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“It was absolutely amazingly GREAT!”

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Madikwe River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 April 2010

We had a great time, our driver, Takura was fantastic and very good. Great service and people. We hope to go back VERY soon! THANK U VERY MUCH! we rate it 7 stars!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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Thank FamilyB-Dcool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nick V, Internal Marketing Officer at Madikwe River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2016

Thank you for the positive feedback, we apologize for the inconvenience we may have caused you.

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154 - 160 of 202 reviews

Reviewed 21 September 2009

We had a fantastic time, brilliant.

Will be back soon, great staff, great entertainment and all around very friendly people.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank FrikkieK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nick V, Internal Marketing Officer at Madikwe River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2016

Thank you for the positive feedback, we apologize for the inconvenience we may have caused you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2009

You will be able to tell from all the other reviews that Madikwe River Lodge is a very special place and I can confirm that I agree with all that has been written. My (new) wife and I took a bit of a risk by going to Madikwe on our Honeymoon with our 3 year old boy. We had been advised previously that he would not be allowed on the game drives but we could arrange family game drives as an alternative. We were delighted to find that this was not necessary, as I prepared to leave on the first game drive leaving my son and wife waving goodbye, the ranger asked if anyone would have any complaints about them coming along, amazinigly no-one minded, infact they almost dragged them on the truck themselves. He absolutely loved the game drives every day and the ranger (Charles) was a hero throughout. I wanted to particularly mention this point about my son because I think trips like this are made extra special when places offer you things that are not on a menu or in the rule book, if it was possible at Madikwe, they would do it.
The park is absolutely amazing, the animals spectacular, the viewing 1st class. We loved the accommodation, the open-ness of the lodge and how relaxed it was. Even the local wild squirrel that visits everyday, sits on your shoulder waiting for some food.
We visited in June where the days are warm and still and the evenings are very cold and still. Coming from England this wasn't a problem for us but it did catch a few by surprise. Being a luxury lodge you get a quilted poncho on the drive but take the ski gear and layer up so that you can concerntrate on the beautiful sunrise and sunset and animals and not the hyperthermia.
I read somewhere that the bathrooms need updating, and depending on the luxury you enjoy at home this could be true. My wife and I reflect slightly differently, we think that if you can hear the sound of a male lion roaring and booming maybe 100 yards away while you brush your teeth, the bathroom is just perfect!!
We drove there from Joberg and stopped over in Sun City for a night the way there and back. It was a wonderful drive but the tarmac stops abruptly 30k's away from the park. You can either consider it a pain or get excited like we did that you are now approaching the wild.
Luxury living in and among the worlds wildest, deadliest, magestic and massive animals (in total safety). Loved it. Just book it, you wont be disappointed.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank YorkshirePercy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nick V, Internal Marketing Liaison Officer at Madikwe River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2016

Thank you for the positive feedback, we apologize for the inconvenience we may have caused you.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2008

Wow, just returned from our very first "safari" and we couldn't have enjoyed it more. We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children aged 11 and 14 visiting from Europe.
All the staff made us feel very welcome and our guide Eugene was great - especially with our 11 yr old who was very interested in what a lion and a tyranosaurus fight would be like. We had 3 nights here in total, but only 5 game drives as we missed the first afternoon cos we didn't allow time to get there from Sun City. It is further than you think!!! Eugene was really good in that he showed us not only the game, but also the flora and all sorts of birds. Our second day was a relatively slow game day, but thanks to the impala and the aforementioned birds all was not lost.
The morning and afternoon teas were scrumptious - the muffins are to die for and the Amarula and hot chocolate is out of this world.
We saw 4 of the Big 5 - the leopard being the shy one. I wasn't excpecting to see so many lions - and to hear them growling at night I was thankful for the electric fence surrounding us!!!
All in all - if you are thinking of going to Madikwe, then I can thoroughly recommend MRL - I would be back in an instant if I could!

