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“Friends for Life” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Jamala Madikwe

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Jamala Madikwe
Certificate of Excellence
Pembroke Parish, Bermuda
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Friends for Life”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2014

I first fell in love with Africa in 2012. I had been hearing fabulous things about Jamlala for years so upon my return to Africa in 2014, I made Jamala my first stop in the bush. You know when people tell you how great something is and then you have this expectation, which is then let down by the reality if it all? My experience in this case was the polar opposite. Jamala surpassed everything! From the moment we (a group of 8 of us) stepped off the bush plane and were greeted by the staff, we were made to feel like family. You will learn more about the bush from head ranger Daniel on one drive than you ever thought possible. The level of care, service and attention to detail is outstanding. Everyone will know your name and be ready to accommodate your every waking need. The villas, each with their own plunge pool and outdoor shower, are so stunning that you will want to tack on a few extra days just so you can enjoy them to the fullest. The food prepared by Chef Prayer is heavenly, and you will surely want to take home a copy of Nico Verster's book, "Savannah to Sea." Owner, Rodney Steyn, is the consummate host and is now a friend for life, as evidenced by my sobbing on his shoulder when we hugged goodbye. Sobbing is actually putting it mildly - saying goodbye to everyone at Jamala was heart-wrenching; like something I have never experienced before. Bottom line, if you are planning a trip to Madikwe - Jamala is, hands-down, your #1 choice.

Room Tip: There are five identical villas, each as equally luxurious.
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JulesGunther
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nico V, Owner at Jamala Madikwe, responded to this review, 13 August 2014
Dear Jules Gunther
We are honoured that you chose Jamala as your 2014 Africa destination. We are so happy that you felt the magical Jamala welcome and we too consider you family and now life long friends.

Mexican train and Rose wine afternoons, are now a firm tradition and having converted two new sets of guests to such activities after your recent visit.

We are exceptionally proud of our staffs ability to impart knowledge about the African bush and its lesser know facts albeit dung spitting competitions (great photos btw).As for our level of service we strive to maintain for friends and newly acquired family.
We love that you would like to spend more time just experiencing the luxury of the lodge we eagerly await those 2015 dates. As proud recipients of the award for: Best Safari cuisine in Africa 2014 we are continuously evolving to bring you the best cuisine to match the level of our luxurious game lodge.
We look forward to you return
The Jamala-ian's
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269 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
Date | Rating
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English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 July 2014

There is something Magical about Jamala Madikwe, you cant quite put your finger on it. It was only on my second day, that I realised that there is not just one thing that makes Jamala Madikwe so incredibly special and memorable - its the many small parts that make up the whole.

The smiling staff, that cater to your every need, (mostly before you even know what that need is) No request was ever too big or too small, The food is out of this world, and Nico runs an incredible kitchen, and you can clearly see that every meal is the result of careful planning, and perfect execution.

The main area's of the lodge are tastefully decorated, and while stylish and beautiful, the main aim is total comfort and relaxation. I think we should create a hashtag for #sofasafari - the game viewing from the deck is second to none, you are guaranteed that there is always something interesting happening at the waterhole! There is nothing better than sipping a Gin & Tonic and watching the animals coming down to drink.

The Villa's are exquisite - again, all the small touches that Rodney & Nico have thought of, make it a place that you never want to leave. The care, thought and consideration that goes into the amenities kits, and the room drops is something I have not yet experienced at a lodge.
Jamala becomes a very beautiful home away from home, and it is easy to see why so many people leave there feeling like family, and already planning their next trip.

I have always been very biased when it comes to selecting lodges, opting to go for lodges in the better known safari areas, such as the Sabi Sands, Kruger and Hoedspruit areas, and now I know that I have done myself a disservice for many years. The game drives were probably the best that I have experienced in years of travelling to lodges (up to 15 trips a year)

Daniel is an exceptional guide, and really one of the best I have encountered on the African Continent – engaging with his guests in a way that I have yet to see from the likes of the Top Specialist Guides that are in the industry, locally and both across the border. He is kind and caring, and takes a genuine interest in the well being of his guests, and the manner in which he imparts his knowledge is done in a way to suit all levels of safari goers, from the first timers to the safari veterans like myself. I liked that fact that he was not just interested in spewing out facts on the big and hairy’s that most guests are interested in seeing, and I was very impressed that he took the time to focus on the little things too.

All in All - the Jamala Madikwe Experience (its not just a visit or a stay - it is an experience) is unparalleled, and I have serious doubts whether any other lodge can meet my new expectations.

