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Which one?

sheffield
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Which one?

Hi.40th birthday coming up. Want to go to SA. Cant decide which game reserve. Leopard Hills or Madikwe Hills. Help.

London, United...
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1. Re: Which one?

Both very luxurious - huge suites. I think Madikwe Hills are bigger then Leopard Hills. I've reveiwed both of them on here if you search for them.

The game viewing is better at Leopard Hills however in my expereience, but the Madikwe reserve is beautiful.

And last time i went Leopard Hills was more expensive, but think thats just because its more popular.

Ask for Suite 6 at Madikwe - WOW, or Suite 8 at Leopard Hills...ive stayed in both - awesome.

Good luck!

Marshy

sheffield
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2. Re: Which one?

Thanks for replying - I thought you would! your reviews were great. Now looking at Makanyane Safari Lodge in the same reserve - any thoughts? By the way love the picture - where were you?

London, United...
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3. Re: Which one?

Hi Harbi

Sorry i've not stayed at Makanyane yet. I beleive it's also very nice indeed. Most Madikwe ones are as they tend to be new(er).

Im actually off to Leopard Hills again this weekend and Singita this time too! Can't wait.

The pic - Barbados, last Christmas, yeah man....

SOUTH AFRICA
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4. Re: Which one?

I have stayed at Leopard Hills, Madikwe Hills and Makanyane Safari Lodge. Of the 3, I would recommend Leopard Hills........purely because the game viewing is much better! (In Madikwe you probably won't see any leopards, compared to daily sightings at Leopard Hills.) If, however, you want to go to a lodge in Madikwe, I would recommend Madikwe Hills only slightly above Makanyane.........both are such great lodges. Madikwe Hills has the advantage of private plunge pools, which are great if you're going in summer months! Let me know if you need more specific info - as I said, I've been to all 3 lodges.

Madikwe Game...
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5. Re: Which one?

You may not see as many leopards in Madikwe, but it really is a special reserve - malaria free ( a definite plus) and you generally get to see most of the big five, and what you may well see are wild dog - rare and endangered. Leopard sightings happen, although certainly not on the daily basis promised by Leopard Hills.

All the 15 commercial lodges in Madikwe are luxurious and their offerings are so similar - but essentially your game viewing will be the same regardless of which lodge you go to. If that's what's important to you, you may also like to have a look at MOsetlha Bush Camp, which is right in the middle of the reserve and offers a real wilderness experience ... at about a sixth of the price of the luxury places!

I would definitely recommend Madikwe ... and happy 40th!

Enjoy.

Washington DC & San...
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6. Re: Which one?

We just returned from a stay at Makanyane. I considered all of the lodges in Madikwe but decided on Makanyane because of the attractiveness of the lodge and the fact that they have 1800 private acres (attached to the rest of Madikwe) for viewing, which means you don't see a lot of other vehicles on their land. They also can go over to the main Madikwe reserve for viewing. Their safari guides were EXCELLENT, very experienced with the ability to track animals: if you want to see a leopard I have no doubt that Keith at Makanyane, who grew up in a game reserve, can find one for you. (and we felt safe at all times with their guides). They also offer horseback safaris in addition to vehicle safaris.

The service at Makanyane was superb. There was not even one hiccup: it was absolutely perfect service, very friendly and accomodating. I have stayed in some very nice places---even once in a private castle with butlers at your beck and call---and Makanyane's service was just as good. After the long hot trip to Madikwe, we were met at the door with cool fruit drinks and offered food---very welcome! Also, after a dusty evening trek, when we got back to our room our hot bath had already been drawn! (The guides call in to advise arrival a couple minutes ahead.) Makanyane manages to combine extreme elegance with the beauty and casualness of the African bush---we just loved it. most importantly, there was real privacy at Makanyane: we could take advantage of our room's outdoor shower without any fear of being seen by others. Their lounge has about 01 nests of goldfinches in the nearby tree, for close-up viewing of these beautiful birds while you're sipping your cocktails!

Makanyane will also negotiate their rates if they're having slow bookings. The week we went was slow and I got 30% off just by saying that the initial offer was too expensive. (I heard bookings really pick up after Dec 18 though.) For a double, we paid 2660R per person, all-inclusive (and that DOES mean all-inclusive). The food was unbelievable too---their chef is simply great.

Some tips:

1) Rent an SUV to cover the 40 km of dirt roads to Madikwe. Our car rental company gave us a small car which made it a real challenge! Better yet, if possible fly into Gaborone in Botswana (20 km from the South African border) and drive from there, or taxi to the border and ask Makanyane to pick you up.

2) For clothing, take light but long-sleeved items such as gauze or silk. DO NOT WEAR BLACK, you'll fry. Take a light sweater for the early morning and late evening treks (a thermal Henley was the perfect weight for me), and a pair of jeans for morning treks (in the afternoon you'll want long pants but thin, like silk or gauze or light cotton). Shorts are great but your legs will fry on the 3-hour afternoon rides unless you have a really strong sunblock on, or don't care about getting sunburned. Don't worry what shoes you wear, you won't be getting out of the jeeps at all----sandals or tennis shoes are fine. But definitely bring a large sun hat. There won't be any time when you'll need to get dressed up. Don't forget your swimsuit---their pool has great viewing, and we got to watch an impala across the river from it for about an hour!

3) Take binoculars, a big storage card for your camera, and lots of extra batteries.

This was the vacation of a lifetime---I'm sure you'll enjoy it, and I highly recommend Makanyane. It was one of the few places we've been where we really didn't want to leave to go home!

Mentioned in this post
Gaborone
Gaborone
South-East District, Botswana
Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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9,214 posts
63 reviews
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7. Re: Which one?

I have just retired from 18 years operating safaris - including

sending - and sometimes escorting - clients. I'm not a fan of the

Madikwe experience. There are spectacular camps there - but the

land is still, in my opinion, too obviously reclaimed farms and

uninteresting terrain at its best. Sabi Sands is, I think, the best

destination. I struggle to rationalize the charges at the top

lodges and camps, knowing what they pay their staffs.. but the

Western visitors pay these prices, and somehow they DO

rationalize it.

Hoorn, The...
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48 posts
56 reviews
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8. Re: Which one?

Have been to Madikwe Hills and Makanyane. Makanyane is absolutely my favourite, rooms are both very nice, Madikwe Hills more romatic with private pools, Makanyane more suprising with glass walls.

Makanyane is on the riverbank, Madikwe Hills on a koppie.

Both have good food, good game and good rangers.

If you are travelling with a family or small group another place to recommend is Morukuru Lodge; a private villa in the Madikwe Game Reserve.

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Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe Game Reserve
North-West Province, South Africa
SOUTH AFRICA
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9. Re: Which one?

bwanadave has given you the best advice!

10. Re: Which one?

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