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank trickyniki9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nick V, Internal Marketing Liaison Officer at Madikwe River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2016

Thank you for the positive feedback, we apologize for the inconvenience we may have caused you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2008

We are a South African Middle Aged couple and luckily the Lodge has excellent specials for S.A. residents making it affordable for us otherwise these lodges are generally aimed at the overseas market which is tragic in many respects but based on business and profit principles, I guess one has to accept it.
Some specifics:

THE ROAD:

The road from Abjaterskop gate to the lodge, 34 km in total, is totally and emphatically easily drivable in a standard car. I drive a luxury marque sedan and found there are only 2 or 3 areas where you need to be slightly cautious. It took us 45 minutes there, adhering to the 40km speed limit the entire time and enjoying our own private game viewing opportunity and 35 minutes when returning home.

THE LODGE:
The lodge is very remote but the signposting is good.
The lodge grounds are immaculate, and truly eco friendly in the heart of the Bush.
The welcome at the lodge was first class and the warm towel and drink was most welcome. Godfrey was efficient and made us feel like the only guests they had seen for a month. We since met Bertus and Karien the Husband and Wife general management team. They have been in the hospitality business for over 20 years and still have a tireless passion for there work.
The lodge itself is more spacious than it appears on the Internet pics. Lots of cozy chairs and areas to park off and not be bothered.
The 2 swimming pools will be wonderful in summer and the rock pool would be a great place to relax and cool off.

THE CHALET:

The chalet was totally comfortable and felt spacious even though we have stayed in many larger chalets. We had Room 1 which has an extended deck overlooking the River and on the opposite side a natural path animals take to drink in the River.
On arrival, we were soon accompanied by a family of vervet monkeys, one who was cheeky enough to steal an apple out of our room in what seemed like a spilt second.
That same evening I watched a bush baby romping in the tree tops outside our chalet and was amazed at his agility and the distance he could jump between branches. I took my own powerful spotlight which was a must do. My partner subsequently found 2 of them in our room on her return from dinner having some fun.
The lowered bath in the bathroom allowed you to view the surroundings, the monkeys at play and the tame bushbuck that grazes calmly around the property.
A real treat is the large family of relatively tame Banded mongoose that have made MRL there home. They gladly pose for photos and some of the braver ones accompany you for Brunch or dinner hoping to get some crumbs. Recently Animal Planet has made a documentary about this particular family.

THE SAFARIS
The game drives were excellent. We had Werner for all 4 days, a young man who had been at MRL for over 2 years and he was very accommodating in trying to make the game drives interesting and varied. We saw everything except the elusive leopard. We tracked Lions on 4 occasions and watched the courtship routine of 2 mating pairs. It was fun walking next to the river to view the hippo at play at quite close quarters. He had advised us it was safe as the bank was too steep for the Hippo to attack us. He had a lot of information on hand about the diverse animals we saw and the flora as well and I learnt a lot even though we are relatively knowledgeable about the African wild and the Bush.
There were always drinks and tasty biltong, nuts and dried fruit on the Afternoon drive and Coffee and Rusks on the Morning drive. Even when we stopped Werner was glad to impart some information about the Trees or dung heaps in the area including factual information about a 1000 year old Leadwood tree.

THE FOOD:
The brunches were excellent with good variety and more than enough food.
The dinners were ‘nouvelle cuisine”, i.e small portions. Although it is probably not that good to have a massive dinner before retiring to bed I thought the main course on the 2nd night was extremely meager. Advertised as Lamb Chops on a bed of potatoes and accompanied by vegetables was 1 single lamb chop on a single slice of potato and fried butternut… However there is still enough food as a rule as the High tea also offer Savoury and sweet snacks. Just don’t save yourself for supper!!

THE NEGATIVES-
The Mini Bar prices were so amazingly absurdly expensive I decided to write them down. The craziest one of all was a 250ml Bottle of wine for R70, this is about 600% profit. The Lodge bar prices are also 30-40% higher than what you would pay in a 4 or 5 star city hotel would charge. I made a comment to the General Manager but he steered clear of debating the point other than to say there prices are set by a higher authority. I have reviews on other places and in Asian resorts it is becoming a tendency for Hotels to charge reasonable Mini bar prices so as to eliminate people taking there own drinks into the room anyway.
PLEASE GUYS!!, there is no excuse or justification for these prices and believe me, even all the foreign dollar and Euro paying guests who were paying a whack just to stay there, were making negative comments.

Overall however, a great experience and certainly we are aiming at doing this again, but will make sure I take plenty of my own mini bottles of wine.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank gazzcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nick V, Internal Marketing Liaison Officer at Madikwe River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2016

Thank you for the positive feedback, we apologize for the inconvenience we may have caused you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2008

I brought my family here for three days in April.