Do yourself a favour, and book now - I guarantee you will not regret it, and you will leave feeling refreshed and part of an incredible family.

Room Tip: They are all INCREDIBLE - Each Villa is perfect!
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
2 Thank Antje M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nico V, General Manager at Jamala Madikwe, responded to this review, 2 August 2014
Dear Antje Mouton
We are so great full for your review, thank you.

We often feel the magic especially when guests experience the arrival TWO breeding herds of elephants over breakfast "I'm sure you remember that moment". As a team we strive to anticipate guest needs and nothing gives us more pleasure than knowing we achieved this goal.

Jamala was always meant to be a luxury oasis with a comfortable homely feel I am so glad you experienced it in this way. The #sofasafari is doing exceptionally well and the dry winter conditions have lead to a plethora of animals at the waterhole. We take great pride in the private luxury villa's and making every moment spent with us exceptional and memorable for our guests.

I am also incredibly happy that you and hopefully many more recognise Madikwe Game Reserve for its exceptional game viewing and diverse landscape:
-malaria free- 350 bird species - big5 - super7- 3 1/2 hours drive from O.R. Thambo.

An African Safari doesn't get more convenient or special than this.
Thank you for these great comments we hope to see you back at Jamala Madikwe soon x
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Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 June 2014

My wife and I spent 3 full days at Jamala as part of our two week South Africa trip, and our time here was certainly the highlight. The lodge - the villas (there are 5, we were in #1) and common areas are very well kept and attended and a study in what I would term "relaxed safari elegance." The villa we stayed in was large, comfortable, well stocked and tastefully appointed--not lacking in a thing for us. Rodney and Nico are wonderful hosts who are create a warm and inviting environment. The rest of the staff are also quite friendly and attentive without being overbearing. Excellent service. Under Nico's guidance the kitchen staff create meals that are just fantastic--much better than anything we expected in the bush. The twice daily game drives were always exciting, well organized, full of great game viewing and never disappointing (though keep in mind that the animals are not always cooperative or on your schedule - but we quickly saw the big 5, cheetah, hyena, wild dogs and more). Further, the watering hole located in front of the common areas allow for one to engage in a relaxing "sofa safari" between game drives. We highly recommend Jamala and will certainly return.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NOLADL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nico V, General Manager at Jamala Madikwe, responded to this review, 2 August 2014
Dear NOLADL
Thank you for this review, we really appreciate the term "relaxed safari elegance" just the style we are striving to achieve. I am so pleased you found the Villa's well stocked and tastefully appointed. Thank you for the kind comments on our cuisine we do take great pride in our gastronomy.

The Jamala Madikwe waterhole has become increasingly busy during dry season and this evening alone we have seen Lions with cubs, Elephants and Buffalo. The #sofasafari certainly lives up to it's name during May to August when there is very little water elsewhere in the park. The new Jamala "watch tower" now offers a new perspective and incredible views of these sightings at the water hole.

We thank you again and look forward to your return.
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park city utah
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 June 2014

We are experienced high end five star travelers and this unique property knows who to stand up to the best of African safaris. We stayed at Royal Malewane after this (did not hold a candle to Jamala). Singita Ebony is a beautiful resort, but Rodney and Nico at Jamala have it all topped. After a month traveling in Africa this will be the safari location that will remain in my memory. The rooms are over the top (best of all three other resorts). The dining room is like something "Out of Africa". The food is THE BEST. Wonderful variety, fresh ingredients, great surprises every day. The high tea snacks before the drive are just the right amount. It will always feel like my "home" in Africa. The lodge begins to feel like an extension of your room and the water hole is the absolute things that stands out from the other resorts. They all advertise a river or water hole. But at Jamala you can sit all day and watch herds of elephants, giraffe, lions, rhino's come and visit while you sit in a lounge chair with a cup of tea. You honestly are torn to leave and go on a drive because you may miss something at the resort. But, go on the drive...we literally saw all big five within the first 24 hours. We teasingly call ourselves "travel snobs" as when you enter the arena of five star resorts the competition is high and it all comes down to personalized attention to detail in EVERY area of your resort and Jamala Madikwe does it all perfect!!! Don't worry that it is not listed in every listing of the "top" safari locations. It is newer, but quickly gaining it's fame in this area...just won best safari food...congrats!!! Go now before everyone else finds out about it. It truly feels like a home and not a resort. Miss you guys. Hope to be back with my niece and sister in the next few years

Room Tip: All great rooms as the animals travel right in front of the rooms to get to the water hole.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
2 Thank kyrajim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nico V, General Manager at Jamala Madikwe, responded to this review, 6 June 2014
Hi kyrajim
Thank you for your appreciable review. We are thrilled that the experience at Jamala Madikwe was exceptional for you and that this will endure in your memory.
We strive to offer luxurious accommodation, exceptional cuisine and that awe inspiring sofa safari. I still recall the "Andrea-Borcelli-filled-evening" overlooking the starlit waterhole.

