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A Big 5 Safari experience in Madikwe Game Reserve  
Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province is fast becoming one of South Africa’s prime safari destinations. As one of the largest game reserves in South Africa, it offers Big 5 game viewing in a malaria free zone. Since I hadn’t been up that side of the country before, I figured I would take a weekend to visit.


A bad choice of flight left me very little time to collect my hired car and race out of Johannesburg city before the afternoon peak traffic congestion. Slipping out just as the congestion started, I had 3 ˝ hours easy drive on good tarred road to get to the western entrance to Madikwe Game Reserve at Wonderboom gate. The friendly security guard at the gate greeted and welcomed me. After signing in, I entered the game reserve and enjoyed my own little game drive en route to my lodge where I would stay for a night. Ah! How nice it was to be back in the bush! Peace and quiet!

On arrival at the beautiful Impodimo Game Lodge , Steve, the owner, gave me a warm welcome, offering a cool cocktail to quench my thirst. The security guard at Wonderboom Gate communicated my arrival to Impodimo Lodge so Steve was at the entrance to lodge waiting for me when I arrived. My luggage was transferred to my luxury suite and Steve gave me a quick orientation tour of the lodge.


Impodimo Game Lodge game drive


Impodimo Game Lodge suite


Impodimo Game Lodge game drive

My late arrival meant I missed the afternoon game drive and sundowner drinks in the bush. All game lodges are booked on an all inclusive basis, including all meals, 2 game drives per day and some lodges include drinks. My pre dinner drinks were enjoyed on the balcony overlooking the open plains of woodland and grassland below. A popular waterhole near the lodge kept us entertained as game strolled in to drink. A delicious dinner was enjoyed in a traditional boma, our dinner tables placed around a roaring bon fire under the clear African sky.

The unfenced camp meant that I required an escort to my room by an armed game ranger. What luxury! I felt like a real lady! My luxury suite had its own private deck looking onto the open game area, a large colourful four-poster double bed draped with mosquito netting, a beautiful bathroom and a great outdoor shower.

An early morning wake up call had me jumping up in excitement. It had been years since I was last in the bushveld surrounded by game. I was looking forward to the open vehicle game drive. We enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and some delicious snacks before heading out on the drive. Roddy, our chatty game ranger ensured that we enjoyed a great gaming experience with spottings of lion, elephant, hyena, black rhino, black backed jackal and numerous very colourful birds species.

We returned to the lodge to enjoy a full buffet breakfast attractively arranged in the bar area at the swimming pool. As we sat down with our first serving, a small herd of elephants strolled up to the swimming pool just a few metres away from us and started drinking out of the pool. Wow! What an encounter! Who needs a game drive when you can sit in comfort at the lodge and watch the game come to you?

I decided to vary my stay in Madikwe by including 2 different lodges to stay at. After breakfast at Impodimo and a bit of time with the ellies, I then made my way to Mateya Lodge , a 5 star experience like no other! With immaculate attention to detail, the lodge is intricately designed, has magnificent arts and crafts from all over Africa and offers 6 star service! Exquisite!


Mateya Safari Lodge boma dinner


Mateya Safari Lodge art work


Mateya Safari Lodge suite

On arrival I was welcomed with hot hand towels and an exotic cocktail, my hired car driven to the car park and my luggage carried to my suite. I was invited in for lunch on the deck overlooking open plains and a water hole where game roamed freely.
After lunch, I was lead along a raised wooden walkway to my private suite. It was more like a house! It was huge! The spacious, beautifully decorated bedroom opened up to my own private deck and plunge pool overlooking the open plains where the game roamed. The bathroom, almost the size of the bedroom, complete with all the luxuries fit for a queen!

After a quick nap in the comfort of my suite and a dip in my private plunge pool, I joined the rest of the guests at the lodge for high tea. Aware of the 5-course dinner that awaited us in the evening and having already enjoyed 2 large meals today, I struggled to taste some of the delicious looking snacks at high tea! The atmosphere was ignited with excited chatter between the game ranger and the other guests. Being foreigners they had not experienced the Africa wildlife before and were enthusiastic about the afternoon game drive, which would take place after high tea.

Equipped with binoculars, mammal and bird books and an experienced game ranger we set off in our open 4x4 safari vehicle for our afternoon drive through the reserve. Our spottings were excellent and included sightings of lions, elephants, a leopard on a kill, a small family of bat eared foxes and hyena. My 300 zoom lens allowed some good close up photos. After the drive we all gathered for dinner on the deck and shared our excitement of our days sightings. The meal was exquisite and the company was fun, drinks flowed until late in the evening.

After a good night’s sleep I took some time to enjoy the luxuries of my suite. Top quality bath products in a steaming bubble bath had me lulled to a light sleep. A luxury skin lotion pampered my body and prepared me for a new day.
Breakfast was yet another magnificent display of good food, a huge selection of tasty things to choice from.

My time in the lap of luxury had come to an end. I had a plane to catch to get me back home by the evening. “Farewell until next time” I said!



Your Southern Africa Travel Experts !

Contact us now to put together your vacation package to Southern Africa.

Travel Idea:
Combine this Big 5 safari experience with another big 5 reserve offering a uniquely different experience, Marakele or Welgevonden Game Reserves .

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