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“Perfect introduction to safari life”

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Buffalo Ridge Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
220 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Perfect introduction to safari life”
Reviewed 30 April 2008

We recently stayed at Buffalo Ridge Lodge at Madikwe with another couple. The accommodation was extremely comfortable, the meals delicious (and not over the top) and the game drives informative and entertaining. The service overall was excellent - and it was made all the better an experience when we discovered Buffalo Ridge is owned and operated by and for the benefit of the local community. Moremi, our guide and the manager, was delightful as were the rest of the staff. We were lucky enough to see 4 of the Big 5 and wild dogs on our 3 night visit.
We would not hesitate to recommend this Lodge to other travellers.

  • Liked — Friendliness of the employees
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Expat_Kiwi_01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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150 reviews from our community

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  • Location
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Guernsey, Channel Islands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 20 November 2007

My Daughter, Wife and I have just returned from an unforgetable two night stay at Buffalo Ridge. The accommodation, food and service were second to none. My Wife celebrated her birthday on the second day of our visit, and on returning from the early morning game drive we went to our room, to find that the maid had decorated the bed with flowers, and seed pods arranged to read happy birthday. At high tea in the afternoon the staff appeared with a chocolate birthday cake, which we shared with all the other guests. After dinner in the evening the staff gave an impromptu performance of African tribal songs, including singing happy birthday to my Wife. All these little details made the trip one to remember for a very long time.
Our game driver Godfrey was brilliant. He managed, in our short stay, to find four of the big five for us, plus Hyaena and Wild Dog. Only the Leopard was missing from our Big Five tick box. His knowledge and humour were great and added that little something to the overall experience.
We are determined to return to Buffalo Ridge at some time in the future, to enjoy what I am sure will be another memorable experience.

  • Stayed November 2007, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank The-travel-junky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orlando, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
154 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 180 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 October 2007

We can't say enough about this wonderful place. The location, individual villas and views are superb. We loved the "treehouse lounge", which we enjoyed in the early afternoons between game drives. The staff was friendly and seemed to really concern itself with our enjoyment. The food is some of the best we have ever sampled. Prepared and presented in glorious fashion. Our ranger, Godfrey, was knowledgeable and accommodating. It helps that he also has a great sense of humor.
Another factor in choosing Madikwe is it's Malaria free. This was important to us as we did not want to chance sickness from the medication.
I know the some reviews have bashed Madikwe as a glorified Zoo (see Bawanna Dave). I can tell you, from our experience, that we never felt this and dissagree with that opnion. The place is huge. The rangers have the privllege of going off road to view game. This is opposed to the National Parks where you have to stay on the roads. The rangers also have a protocol where only 3 Range Rovers can view game at one site. I have heard Kruger can experience the Yellowstone "animial sighting traffic jambs". If you have been there (Yellowstone), you know what I am talking about.
We encountered 3 fresh Lion kills, and 4 of the big 5 plus many many other animals. Great close up pictures.
It also helps the Buffalo Ridge is run by a corporation set up by the local community. It keeps the revenue nearby.
We would love to experience Buffalo Ridge again, and hope someday we can go back,

  • Liked — Unique private villas with the
  • Disliked — We love it all!
  • Stayed September 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank runner24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Biella
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2007

The Buffalo Ridge Hotel is a marvellous place; it's setting, right on a ridge, gives it breathtaking views of the plains below it. The staff are extremely firendly an go out of their way to be heldful. The food is excellent; you can a sip of good wine and have the chance to watch wildlife coming to drink at the waterhole built just below the lodge.
The bungalows, only 8 of them, are superb; all details have been taken care of. The beds are incredibly confortobale and make it really hard to want to get up for the mornign game drive. The open shower needs some getting used to, but it is worth it.
We stayed two nights and didn't want to leave.

  • Liked — The scenery and the rooms
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank gnomaccio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Virginia, USA
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2007

I stayed at Buffalo Ridge in 2005 for a work trip and have always wanted to go back. My husband and I went to South Africa for a wedding in Franschoek (in the Winelands), and then flew to Madikwe for a 4 day, 3 night stay. The lodge is as wonderful as I remembered - the chalets are luxurious, especially the comfortable beds with high thread count sheets and down comforters, and the "outdoor" shower. While in the shower one morning, my husband saw elephants walking on the ridge across from the lodge. The staff members are all very sweet and friendly. The food is exceptional and reliably well prepared and beautifully presented. We enjoyed ostrich one evening and it was done to perfection, tender and flavorful. There is a wide variety of food served at the meals and all were great. They also have a nice selection of South African wines. The early morning game drives are worth every moment of lost sleep - we saw lions, rhinos and elephants within 10 minutes of each other. You can enjoy hot coffee or tea during a stop on the morning game drive. There are also evening game drives and we requested a half bottle of wine to enjoy during the evening stop. (You get a free drink, but must pay for the wine - very reasonable and worth it.)

