Africa Hotel Reviews HOTELS, RESORTS & CAMPS

HOTEL REVIEW: Jaci’s Safari Lodge, Madikwe

Located about 90 kilometres north of the town of Zeerust is Madikwe Game Reserve. Although it is currently the fifth largest game reserve in South Africa, it is one of the lesser- known parks, making it a hidden-gem.

Madikwe is regarded as one of the best conservation areas in Africa and offers the Big 5 in 75000 hectares of pristine, malaria-free African bush. It is a true African Eden offering the discerning safari lover access to the big five, including black rhino along other rare species such African Wild Dog and Cheetah as part of its 120 resident mammal species and 350 recorded species of birds.

For a first-time taste of the African bush, or even if you are someone who has been drawn back to the call of the wild, then Jaci’s Lodges encompass the true safari experience.

Located in the park’s North West, Jaci’s Lodges is made up of two properties; Jaci’s Safari Lodge and Jaci’s Tree lodge. Both lodges offer guests the perfect destination for unrivalled game-viewing, unique accommodation options, outstanding service and tailor-made safari activities.

Accessible via car or small aeroplane, Jaci’s Lodges are a mere 3½-hour drive or an hour’s flight from Johannesburg. The flight into Madikwe airstrip is where the excitement starts, cruising over the countryside speckled with townships and farms, bushland and expanses of terrain for as far as the eye can see. Even from the air, wildlife can be spotted roaming below.

The Lodge

On arrival at Jaci’s Lodges you will feel the luxury of the gorgeous safari-style accommodation but be pleasantly surprised at how it blends into the surrounding bush. Bold colourful décor oozes the vibrance of the South African people which works in harmony with the natural woods and stone structures.

The main lodge building has recently received an extreme makeover resulting in a bold, refreshed, upgraded and spectacular new gathering place. It features a spacious and elegant lounge, a glorious copper fireplace and bar, kitchen and dining areas, all proudly reflecting our trademark striking colourful decor and authentic proudly South African atmosphere.

While not on game drive experiences, time spent at the lodge can be as eventful or relaxing as you choose. Lunch time between the morning and afternoon game drive allows time to relax and savour the morning’s drive, discuss with other guests your sightings or simply enjoy the facilities of the lodge. There is a pool for relaxation and escape from the heat of the sun in summer. Sitting areas are scattered around the lodges where you can just relax and enjoy the surrounding bush, read from a selection of books or even just take an afternoon nap. For those guests who still want to see more wildlife, venture to the Terrapin Hide, which is a submerged photographic hide with a water-level viewing window in the Jaci’s Lodges waterhole.


Jaci’s Safari Lodge features two exclusive Starbed Suites, six luxury Tented Suites and two private Family Suites. At Jaci’s Tree Lodge there are eight Treehouse Suites, custom-built on wooden stilts and connected by raised walkways, which seem to float high above the ground. Even around the lodges, animals such as monkey and various antelope roam freely.

Tented Suites have thatched roofs, low stone walls, suspended viewing decks and canvas roll-up panels, the six spacious tented suites let the outside in. For families there is the Nare Suite. Named after the resident buffalo bull that frequents the waterhole in front of it, this suite, which accommodates up to six guests, includes a private swimming pool and viewing deck overlooking the waterhole.

The large Safari Suite can accommodate up to eight guests, this suite is ideal for larger families or groups. The custom-built deck features a central firepit and spacious seating area leading on to a partially covered ‘star pod’, ideal for stargazing, and a private swimming pool.

For the ultimate African safari experience there is the Starbed Suite. Bushveld romance personified, these two new suites are furnished with bursts of colour and custom-made finishes, with rooftop extensions that afford guests the unique opportunity of sleeping under the African stars.

Safari Experiences

Complementing the luxury in the lodges is the quality of the safari experience. To experience a truly authentic African safari in the splendid Madikwe Game Reserve is truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure guaranteed to be forever etched in your memory. Comfortable open air 4WD game viewing vehicles allow you to immerse yourself in the surroundings, where you can look forward to an epic experience including the possibility of seeing the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino), as well as cheetah, African wild dog, hyena, giraffe and hippo – all sightings for which Madikwe is famous.

The game rangers and guides are highly experienced and a wealth of knowledge of the area, wildlife and even astronomy at night. Game drives take place in the early morning and then again late in the afternoon, prime times for animal viewing.

Morning game drives begin with the backdrop of the sun’s golden glow which blankets the horizon, the sound of morning birds fill the air in a symphony of calls, the smell of the bush in the air, a sweet mix of florals, rustic earthy scents and petrichor from the morning dew. This is when the animals begin stirring from the night before, settling into the day.

After a delicious lunch there is time for an afternoon game drive which will extend into the evening. The animals are now active again as the sun’s heat is cooling off. If you thought the sunrise was spectacular, then the sunsets over the bush in South Africa will take your breath away. Best experienced with a gin and tonic sundowner, this is a great time to get out of the vehicle with your guides, stretch the legs and discuss the day as you watch the sun dip below the horizon.

If weather permits, at night you will dine in the best bush restaurant you will experience. Enjoy fire-cooked meals under the stars, with authentic South African flavour and flair. As the fire crackles nearby, tables are lit by lanterns, allowing for an intimate safari experience that will be treasured for years to come.



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Kate Webster

Kate Webster is the founder and owner of Captured Travel Media. She is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself, but the world around her. An editor and travel journalist, Kate travels the globe in search of vivid imagery and compelling stories that capture the essence of the people and places she visits. She is a passionate conservation advocate, sustainable traveller and always travels with reason and cause.