and re crowding: it rarely gets crowded (at 75 000 hectares there is plenty of space for the maximum 60 vehicles out in the reserve at any one time) - and your sightings never have more than two other vehicles within view.
Good luck with your plans
Best bush regards
(If you would like any other info about Madikwe, you're welcome to get hold of me at my mail address [email protected])
bushchick is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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I am only repeating the complaints of others about fences it does not bother me at all. I think Madikwe is the finest project in Wildlife preservation ever undertaken, and it continues to proove this everyday.
Old May 7th, 2008, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
FWIW, I have been to Madikwe Reserve, Madikwe Hills Lodge, May 2007 for five nights. Madikwe Hills lodge is a gorgeous facility but I go on safari for the wildlife and game drives. Of the four other "properties" I've been to in South Africa, Kruger, MalaMala, Kings Camp, Leopard Hills, I put Madikwe Reserve last for game and game drives. Yes, I'd rather self drive in Kruger than do Madikwe.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 01:10 PM
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@ cwn
i have spent some days in madikwe recently. a wonderful reserve offering the "magnificent 7" means bug 5 plus wilddogs and cheetah.
and it's malaria free!
i visited 3 different lodges:

makanyane: very nice accommodation (3 glass walls chalets, privat deck, river front)

impodimo: also very nice, game/tracker team for game drives, relatively good food

MATEYA which is absolutely stunning! best value for money despite the accomm doesn't come cheap. service, accommodation incl. huge deck with private swimming pool (not plunge but swimming pool!), staff, meals, drinks, high tea EVERYTHING high-end. compareable to singita but muzch better value for money!
they make you feel like a friend not a payning guest!
they have favourable low season rates!

happy planning!
Old May 7th, 2008, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,818
We've been twice to Madikwe, staying both times at Buffalo Ridge, since it's community owned, which makes a difference to us.

While the wildlife viewing is not up to Sabi Sands standards, the environment is very different, and the scenery is magnificent. We've never felt it crowded, and haven't regretted going there.
Gardyloo is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 708
We had very good sightings at Matetsi in 2006. Wild dogs, sable, and a hyena who blundered into a lion and escaped by inches in a wild chase. Another higlight was the baby warthogs. Matetsi also offers boat and canoe trip on the Zambezi as well as shuttles to Vic Falls. You can do a morning drive, catch the shuttle and see the falls, and be back in time for a late afternoon drive.

Not as much game action at Madikwe when we were there but it's all in the luck of the draw (we were there just after they lost their wild dog pack). Birding was very good at both, with the edge to Madikwe.
tuckeg is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 09:20 PM
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Thanks everyone.

This is a hard for me. To add to the confussion I have been reading about self driving in Kruger! My husband mentioned that option today-it appeals to him. I like the idea of a little pampering!

Your comments and the problems in ZIM are directing me to stay with something nearer JNB. That way if things get worst in ZIM, our trip won't get messed up except for seeing Victoria Falls.

We tend to like to be by ourselves on vacation as we are apart much of the time at home. Are the jeeps always full at the Madikwe Lodges? Two or three people to a row? We will be there in early April. What about meals. Do the Lodges offer tables for two?

Thanks for your imput.
cwn is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 09:45 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Are the jeeps always full at the Madikwe Lodges? Two or three people to a row? We will be there in early April. What about meals. Do the Lodges offer tables for two?

I can only relate my experience at Madikwe Hills Lodge. It is a beautiful lodge. My "room" there was separate gorgeous, huge "hut". Heated bath floors, large deck with plunge pool, great view off into a valley.
Game drives always had other guests with me, usually two other couples. For most of my stay there the other couples were newlyweds/honeymooners. I was there in May so that is honeymoon time. No thanks, these couples had a new video camera and did not really have any idea about being on a safari or game drive. They were lucky to know a zebra from giraffe. Frustrating company for me.
Meals - were wonderful and you could have any dining arrangement you wished. Alone, with others, however you wished.
Now that was how it was for me at Madikwe Hills Lodge. Can't say much about the other camps/lodges in Madikwe Reserve. I did a trip report here on it which included two other SA camps, Kings Camp and Leopard Hills. This little URL should take you to it if you wish.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 10:18 PM
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Thanks Tom,

Guess that is the problem I am having-really nice accommodations and maybe less than wonderful jeep mates at the private reserves for $$$.

I know that is why the self drive idea appeals to my husband. Plus it just might be a lot of fun. We enjoy camping(small RV).

We have the openning in the schedule while we are in South Africa so we want to take the best advantage of it.

Fortunately we are lucky enough to be doing a short private safari in Tanzania after South Africa.

Thanks for replying.
cwn is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 10:36 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
cwn - self driving in Kruger and staying at MalaMala, I love doing both.
With self drive you have both more freedom and more limitations. It is great to drive yourself and by yourself find an elephant herd next to the gravel road, walking in front of you and surrounding you. Moms and babies of all sizes. Just them and you. But on self drive if you see lion activity just 50 meters away you are stuck with what you see from the road. At a private safari camp you would leave the road and get really close to the lion activity.
True, jeep mates are a chancy thing but 80% of the time my mates have been just fine, no problems.
Whatever/whichever you do I think it's good that you will be doing it before going to Tz. Because your Tz safaris will likely overwhelm your short safari in SA. That is, after all of Tz, just a couple days on SA safari might be a let down. (But, if instead you were staying a week at MalaMala, well, different story).

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2008, 10:53 PM
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Thanks Tom,

Just read through you trip report post. For my money I think we will look into the Kruger options. But needless to say the big $S are saved for Tanzania.

Thanks again.
cwn is offline  
Old May 8th, 2008, 03:28 AM
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oops - how i would love to have an edit feature...

forget my post regarding matetsi - i simply mixed it up with makweti/welgevonden!
terribly sorry for that!

my post regarding madikwe remains valid - nothing wrong with that one!
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