Today we put the spotlight on South Africa’s Jamala Madikwe, perhaps one of the most outstanding African safari holidays I’ve experienced. A malaria free safari means less time focusing on avoiding mosquitos and more time immersing yourself in the wilderness and witnessing the wildlife around you.
You had me at hello!
Jamala Madikwe is one of the few African safari lodges that I have fallen in love with from the moment I arrived and was welcomed by owners, Shaun and Rodney with a ritual hand cleansing in cold rose water and refreshing cool towels and a chilled glass of sparkling champagne.
Immediately I knew this unique African safari experience would rival the worlds best – luxurious, relaxed, exciting, friendly, intimate, stimulating, delicious and truly adventurous.
So let me tell you about the luxury safari lodge first and then the malaria free Madikwe Game Reserve where it resides.
Jamala Madikwe is a beautiful lodge that feels like a boutique resort with just five private cottages beautifully decorated and meticulously maintained. The cottages are spaced well apart from one another, and when staying at this exclusive lodge you will feel as though you are the only ones that exist in this world.
Each cottage overlooks a very busy waterhole and throughout the day, especially early mornings and late afternoons you can expect to see elephant, wildebeest, buffalo, giraffe and zebra passing through. With a bit of luck you may see the local lion pride and leopard come down to drink. This can all be witnessed from your own private deck and plunge pool or from the comfort of your bed. We joked about just how great it was to not move to witness Africa’s wildlife – my very own sofa safari!
Bedrooms are elegant, bathrooms opulent and in my opinion, the level of service at Jamala Madikwe is unrivalled in this area of the world!
Moving now to the main area of Jamala, perhaps the highlight for me because I love interior design and am an avid art lover and collector. Jamala’s collection of artworks from African artists is sensational. Jamala has been able to combine touches of contemporary luxury with classic traditional style in a way that is effortless and simply screams comfort.
The style starts from the front entrance and reception area and never ends. The dining room table is stunning, the large cosy lounges inviting and the highlight for me was the large outdoor deck space offering dining under the stars, boma, bar and sun lounge area.
The food here is nothing short of spectacular! David the chef should have his very own restaurant. Tea nearly killed me, especially his strawberry delights! Dinners in the Boma overlooking the watering hole were very special, especially when Shaun and Rodney join you. The two of them are extremely knowledgeable about the bush and have lots of fascinating, horrific and hilarious stories to tell.
Madikwe Game Reserve situated against the Botswana border, 90 km north of Zeerust, just three hours’ drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria, is now one of South Africa’s prime safari destinations. Madikwe is a Big Five game reserve covering some 75,000 hectares. It is one of the largest game reserves in South Africa. The rich diversity of vegetation ensures a wide range of game and the topography offers ideal game viewing opportunities.
The reserve consists of vast plains of open woodlands and grasslands, dissected by the rugged Rant van Tweedepoort, and bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains. The area is dotted with huge rocky hills or inselbergs.
Madikwe is home to 66 mammal species including the Big Five and approximately 300 resident and migrant bird species. It is one of South Africa’s largest game reserves.
It’s simple to get here. Encompass Africa arrange everything and I opted for self-drive. It’s easy to drive to Jamala from Pretoria or Johannesburg and would work well as a combination with Sun City if that takes your fancy.
Next time I would like to fly because private light aircraft pick you up and just 45 minutes later you are disembarking with Jamala staff waiting to welcome you. A short 4×4 drive to the lodge game viewing along the way is the perfect start to a storybook safari holiday.
Get in touch today and let Encompass Africa experts arrange your effortless journey to Africa and African safari of a lifetime.