The Safari experience in Madikwe Game Reserve is always exciting however the lodges waterhole sightings including lions with cubs, hyena, leopard elephants and giraffe will always make the choice between sofa safari and game drive a difficult one.

The Jamala-ian's look forward to you return, your home in Africa awaits.
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2014

I stayed for four days in April. It was exquisite. The villas were so beautiful and the beds are so comfortable. I slept like a baby.

The attention to detail is something else. Every night a personalised message on the bed and menus had pics of the game we had spotted that day.

Our host Rodney was a treasure, nothing is too much trouble. The staff are so sweet and obliging and full of smiles. Every night the chef came to tell us very shyly what he had prepared. The food was beautifully plated and appropriate for a game lodge. Most memorable was the springbok fillet and the millionaires shortbread. Yum!

Best of all we saw every amimal under the sun. From a herds of 100 elephant to dwarf mongeese. I saw my first leopard and had unusual and interesting viewings of wild dogs and hyenas. Our ranger Daniel was patient, knowledgeable and full of fun.
I highly recommend this lodge. You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gillian K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rodney S, Owner at Jamala Madikwe, responded to this review, 15 May 2014
Dear Gillian K
Thank you so much for your lovely review and for noting the subtle use of imagery relating to your days viewing activities. We are so excited to have been able to show you your first leopard and an exceptionally rare wild dog sighting, these 2 are truly some of the most magnificent animals madikwe game reserve has to offer in addition to the big 5 frequently seen at the Jamala Madikwe waterhole.

We are truly honoured to have had you as our guest and look forward to a future visit with more great food and exceptional company.
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Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
50 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 May 2014

We stayed for 3 nights at Jamala Madikwe during out honeymoon and the safari experience couldn't get any better. The lodge is small (only 5 villas - villas are very spacious), beautiful and private, perfect for watching the various animals that attend the water hole from the deck, having some snaks and drinks. The staff couldn't be more attentive and food is amazing. Safari drives twice a day in a very well kept and organized reserve. I strongly recommend it!

Room Tip: Best to stay closer to the main lodge.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Eduardo I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rodney S, General Manager at Jamala Madikwe, responded to this review, 8 May 2014
Dear Eduardo
We thank you for this review.
I am so pleased you enjoyed your time at Jamala Madikwe. Jamala is a great spot for honeymoon as we are very private and romantic. The villas are large and very luxurious. The Jamala-ian's will be happy to hear that you enjoyed the service and ou award winning cuisine.
Thank you again
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mada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 May 2014

We stayed 3 nights at Jamala lodge and can only feel sorry we had to leave so soon. it is not often we have come across a perfect holiday place- Jamala is just that. everything and everyone at the lodge make you feel in an ideal setting, with lots of personal attention and great attention to detail. The lodge is beautiful and decorated with much taste. Rodney and Nico who run it have a very warm way with guests and they share their knowledge of the place and environment in a very nice way. The Safari ranger was also just perfect.
Will definitely go back anytime and hopefully soon!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank nathalie l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rodney S, General Manager at Jamala Madikwe, responded to this review, 8 May 2014
Thank You Nathalie
We always try and make every guest feel welcome and at home, our lodge is very small and intimate as you know and all the little details make for a great holiday. Thank you for the great review. The whole team looks forward to you returning to us in the future.
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Additional Information about Jamala Madikwe

Property: Jamala Madikwe
Address: Molatedi, North West Province, 2838, Madikwe Game Reserve 2838, South Africa
Region: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Jamala Madikwe 5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jamala Madikwe is an intimate and elegant safari lodge located within the 75 000 HA malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa's North West Province. Each of the five sumptuous and elegantly appointed suites offer private decks and rim-flow swimming pools. Madikwe is home to all of the Big 5 and most of Africa's top game species which includes a spectacular array of general game in addition to a very successful breeding program for the endangered wild dog. ... more   less 
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