Madikwe is a first class place to safari. The lodge is one of the oldest of the 32 in the Madikwe park, and has 16 cottages along a river (slightly sluggish and muddy but still a river). The lodge itself is great - soaring pitched thatch roof, lots of nice sitting areas, comfy, open, relaxed.

The lodge has a little plunge pool right in it, and a much nicer man made rock plunge pool about 50 yards away. It also has a fun bridge over the river and a party island for BBQs.

The chef, Julius, is first class, at times inspired, but always excellent. The wine list is great, as is the cocktail list. Lodge service is excellent, keen, cheerful, effective and smiley. There is a slowish wireless network in the lodge, and landline phones.

The cottages are comfy, with private river view terraces, but are a bit small and a little tired now. While you can stay in super-luxury cottages at some of the newer lodges, you will pay another £300-£700 a night for a nicer room, but the game reserve will be the same, so I think that MRL is the perfect compromise, for the cottages are well comfy enough.

The Madikwe reserve itself is a winner - 150,000 acres of bush and hill. In four game drives we had outstanding spots of lion, elephant, rhino, giraffe, and a myriad of smaller game. The game drives were beautifullly organised and managed, down to the fleece lined ponchos provided to warm the bones on a freezing April morning (it gets very cold!), which we noticed were unique to MRL - the land cruisers from the other lodges had no such comforts!

One note of caution. Whichever way you approach it, the last 40kms of the road to MRL are rough stony track, and are not passable in a road car (we tried). If you drive here you must have at least a land cruiser, and even then it is 5 hours from Pretoria to the lodge itself. Next time we will fly in - £90 each way right into the reserve, or you can helo into MRL itself.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank Coltbridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nick V, Internal Marketing Officer at Madikwe River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2016

Thank you for the positive feedback, we apologize for the inconvenience we may have caused you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2007

We have just returned from our trip to Africa and the highlight of our holiday was a visit to Madikwe River Lodge. This lodge is absolutely wonderful, the rooms (chalets) were large, clean and comfortable. They are very private and each one overlooks the river where we could see Warthog and Baboons playing on the other side from our room! We had monkeys on our verandah and really felt like were were in the middle of nowhere, but with all the facilities you could possibly wish for. The game drives were absolutely brilliant and our guide Ignatius was just a legend and knew the reserve backwards. We saw almost every animal we hoped for and were even "chased" down the road backwards in the truck by an elephant, it was soooo exciting and wouldn't have missed it for the world. Although a little frighening it added to the reality of being so close to nature and we fully trusted Ingatius and his professionalism and knowledge of the bush was amazing. The food was excellent, we throughly enjoyed the outdoor dinners with a truely African experience, from the staff singing and dancing to trying some of the traditional food....delicious. It was great to get to know the other guests who travelled on the same truck and shared meal times, a great bunch of people to spend some of our holiday with. I would recommend this lodge to anyone who is contemplating going. One final lovely touch was when we left, we were sent off on our jouney with a brown paper back containing bottles of water and fruit for the trip with a little goodbye note attached! What a thoughfful jesture! We can't wait to return!

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Carol&LeeW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Naledi1, Internal Marketing Liaison Officer at Madikwe River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 June 2016

Thank you for the positive feedback, we apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Madikwe River Lodge

Address: R24, Madikwe Game Reserve 2876, South Africa (Formerly Three Cities Madikwe River Lodge)
Region: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range: £407 - £564 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Madikwe River Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Madikwe River Lodge is positioned in the heart of Madikwe Game Reserve and offers attractive comfort in sixteen split level suites with an outdoor dining boma located on a central Island,accessed by a wooden bridge,this luxurious Lodge invites guests to enjoy the sights & sounds in mother Africa's land of brilliance. Surrounded by 75 000 hectares of malaria-free African sand veld.Each suites is individually decorated to create a rich African feel,and offers en-suites bathroom with a full range of guests amenities as well as a private wooden viewing deck overlooking the river. Madikwe Game Reserve, is world of breathtaking scenery and endless African bush. At Madikwe River Lodge the guided game drivers and trails are thrilling to be a part of with Africa offering you and incomparable experience in the wild. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Madikwe River Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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