It is no secret that I love Madikwe and try and go there as often as humanly possible…I have even blogged about this – Madikwe Bushveld Paradise. The other thing that I love to do is try a different lodge everytime I go. I found out on this last trip that there are 31 lodges in total…so this is my aim…stay at them all (p.s don’t tell my husand, Garith as he thinks I am crazy for wanting to try all the different lodges). So now to the point of this blog post, I have decided to review the lodges I stay at going forward. I will cover all the aspects I think are important but if you feel I have missed something, pop me a mail and I will be sure to add it.
Thakadu River Lodge Review
Thakadu means ‘aardvark’ in Tswana. It is an ecotourism partnership between North-West Parks and the Molatedi Community. Under the agreement, the community has a 45 year lease to operate a commercial lodge with traversing rights across the reserve. There is a strong sense of hope and pride amongst the staff and it would seem as if the partnership has had a positive impact.
The first point I need to make is each room has an aircon…this is very important, especially when it went to over 36 degrees during the day while we were there in January!
The rooms are very well equipped and look great. They call them luxury tents, don’t let this put you off, you hardly notice that the ‘walls’ are canvas. The room is an open plan bedroom and bathroom. There is a huge comfortable king sized bed…which is like heaven. A little coffee station and a couch.
The bathroom has luxurious wash basins and mirrors…one for each of you. There is also a big free standing bath…I didn’t use it but it looked gorgeous. However, I recommend only sharing the room with someone that you are very comfortable with as the whole room is open plan and the bath is out in the open and there is no shower door and what shower walls they have are made of normal glass. So they hide nothing! On a positive note, there is a toilet door…hehe!
Food & Drinks
I can’t fault the lodge on their food…the only thing I will say is be ready to eat alot when you arrive.
The breakfast consists of a cold continental buffet – cheese, cold meat, scones, cereal, etc (It changes every morning slightly). Then you can order a hot breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, etc…and I can confirm their omelettes are delicious!
Lunch and Dinner are three course meals with bread/bread roll to start. They make their own fresh bread/rolls which are just divine. We had olive rolls, corn beer bread and a raisin bread…just to highlight a few.
Then there is still high tea after lunch before you go on a game drive and snacks on the game drive…see what I mean by you eat alot!
We didn’t drink alot of alcohol but I found that the drinks are well priced and not a complete rip off. Our drinks bill was just over R200 per person for the weekend. One of the definite pros which I haven’t experienced at many lodges is that two drinks per person are included on the game drive and not charged additionally.
Staff & Service
The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. When you arrive you are greeted with a warmed wet face cloth to freshen up before entering the main living area where you are welcomed with a delicious ice cold welcome drink. Every interaction I had with the staff was exceptionally pleasant. If I needed anything, they accommodated me as best they could.
Our ranger – Tsholo was very different to the others I have met. I found him alot quieter and not as talkative. However, he happily answered questions, if asked. We had fantastic sighting of the Big Five…seeing a leopard that close in Madikwe was such an experience as I haven’t seen leopard there before. We were also told, there are only 11 in the park – so we were very lucky and spoilt!
The evening turn down service was so cute (for lack of a better word), you received a piece of fudge and a bedtime African story. The highlight for me – which I must say is a first – was a little personalised card with the weather forecast for the next day.
The one negative (if I can even call t that) thing is the distance you are from the rest of the park. The lodge is right on the eastern boarder – so it is quite a drive before you really start seeing animals. However, on the positive side, the ranges are more than happy to drive you right across the park for a sighting.
I really enjoyed my stay at Thakadu River Camp and would recommend it to others. It is a great African luxury bush experience.
Website – www.thakadurivercamp.co.za
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