If you are looking for one reason to choose one lodge over another in Madikwe, Buffalo Ridge is run by the local community and all profits go back into the community. Another reason we chose Buffalo Ridge over Tuningi is because Buffalo Ridge does not allow children under 12. (We love children, but because we do not have children of our own, we prefer to stay at places where the children allowed are a little older or are adults only accommodations.)

To get to Madikwe, you can drive from Johannesburg (3 hours) or from Gaborone, Botswana (30 minutes), (but you do have to cross the border, so be sure to ask the rental car company if that is a problem). There are also hired cars that can drive you across the border (sorry I don't have any recommendations on that one). You can also get to Madikwe by flying Federal Air, a charter company, from Johannesburg directly to the Madikwe airstrip. The flight is amazing and you may even see a herd of elephants walking across the plains. And landing on a dirt airstrip in the bush is very cool - especially when a kudu is crossing!

I have also been to Krueger and it is wonderful too. While I saw a greater variety of wildlife at Krueger, I saw a larger number of animals at Madikwe.

I have been on safaris in South Africa in July and in April. In July, because it South Africa's winter, there are no leaves on the trees and you can easily see the wildlife. However, it can get cold (especially on the morning game drives, so bring long underwear!). During the day in July, it is warm and you may even need a short sleeved shirt. During April, their autumn, the days are very warm and sunny (warm enough to be in a bathingsuit by the pool, though the water was pretty cool). There are still leaves on the trees and harder to see the animals. I did not see nearly as many animals during my April trip as I saw during my July trips. However, the weather was much nicer and I only needed a fleece for the game drives.

If you go one place in your lifetime, go to Africa.

  • Liked — The beautiful and unique chalets, great beds and "outdoor" shower.
  • Disliked — Nothing! It was wonderful!
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank BrightStar43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2007

We are now a month back from paradise and loss is still as fresh!!

Buffalo Ridge is heaven on earth for those who want an ‘away from it all’ romantic adventure. Nestled in on the North West Botswana border, the park stretches as far as the eye can see with acacia thorn savannah.

Buffalo Ridge sits snugly on a ridge, its eight private chalets overlooking this jaw dropping wild country full of wild beasties. Something to remember is that of all the lodges in Madikwe, this is the only one with no fences. One afternoon after lunch, we were off down to our chalet (the last) and an enormous bull elephant was standing just a meter off the path. He proceeded to spend the afternoon around our chalet standing on trees and having lunch. Where else can you be having your morning shower (after an exhilarating game drive) and have baboons staring back through the glass, a herd of elephants crashing down the mountain and two rhinos having breakfast in a clearing, all in front of you…

The best thing about Buffalo Ridge is not just that you are sooooo well looked after, wined and dined with the finest South Africa has to offer, or that this place is teeming with wildlife… No, its that the place is owned by the local Botswena community, and it is they who do everything to make this place what it is. After dinner on two occasions, all hands were on deck for impromptu and wonderfully harmonious song and dance.. ‘Do they do this on cue?’ I asked the managers. ‘Nup, only when they feel like..’ came the reply. Magic. These people really want you to have an amazing experience and can’t do enough to help.

There are two game drives a day to choose from, a dawn breaker at 5:30am and another which leaves at 4:30pm, both offering a different set of wildlife possibilities. In between you can lap up the gorgeous cuisine (course after course after..) soak up some rays and grab an iced beer by the pool overlooking the bush, or wander back to your own little thatched luxury and lie on the most divine bed ive come across and just gaze out your window at Africa.

The lodge is about 4 hours by car from Jo-burg (which we drove) on good motorways (about five different tolls must be paid! The most being about 50 Rand) . But if doing again Id probably get a cheap internal flight from Jo-burg to Gabarone (capital of Botswana) and jump a cab which should only take about 20mins from there (you can see the lights sparkling in the distance whilst on the return drive at night). Or jump on a scheduled daily flight straight there from Jo-burg Intl (Whoops Tambo Intl!)..

Dave and Erica are the managers of Buffalo Ridge and are there too make sure you have a first class experience. As they say ‘We work for the locals, and we would rather be no-where else, we love it.’ I reckon that says it all and hope that sometime soon I can again hear Godfrey, the lodge’s chief tracker, lean back on the landrover and say to my wife ‘Anne, whats that?’…Steinbock!

  • Liked — The view and that bed!
  • Disliked — That we couldnt 'accomodate' ourselves there longer
  • Stayed February 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Mad-Moa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kent
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 January 2007

A truly wonderful and unforgettable experience. The setting was perfect, rooms and public areas spotlessy clean, food superb and in abundance and most importantly a fantastic group of staff whose kindness and generosity of spirit showed no bounds. Our game drives were fantastic and we spotted all but the leopard (!) during our 4 day trip. We are desperate to return.

  • Liked — Everything!!
  • Disliked — No telephone contact from rooms
  • Stayed December 2006, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank SarahKent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Buffalo Ridge Lodge

Property: Buffalo Ridge Lodge
Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Region: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3 star — Buffalo Ridge Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 8
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