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“Amazing!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Impodimo Game Lodge

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Impodimo Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
44 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Amazing!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 December 2009

We were part of a large group traveling in South Africa. There were 20 of us at Impodimo and we occupied every room/chalet there. The experience we all had was out of this world!! The first night when out on the game drive a storm came in but we were able to continue our drive in the rain. On the drives we were able to see kudu, impala, zebra, elephants, lions, cape buffalo and several diferent birds and smaller animals. Our guide and tracker made every effort to find the animals were were hoping to see and they did a fantastic job! The staff in the lodge were also a big part of making the experience so wonderful. They were all so kind, they could not have done a better job! When we weren't on the game drives the lodge and the rooms are the most beautiful places to relax in. From the pool we saw kudu, zebra and elephants. We woke up in the morning to the noises of elephants and birds all around. We did not want to leave!!!

  • Stayed December 2009
    • 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?
1 Thank BlueTravelers006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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334 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
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
County Durham, England
Level Contributor
53 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 November 2009

Madikwe Game Reserve is right on the Botswana border, so getting there involves a drive of four hours or more north west from Johannesburg - we did this by a minibus-style taxi service (we were the only passengers) arranged for us by Trailfinders, whom we had used to book our entire trip. This drive is on excellent road all the way and our two drivers, one taking us there and the other coming back, were both first rate.

Once at the Park, Impodimo is one of the more accessible lodges. Others would take longer to reach because the Park is large, covering 75,000 hectares. In the area within reasonable reach of Impodimo there is a good variety of landscape types, including some quite dense bush, a lot of more open and thinly covered bush which is good for game viewing, some fine, rocky hills and several watering holes. There is a river in the Park but it is too far from Impodimo to be realistically reachable on a typical game drive, so this might disappoint anyone who especialy wanted to see hippos or crocs. We had seen both on a visit to Zambia some years earlier, so this was not an issue for us.

We did have some particular 'hope-to-see's, though. We had seen lions before but not leopard, and we were also very interested to learn more about South Africa's birds, which are wonderfully varied and often under-appreciated by safari visitors. We therefore needed a really good team in terms of guide and tracker - and we certainly struck lucky! Cornell, who is in charge of the lodge with his fiancee Lyne (pronounced Lynnay) but was also our guide on all our game drives, was able to identify birds for us with enormous skill. And Patrick, one of only two Master Trackers in the whole of South Africa, is astonishing. As a team they are brilliant. We'll never forget the moment when they spotted the 'yellow morph' - the very rare variant of the crimson-breasted boubou that has perhaps the brightest and most beautiful yellow colouring on its breast of any bird anywhere in the world. It was a stunning moment and both Cornell and Patrick were cheering!

For those who want a list, we saw lion, elephant, giraffe, kudu, hartebeest, steenbuck, klipspringer, impala, wildebeest, gemsbuck, wild dog, hyena, jackal, zebra and rhino, as well as over 80 species of bird. We had not realised that wild dogs are among the most endangered animals in Africa, so to see a group of fourteen including puppies was a thrill. And yes, on our last morning we saw a leopard - and I am not embarrassed to admit that we found that so emotional we both shed a few tears. Magic.

Some of the lodges within the Park advertise the opportunity to see cheetah, which I feel is a bit misleading. There is now, sadly, only one cheetah in Madikwe, the last survivor of an originally introduced group that has been gradually reduced by the competition from lions and leopards - and the decision has been taken that it would be unwise to try again, so let's be honest and say that you are fairly unlikely to see a cheetah. But the other riches are so exceptional that you can hardly complain!

In terms of the basics, the central lodge itself is very comfortable and the individual cabins in the grounds, in thatched local style, are delightful. There is currently only accommodation for 18 people (this may be about to rise to 21 but no further) and by being so small this makes for a very personal experience. We particularly appreciated the good washing facilities, with both indoor and outdoor showers, twin basins and bath. Everything was immaculately clean and, by the standards of our previous experience in the continent, extraordinarily bug-free. The double beds are a really good size, a factor that can be of real importance if the weather is very hot! Each cabin has an outside deck with comfortable chairs from which game or bird viewing is easy.

The swimming pool at the lodge is not large although it is attractively designed with an infinity edge and a small cliff below. Beyond it, game can be watched quite regularly - we watched kudu and klipspringer there for considerable lengths of time, and zebra briefly. Elephants are taller, and it was entertaining to see them come and reach their trunks up to take a drink - though that could give you second thoughts about swimming!

All in all, this was a magical experience in an extremely beautiful place. We say huge thanks to Cornell, Lyne and all the team - and also to our cheerful companions on the game drives, Tom, TJ and John, who were very kind in not minding doing some bird-spotting as well as animal-viewing! Thank you all.

