This week we've been finalising the itinerary for a very loyal German couple (their third trip with us in as many years!). It's always a pleasure to be booking Madikwe Game Reserve, most especially The Bush House there.
The Bush House is a most unusual safari lodge: it’s an old building by Madikwe standards, having been a farm house many years ago before Madikwe became the reserve it is now. It’s also owner-managed by Sue and her team, which again is most unusual at this standard (four star) and hosts only six rooms, which makes the whole experience much more personal than larger lodges without affecting your privacy.
Whilst being right in the middle of the reserve, the lush gardens (including a swimming pool appropriately sized to the number of guests) of the property give way to the reserve where you get the impression that the animals are almost on the lawn. You can walk without a ranger inside the fenced section of the property any time you like and in addition, two game drives into the reserve are included in your rate per day. We’d recommend trying out the underground hide which looks out over a local waterhole and has been specially reinforced to take the weight of any animal (including elephants) that cross it. You can access the hide 24 hours a day from the gardens which makes for fascinating game viewing as you’re completely hidden from the animals’ view.
Madikwe is a partially privately owned and community owned public park. However, most of the lodges within it are privately owned, with one or two being community owned establishments. It’s very large, being the fifth largest park in the country but because of its relatively remote location (it’s actually almost on the border with Botswana) it doesn’t get the column inches that it deserves (even though it's actually closer to Joburg than Kruger).