Victoria Falls or Madikwe Hills

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Sep 10th, 2004, 02:57 AM
  #1
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Victoria Falls or Madikwe Hills

Hoping some of you out there can offer some advice on my itinerary for our first trip to South Africa. I thought we had our plans figured out but then came up with an alternate. Our airplane tickets are set (using ff miles)so have 13 nights total.

Original Itinerary:
3 nights at Capetown
4 nights at Leopard Hills
1 night Johannesburg
4 nights Botswana (2 nts at 2 camps)
1 night Victoria Falls

Alternate Itinerary:
3 nights Capetown
3 nights Leopard HIlls
2 nights Madikwe HIlls
1 night Johannesburg
4 nights Botswana

We have to give up Victoria Falls in order to make it out to Madikwe Hills for two days.Will we be sorry to travel all the way to So. Africa and Botswana and then miss out on Victoria Falls? Will Madikwe Hills be worth it? Our travel time is the first two weeks of June, in case that makes a difference. I understand that I need to take a warm clothes, correct? Also, at Leopard Hills and Madikwe Hills, are the suites heated at night (all the websites just refer to air conditioning).
I would appreciate any comments or thoughts.
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Sep 11th, 2004, 04:21 AM
  #2
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Well, my spouse really wants to go to Madkiwe, so it looks like Madikwe is in and Victoria Falls is out.
Rocco, I know you have been looking at a lot of lodges in Madikwe, do you have an opinion about Madikwe Hills vs. Royal Madikwe. MH is the sister property of Leopard Hills (where we are staying for 3 nights) so I assume it will be very nice. The web site for Royal Madikwe looks good too, and they have a better winter rate than Madikwe Hills.
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Sep 11th, 2004, 07:05 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Brandywine,

There are really so many good lodges to choose from in Madikwe that it makes my head hurt just thinking about picking one and leaving out some of the others. Regarding the rates, regardless of the lodge, it never hurts to ask if better rates are available.

My favorite Madikwe lodges, so far, as it seems like I find a new one every other day, are as follows:

1. Makanyane (very reasonable difference between low season rates of 2,800 ZAR and high season rates of 3,600 ZAR). I love the fact that guests can choose to "sleep under the stars", in a bed set up in a treetop hide. I also like the fact that they have a heated swimming pool, offer satellite television and direct dial telephone in the rooms, have a bush spa and a gym and seem to be near the Marico River.
www.makanyane.com

2. Madikwe Hills. I do think this is the most beautiful lodge in Madikwe. I do appreciate the fact that there are very experienced people heading this place up, the same ownership as the highly regarded Leopard Hills in the Sabi Sand.
www.madikwehills.com

3. Jaci's Tree Lodge. I do think this lodge has the most charm of any lodge in Madikwe and has excellent feedback from their past guests.
http://www.madikwe.com/treelodge/index.html

I do think there is a big dropoff after these first three great looking lodges. I would be thrilled to stay at any of the top three lodges, but I feel like I would be settling for anything besides these three.

4. Madikwe Safari Lodge (no pictures available yet, but it is a CCAfrica lodge and is only 2,500 ZAR per night...scheduled to open in November, 2004)
http://www.ccafrica.com/south_africa...we/default.asp

5. Etali (excellent low season rates.
www.etalisafari.co.za

*Royal Madikwe just doesn't do anything for me, and their low season rates of 3,200 ZAR pppns are just average. This is not, to my knowledge, the same company as the Royal Malewane. However, only having a maximum of 10 guests is a plus.
www.royalmadikwe.co.za

**Mateya is the most expensive lodge I have come across in Madikwe but they just don't come across as having much charm. The color scheme is too dark for my taste, the answers to my e-mails have been dry, and it just doesn't seem like, as upscale as it is, that it offers a similar experience to either Madikwe Hills, Makanyane or Jaci's Tree Lodge.

BEST VALUE
Mosetlha Bush Camp - a very rustic option, but at $150 pppns, it may be worth it just to stay here a couple nights in order to extend a stay in Madikwe for extra game viewing. These rates are not posted on their website but they were e-mailed to me for a late August stay. Just take a look at the excellent feedback left by the past guests.
www.thebushcamp.com

And that concludes my report on Madikwe.
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Sep 11th, 2004, 05:43 PM
  #4
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Roccco,
Thanks for your reply. I really like the website for Makanyane, it looks like a great lodge and also a lot of other information on their site,and a good rate. I've checked out Royal Madikwe to see if it was related to Royal Malewane but am convinced that it is not related, so that makes it less interesting.
I am going to check with Leopard Hills and Madikwe Hills and try to get some kind of discount for a total of 5 nights at their lodges, like you suggested it doesn't hurt to try.
I still hope we are making the right decision going to Madikwe instead of Victoria Falls.
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