Welgevonden or Madikwe?

Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Welgevonden or Madikwe?

Am planning to take guests on short 3-day safari. Have been to Makweti in Welgevonden and loved it, but have heard Madikwe has better game sightings. True? If so, any recommendations on Madikwe lodges that:
1. have intimacy of Makweti (no kids a plus)
2. reasonable rates (off season, @ R2000 pp)
3. driving distance from Johannesburg
4. malaria free
Thanks!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 08:47 AM
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I can highly and enthusiastically recommend Madikwe Game Reserve and specifically, CC Africa's Madikwe Safari Lodge - www.ccafrica.com.

Game viewing was excellent and plentiful. It's a wonderful park with the Big 5 and lots of other fantastic animals.

MSL is a beautiful facility - 3 camps that are separated so that the one camp that does cater to children is secluded (sleeps 10 people in 4 cottages & accommodates children & is away from the other two camps), and you never see children or any other guest from that camp.

MSL is in the price range that you require, offers luxurious cottages in all three camps, great food, impeccable service, wonderfully knowledgable and enthusiastic rangers and game drives, many extras (included in the price) that they don't advertise but provide during all guests stay (such as braai in the boma, mimosas & pancakes in the bush prepared by the chef on a morning game drive, fondue in your cottage at night, and a lot more). MSL is in a beautiful location and we had the largest bull elephant stop by and drink from our plunge pool.

Madikwe Game Reserve is a pleasant and scenic 3.5-4 hour drive from Joburg - we (2 women) did it with no problems, and would recommend self-driving this route. Then it's about 30 minute drive within the park to the MSL.

MGR is malaria free and is a great destination for a 3 day safari or a week.

If you have specific questions about the park or Madikwe Safari Lodge, email me and I'd love to answer them. I had the most fantastic time there!

Cheers!

Viv
www.wavejourney.com
[email protected]
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Wavejourney,

On this we agree completely. Birding is also outstanding. While I agree about self-drive for Madikwe (we did it last year), I would only drive in the Jo'Burg area in daylight. If you are a South African, check to see if CCA is offering an special deals.

Tuckeg
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:27 PM
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I can recommend Makanyane, while Rocco loves Mateya.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:00 PM
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One other point about Madikwe Safari Lodge, be sure to get driving directions directly from the lodge. CCA has some posted that send you way out to the west and add 30 min or more to the drive. The lodge will give you the shorter route.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:32 PM
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I'll put in my good word for Madikwe as well. It exceeded all expectations. We were there in late May and the wildlife was plentiful. Highlight was the wild dogs chasing a young zebra at the waterhole in front of our lodge. Saw all 3 lion prides, got charged by an elephant, stalked a group of 3 white rhino on foot....lots of great memories over 5 days.

As for a lodge, I am partial to Mateya. I can say that it was the best 3500R pp/nt spent. Unless you have stayed there, you really just don't know how great this place is. Only 5 suites and maximum 4 people in a vehicle. Very personalized safari & lodge experience. Madikwe Safari Lodge and Makanyane are all in the 2500 -3400 R pp/nt. Any deals you might be able to strike in off-season will be for committing to a longer stay ie; 4 or 5 nights. There are several really good lodges in Madikwe that may fit your budget better. In general, I would look at Buffalo Ridge, Madikwe Hills, Etali and Tau Lodge as other possibilities. Don't know what their rates are. If you want to avoid kids, then bypass Jaci's. They have a great children's program. They get good reviews, but are family friendly

Happy to answer any questions you may have
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 02:26 PM
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I've stayed at Madikwe Hills and Buffalo Ridge and both were excellent. Madikwe Hills like the others recommended thus far will exceed the R2,000 that you are looking for.

Buffalo Ridge however is R1,750 for off season and about R2,100 in season so it would meet your needs very well. It is a beautiful property with outstanding food and what makes it even better is it is the first lodge in South Africa to be owned 100% by the local community! They are doing a great job and its very important that their project succeed. There have been a couple of great reviews for it on this board including one by me.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 02:37 PM
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I suspect the other rave review for Buffalo Ridge was ours. Good chance we will return in August/September this year.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 03:24 PM
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Gardyloo: exactly, yours was the one I was thinking of! Good for you, I wish I was going back soon.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Thanks for the advice. Definitely leaning toward Buffalo Ridge at the moment.
Just want to ask again--does anyone have any info on whether game viewing is better in Madikwe than in Welgevonden?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 06:40 PM
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bella: honestly, I think you are the first person to post here who has been to Welgevonden.

Madikwe is very proven with lots of us having very good wildlife viewing. It is not certain but likely it has a much bigger reputation than Welgevonden for a reason. My impression is that the reason is simply that Madikwe did such a phenomenal job of stocking the wildlife when it launched while Welgevonden is a great area but still maturing and improving with its wildlife.

I'm sure you would really enjoy Madikwe, perhaps it would be nice to try something new and then you will be the first who can actually compare the two reserves.
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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I can compare the two reserves. I've been to Welgevonden in August - Makweti. And to Madikwe in June/Aug/Oct - Mateya. Makweti offers a good number of rhino, ellies and lion (at least this is true when I was there in 2002). The topography is very different....Welgevonden more rocky and mountainous. We never saw dogs, cheetah or leopard. We did spot a beautiful Sable...not sure if it's still there....

Madikwe's game population is more varied, albeit more widespread, but the super 7 can definitely be found. Madikwe is vast and beautiful.

The game seems very healthy and becoming more plentiful at Madikwe. Much more so than Makweti...I do miss seeing the little Klipspringers on the rocks beside the pool, tho. There were always good rhino sightings at Makweti...the Rhino is part of the Makweti logo.

If you've not been to Madikwe, you should try it... I don't think you'll be disappointed. I can highly recommend Mateya.
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