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“A Lodge of Paradoxes”
Review of Tau Game Lodge

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Tau Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 April 2012

I don't often like to write negative reviews but this Lodge really needs a reality check. There were some excellent attributes and absolutely terrible ones at the same time. The good ones were:
The staff were very friendly. The game drive vehicles were in excellent shape. The Lodge is well laid out and the gardens etc are excellent. The extra activity on offer was excellent including the baby sitters and childrens play area. Loved the alfresco dining and found our ranger to be very friendly.
The other side of the coin however weighed this down very heavily. I travel to many destinations in Africa and this has to be the most disappointing Safari I have ever experienced for a high price tag. The animal count was the lowest I have ever experienced anywhere. We drove around the same area for 4 days and could not get our ranger to take us into a different area despite asking. Our viewings at each sighting we came to were between 2 minutes and 10 minutes at most. This is completely unacceptable and needs to be seriously addressed. The radio chatter between the rangers was very disturbing and I would very strongly recommend that headsets are installed in the vehicles so that guests do not have to listen to all the interruptions. After all, we are trying to get away from it all.
Then there were the rooms. These are not 5 star rooms despite there being a 5 star certificate on the wall in the lobby. They are small and poky. The mosquito net makes things even worse and when you have to get up during the night you are constantly tripping over the net. I have slept in bigger tents!! The bathrooms are also very small and the outdoor shower although whimsically impressive is not the greatest idea on a cold morning. The luxurious corner bath has a plug bang in the middle of the bath with a nipple sticking out. When trying to relax in the bath that nipple fits snugly you know where!! Then there is the noise caused by the luggage trollies going past the room every afternoon. No peaceful afternoon sleep between game drives for anyone!
And then there was the food! I have a serious food allergy and despite bringing along an alternative replacement product for my allergy it was not used at all during my stay. I did not get dessert on any night because all the desserts except the fruit salad had egg (yes) in it. The venison that was served tasted like bits of cardboard on one night and the next night like bits of leather. It took the kitchen 25 minutes to produce two poached eggs (for my husband). And then my favourite pet-hate, every night the starter was soup and the first two nights the soup was really not good. Can chefs in Lodges not come up with a better starter than soup?

Room Tip: Ask for the rooms at the end of the row so that you don't have to listen to the luggage trollies...
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank christine l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 April 2012

Review - Tau game lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

We had an amazing 3 nights at Tau. (3/March/12 to 6/March/12). We had excellent animal experiences on each game drive. We selected Tau based on
1. Malaria free zone
2. Kid friendly 
3. Would do some animal experiences for our children 2 and 5 years old.
4. TA reviews 

We would recommend tau to other families. On the first afternoon we did not go on game drive to give our kids a chance to recover from a full day of travelling. The lodge is a 3.5-4 hour drive from Johannesburg airport. While we were having sundowner drinks on the deck, a herd of elephants came to have a drink with us!  The Tau lodge is built around a large waterhole and we saw elephants, impala, waterbuck, zebra and many other animals at the waterhole every day. Tau's waterhole is unique and gives amazing animal experiences without being in a vehicle. One elephant spent 3 hours in the waterhole one day while we were having lunch. 

Our children did not come on the daily game drives with us. We had two game drives a day for 3 hours each. Our guide Grant was fabulous and incredibly knowledgable about all of the different animals and birds. After returning from morning game drive (6am-9am during our stay, times depend on season), we had a full lodge breakfast. 

We then accompanied our kids for a one hour bumble drive. The bumble drives tries to show the kids a few animals and birds keeping in mind their safety, inability to stay quiet and inability to sit still as long as adults. Over the 3 bumbles drives (one each day) our kids saw:
- giraffe, elephants, waterbuck, warthog, bird life, baboons, monkeys, dassie, mongoose, impala, buffalo, wilderbeast, crocodile, 

During our drives, the kids had a lovely babysitter Maria. She kept them company, entertained them fed them and took them to the "Cubs Club Room". The cub room has a large selection of to do items for the kids including painting, hula hoops, books, and toys. We paid an hourly baby sitting fee for Maria whilst we were on drive. The fee is per family per hour.  The kids are also made to feel very welcome on arrival with a welcome letter and backpack full of goodies waiting on their bed. 

Our afternoon drive departed at 5pm and returned at 8pm. Upon return we then sat down to dinner with our ranger and the other guests staying at the lodge. 

We had 5 drives over the 3 nights we stayed. If we had arrived a little earlier to the lodge on our first day, we would of had 6 game drives over the 3 night stay.  During our drives we saw a large amount of wildlife, and each drive was different going to different sections of the park and seeing different animals. We saw: the big 5, giraffe, elephants, mongoose, white rhino, zebra, leopard, 2 separate packs of female lions , including one pack feeding their cubs, impala, wilderbeast herds, kudu, steenbuck, warthog, baboons, hare, lots of birdlife, and lots more. 

The family accommodation was a king bed for the adults and a fold out sofa bed lounge for the kids to sleep on together. Both beds had mosquito netting which was mainly used to keep the moths away. The whole family enjoyed the outdoor shower. 