Oh, and by the way, to the one or two people who have complained about the presence of children - how can we educate our children to appreciate wildlife and care about it if they are not allowed to see it? When we first arrived there were two ten-year-old girls there on a special treat with their grandparents - and they were adorable.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 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?
1 Thank North-easterner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
89 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 November 2009

What an incredible place!!! The Impodimo raises 5-star to an even higher scale with their comfortable chalets and delightful meals. We lacked for nothing as staff were attentive to our every need. The lodge is a perfect safari place with rangers and trackers who are devoted to finding the 'big 5' for their guests. We saw lions every trip out and elephants on every safari except one and it was great fun watching elephants march through the bush behind our chalet as well as seeing all the other animals come and go. We loved sleeping under mosquito netting (even though there aren't any mosquitos in the area) and showering outdoors. We had a wonderful time and highly recommend the Impodimo.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 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?
Thank isenhourturner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
90 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 November 2009

So long as you choose a a form of accomodation that suits you, you cant spend your time in a better place than in the bush. Although it's to do better when in South AFrica than choosing a Sabi Sands Bush and this would always be the choice of purists, theres a lot to be said about Madikwe. Its and hours and half closer to Johannesburg where we live and a huge plus in summer months is that it is Malaria free. With small children this is a massive relief. I prefer not to take malaria pills if in a malaria area and while this is ok if one is responsible and used lotions religiously and cover potential area of bites such as ankles, this wont work with kids. Mpodimo is like any of the good lodges... a bit of research will point you in the direction of the better lodges as with the refernces in TripAdvisor. KIds are made to feel very welcome and although this is not a beach resort, there are actvities for the little ones. For some reason our family preferred the communal pool here as apposed to private pools that we have had at other lodges. As is was now summer, it was great to be able to spend the day at the poolside after breakfast until departing on the evening game drive. There are many more expensive lodges but this is more than adequate and qualifies easily for a 5 star rating. The meals were simple but delicious, fresh and tasty. Staff were polite and friendly. If this is one of your options. Take it!. An added bonus and a great for the kids to see was elephants coming to the pool throughout the day for some water. It is however an unfenced camp so a little bit of caution is required when walking around. Take sun cream for use all day and a thin sweater for coll morning and evenings when on game drives. Worry about nothing else. We saw game a plennty all the time. The rangers will genrally be able to find something interesting to see on a drive.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • 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?
1 Thank jeff1996
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Banchory
Level Contributor
82 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2009

Impodimo was absolutely perfect for us. The lodge was superb and because it is unfenced the animals came right in so we had elephants drinking from the pool. The staff at the lodge were very helpful and the food was good with plenty of it. We had one room for the four of us, which was a bit tight for space, but we didn't spend much time there so it was fine.
The best part for us were the game drives. The 3 nights at Impodimo were our chance for Big 5 safari as part of a 17 day trip to South Africa, so that was the importnat bit for us. Our ranger Corniel and our tracker Patrick were great - very knowledgable and extremely helpful. Overall a fantastic experience and I would highly recomend Impodimo.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • 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?
Thank SmartieBanchory
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aberdeen
Level Contributor
69 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2009

Great luxury, fabulous food, knowledgeable and friendly staff. Great to be so near the game, with elephants walking past the door and pushing the kids out of the pool for a drink! Great game safaris with Cornel who seemed to know everything! Coffee in the bush was a surprise and welcome, but sundowners in the bush was awesome!

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LionaAberdeen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Narrabri, NSW
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 October 2009

The location is magic and the staff made this an experience we will never forget. They literally could not do enough for us and to top it all off, they moved us to cabin 2 which over looks the waterhole. From the comfort of our private balcony we watched herds of elephants, a troop of baboons and lone kudu come to drink - we could not believe our luck. Elmon, our tracker and Travis our driver were wonderful... we can't wait to head back.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 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?
Thank Flashpacker68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Impodimo Game Lodge

Property: Impodimo Game Lodge
Address: Wonderboom Gate, Madikwe Game Reserve 2874, South Africa
Region: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Impodimo Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On a rugged dolomite ridge overlooking a vast African wilderness, you will find a hidden treasure called Impodimo. Taken from the Tswana words Mpho Dimo, Impodimo means a gift from God, and is truly a slice of heaven on earth. Rise in the morning to an African dawn and enjoy an early morning game drive with your dedicated professional ranger. Relax as your ranger guides you through the bush on a custom made open Land Rover, searching out the Big 5 or the smaller secrets of nature. Set out on a foot safari with your armed ranger and learn the secrets of tracking African game or just enjoy the trees, birds and stunning scenery. Return from the excitement of the bush to a sumptuous breakfast or brunch and then relax at the pool or the sala overlooking the waterhole where game may come to quench their thirst. In the afternoon, when the heat of the African sun has diminished and the shadows are longer, head out again on a sundowner safari, where you will stop to watch the sun set on this bushveld paradise and enjoy your favourite sundowner drink. Once the sun has set and darkness descends, set off again for a night safari where the more nocturnal creatures now rule the bush. Return to the lodge where you will be treated to the finest Pan-African cuisine with your hosts in the open air boma, and share your days adventures, while you enjoy a night cap around the fire. Impodimo Game Lodge is set along a rocky ridge commanding stunning vistas of the reserve. It is also located at the source of a natural spring, which provides the lodge with elevated views as well as riverine serenity. The lodge offers dawn and dusk safaris. The safaris are carefully timed to ensure optimal seasonal comfort. Whilst Impodimo has 10 suites, its capacity is 16 guests. Each of the suites have been carefully positioned to ensure absolute privacy. Spacious in design, each includes a closed system fireplace, climate control air conditioner, mini bar fridge, tea & coffee making facilities and full en-suite bathroom and outside shower. Your private deck allows uninterrupted views of the Madikwe Game Reserve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Impodimo Game Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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