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Need Help to Decide on Little Kwara or Madikwe in mid-April?

Need Help to Decide on Little Kwara or Madikwe in mid-April?

Old Mar 7th, 2007, 09:06 AM
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Need Help to Decide on Little Kwara or Madikwe in mid-April?

We are travelling to South Africa in mid-April and need to choose a safari destination for 3 - 4 nights. We are mixed between flying up to Botswana (Little Kwara in the Okavango Delta) or going to Madikwe Reserve in SA (staying at Makanyane). There is a big cost difference to go to Botswana and I'm not sure it is worth it. We want to see the Big Five, have a pretty authentic experience, relax and enjoy Africa and feel like we had the African trip. Does anyone have any advice, thoughts?? Thanks!
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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If you want the big 5,Little Kwara is not the place.You are not going to find rhino there, but there are much more things than big 5 to see.
Little Kwara is a nice mix water and land camp, where you can do game drives,mekoro,boat trips ,night drives,off road driving,walks ,etc.
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 06:42 PM
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i'm biased toward madikwe. i would say depending on your driver you will see 4 out of big 5 as it is an event when you spot the leopard there.

as for the africa experiences- madikwe is definitely the south africa safari experience- dry and dusty not too terribly jungly. you stick to the road for drives, so no crashing through the bush.

i haven't been to little kwara but have been to other delta camps and to me that felt the most exotic place i've been on safari (comparing to kenya and uganda, too) and the tracks are more rugged and everything feels very different over there.

i think riding in an open safari vehicle feels africa-y whereever you do it, so that's my 2 cents. not terribly helpful, but i can vouch for the existence of the big 5 at madikwe, just don't know if you'll see all five.

(there are lots of other animals in africa, btw.)

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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 08:28 PM
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Best chance to see the "Big Five" is most likely in Sabi Sands in South Africa, not Madikwe. As Keri Keri stated, leopard are not commonly seen in Madikwe, but you do have a chance of seeing the wild dogs there. Also, Madikwe doesn't allow too much off road driving compared to Sabi Sands or Botswana, so for me personally it did not feel quite as exciting.

If you what you mean by authentic is more remote or more "bush-like", then Botswana tends to give you more of that feeling. Since April is still shoulder season in Botswana, it should not really be that much more expensive (unless you are getting some great deal below rack rate at Makanyane).

Just wondering, why are these two specific camps in specific areas your only choices - is that all you could find available for this April?
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 09:28 AM
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Just returned from spending a month in South Africa and Madikwe Game Reserve was the best place we went to in regards to game viewing. We saw the most amazing sights, although the leopard was not to be seen in any of the parks we visited. To name a few of the animals we came upon and were very close to: at Madikwe we saw two lions with a fresh kill, and got very close to them; three cheetah up close; lots of elephants, zebras, giraffes, white rhino, jackals and lots more... If you go to Madikwe stay at CC Africa's Madikwe Safari Lodge for the most amazing experience. They do an absolutely fabulous job and their staff are fantastic. You can email me for more details if you like, but I have nothing but good things to say about them and they far exceeded our expectations and out performed all of the places we stayed at throughout our trip.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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I have nothing but good things to say about Madikwe. True, the leopard is very hard to find, but you will find the same true at many other places. We saw everything else including all 3 lion prides, black & white rhino and the wild dogs.

My only caution about Makanyane is you should check their location within the reserve. Not centrally located. Madikwe is a 190,000 acre reserve, so being central is key to getting to all places
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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I've spent time in both and they are very different experiences.

Madikwe is a very nice fenced reserve with numerous luxury lodges. There is lots of good wildlife to be found and it is well organized considering the number of vehicles out driving every day which leads to a 'que' system for major sightings like wild dogs or lion kills. Basically sightings are limited to 3 vehicles but that means you will usually do 15 or 20 minutes at a major sighting and then you will move off to let in other vehicles that are waiting. There is about 20 lodges operating in the reserve.

Kwara is a huge wilderness area, more than twice the size of the entire Madikwe Reserve and there are only the 2 camps Kwara and Little Kwara so it is a huge, remote experience with very few camps and vehicles. This means you can stay with sightings and follow animals as desired. You can also drive freely off road everywhere in Kwara while at Madikwe you are largely limited to a road system with special exceptions for some predators. Little Kwara is a luxury tented camp so you have canvas walls, they sit on platforms and have wooden floors so it is luxurious tenting but that gives you a very different feel than a lodge with hard walls and glass windows, etc. At Kwara you can also boat and mokoro (traditional dugout canoe poled by your guide) which adds a different environment and experience.

While I enjoyed time at both locations I am one who definitely prefers a wilderness experience and I love being in an intimate tented camp and having drives that are unlimited by lodge density and road confinement. However, if luxury and/or a softer viewing experience are desired Madikwe is a great choice. Also, Madikwe has the advantages of being malaria free and is logistically easier/cheaper to get to.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 06:22 PM
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i would HIGHLY recommend the Makanyane - it may not be centrally located, but they have their own property on their side of the river that other camps do not have access to. In fact, it was on their own reserve that we spent an hour with a leopard. Gorgeous, even when pooping. If you're feeling adventurous, I'd recommend a night sleeping at the hide at Makanyane - unforgettable! Julie
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 06:26 PM
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sorry, i am a total doofus. it was a cheetah, not a leopard.
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