Tips
1. If driving from Johannesburg use the toll roads and have cash ~R100 (total) for the 4 separate toll booths. 
2. If you don't want to do the drive, fly to Gabaronne Botswana and then drive ~ 1 hour plus border crossing time to Tau. Tau is just inside then south African border with Botswana. 
3. Stay at least 2 nights. It gives you more time to locate the different types of game. We think our 3 night stay was a perfect duration. We spent 1.5 hours on one drive watching 3 lionnesses  prepare to attack a zebra to feed their 8cubs. They were unsuccessful but it was amazing to watch the stalking, setup, planning and failed attack by these animals. 

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Fernleamum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2012

We spent the most wonderful part of our South African trip at Tau Game Lodge in Madikwe Game Lodge. It was exciting, restful and adventurous all in one. The staff at Tau is among the most hospitable I've ever encountered. That includes all of the housekeeping, food service and the Rangers as well. Gerard was our guide and he went to great lengths to make sure we saw and identified as much wildlife, plants life and trees as possible. It is located at a watering hole which makes every minute and every hour interesting and exciting as elephants, zebra, warthogs and more parade by your vantage point throughout the day and night. Once out in the field with a Ranger the whole world of African wildlife opens! I highly recommend this as the best wildlife experience available in South Africa!

Room Tip: Rooms 1 and 2 - the family suite - exceptionally nice! But all rooms have a view and a veranda.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Dan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

We spent one night here on 17 March 2012 and my advise is that one night is far too short! The lodge and its staff were amazing. Our ranger, Ernest (Ernie) was fabulous: very knowledgeable and he went out of his way to track down lions and wild dogs. The barman, Morgan, was a great guy who knew exactly when to refill our glasses. As it was my husband's birthday, all the staff of the lodge sang a tswane birthday song for him as a surprise and presented him with a lovely cake. When we arrived, we were 'greeted' by a rhino at the waterhole while we were sitting at our porch. Fantastic. We will definitely be back but then for longer!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 10 and the view of the waterhole and all the animals we saw was amazing
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jolandavanDijk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2012

Ive been to quite a few private lodges throughout Southern Africa, but this was my first trip to Tau or Madikwe. The lodge is gorgeous, the staff attentive, and the rooms very comfortable. In the 3 hours I was there before the first game drive, we saw all kinds of game in the waterhole from my room's porch, including a large bull elephant having a playful bath 25 feet from me. IT was a great way to start the trip. The park is beautiful, and we saw lots of game with the help of a bright young ranger. The food was excellent except one piece of kudu that was a little tough, but the ranger heard about that and took it upon herself to provide the feedback directly to the chef-- I thought that showed initiative, attentiveness, and dedication, and made me more fond of the lodge than if everything had been perfect. To top it all off, I changed my travel plans home last minute, and had to get a set of keys to Gaborone; when I asked the manager, Markus, if there might be a way to send it from the lodge, he without hesitation offered to courier it there himself, saying he as thinking about visting a friend there anyway! A one hour drive both ways with a border crossing, and he would accept nothing for his trouble. This is service unlike any I have ever experienced at any hotel I have ever stayed at. I would recommend Tau to anyone from a frequent bush traveler to a first-time safari visitor. It was truly memorable, and I will be back.

Room Tip: They all overlook the water hole, so all are good
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank adl8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2012

Spent 2 night in a Deluxe (i.e. slightly larger) cabin with my wife and our 2 kids. Friendly welcome with personalised gifts (also for the kids).

Excellent game drives (twice daily 3 hours each) in the Madikwe resort which is much quieter than Kruger since only residents are allowed in the resort. Saw 4 of the big 5 in one drive!

Breakfast is excellent, lunch and diner simple but fresh and well tasting.

Friendly people, we can only recommend Tau!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank MikeDAmsterdam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2011

I'll start off by saying I loved Tau and the Madikwe Reserve. We went on an early morning and evening game drive each day, and I loved the expertise of our ranger and the many many animal sightings we had. I would guess this safari sighting experience would be similar at any of the lodges in the park. HOWEVER, the groups of Tau lodge and the exceptional quality and service made the weekend even better. Even the bed linens were super soft. I've been to all inclusive places before, but in this case the website photos actually matched my experience. I will definitely be recommending Tau lodge to friends who travel in the area.

Room Tip: All of the rooms face the waterhole so they are all built with an exceptional view.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank Katie278
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tau Game Lodge

Address: Madikwe Game Reserve 2581, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range: £501 - £676 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Tau Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tau Game Lodge is a 5 star Game lodge Situated in “Big 5”- Malaria Free Madikwe Reserve. Accessible by scheduled flights, or a 4 hour drive from Johannesburg. Each of the chalets ensures privacy with its own viewing deck, the main lodge offers a Curio shop, Swimming pool as well as a lounge, bar, and dining area, all partially outdoors.The convention centre offers state-of- the-Art meeting facilities. At The Spa Oasis, guests are offered rejuvenating spa treatments, surrounded by the beauty of the African Bush. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tau Game Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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