The Scene: Having been to Madikwe (and Kruger) before, I was spoilt for choice when trying to pick a good safari lodge for my girlfriend’s first visit to South Africa. After reading some very positive reviews on TripAdvisor, we ended up picking Etali. After 10 days in Cape Town, we flew into O.R. Tambo @ JNB and grabbed our hire car to drive to Madikwe. The trip is about 4.5-5 hours door to door. We left at 11 am and got to the lodge by 4, just in time for the afternoon game drive.
Positives: From the moment we arrived, the family-feel of Etali and their staff stood out and made you feel right at home. We had just spent 4.5 hours on the road and after being greeted with a welcome cocktail, insisted we sit down, relax and eat some food they had saved us from the lunchtime service before worrying about checking in or getting our credit cards, passports, etc. out. This really set the positive tone for our 3 day stay with the wonderful Etali Team. The accommodation is top class, each room is very large and has it’s own deck along with indoor and outdoor showers. There is also a small splash pool to relax in during the day. We had an amazing view from our room which was about 50 metres from a watering hole where we were able to see elephants and other animals come to drink throughout the day. The safaris were truly excellent, with our guides going above and beyond to deliver a sighting of all Big Five during our stay – day 2 of our trip, all Big Five in two game drives.
Negatives: The in-house Spa could be considered slightly pricey for what you get, but this would really be scraping at the bottom of the barrel for an unforgettable stay. As you can probably see from the length of our Positives, this place was hard to fault.
Top Tip: If you are unsure between Madikwe or Kruger, having been to both, Madikwe is far less commercial and quainter (plus there is no need for malaria pills in Madikwe) – and even after choosing this remarkable Game Reserve, you really could not do any better than Etali.
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Etali Safari Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve