After being unable to visit South Africa since my last visit in 2019, I decided to use Discover Africa to organise my return to safaris. When I visit South Africa I usually arrange two safaris, one per week and use the weekends before, during and after the safaris to be with my friends who live in Centurion. I chose two areas, Madikwe in the northwest and Klaserie (Greater Kruger) in the north-east. My Travel Consultant at Discover Africa, Adelle Bell, then set about finding the best lodges in each area based on my interests and preferences. I had been to Madikwe on two previous occasions so I knew it was a good reserve and, while I had not been to Klaserie before, I had been to neighbouring Game Reserves in previous years.
Being a solo traveller can be difficult as lodges price their rooms on a ‘two sharing’ basis and this can mean either a reluctance to take a single occupant or a high single supplement. Adelle was amazing in getting me bookings at lodges in both areas not only without the dreaded ‘single supplement’ but also at very keen rates. In Madikwe I stayed 4 nights at Thakadu River Lodge where accommodation was in Luxury permanent tents set alongside the river. There are 12 tents running south of the lodge with the tents from number four onwards at increasingly long distances from the lodge. It would take me between 5 to 7 minutes to walk from my tent to the lodge and this may be a problem for those with reduced mobility. Facilities and staff at the lodge were first class and the food was of a high standard.
It should be noted that drinks were not included but the prices of local brands were reasonble (ZAR80 for a large, 250 ml, glass of red wine). The game drives were well organised and my guide, Vincent, was very knowledgeable and adept and finding the animals in the very large reserve. As I said, I have been to Madikwe before so I knew that the game viewing there is first class and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. Thakadu is a lodge that is run by a local collective so as well as having a memorable safari, you are also supporting a local enterprise.
At Klaserie I stayed at Camp George, part of the Simbavati Group of lodges, for 6 nights. The camp is in an excellent site adjacent to a dry river bed and has its own waterhole. The rooms and lodge facilities are of a very high standard and are relatively new (about 10 years since construction). The lodge managers and staff are very welcoming and attentive and have an obvious enthusiasm and love of the bush. Even though the lodge is very luxurious you do not feel isolated from the bush as you can do in some other high-end lodges. At only 8 rooms set around the central lodge buildings, it was like being part of a small group of friends which made for a very relaxing stay.
The game drives were ably handled by our guide, Julius, who worked hard to ensure that we had the best opportunities to see the animals in the area. Game viewing in high summer can be difficult as the bush is dense and in full leaf. Spotting the animals, even large ones can be tricky as there is plenty of cover which can conceal them even though they are very close. When you do find the animals you have a greater sense of achievement just because you know how difficult it is. However, we were able to get some great sightings including 6 separate sightings of leopards involving 4 individuals. If you like your lodge to have all the amenities and be of a high standard, then I can thoroughly recommend Camp George.
I can also recommend putting your trust in the consultants at Discover Africa to organise your trip. Adelle coped with my constant requests for updates and reassurances (I suffer from being one of life’s victims of Murphy’s Law!) in a considerate and supportive way. She said that she would look after me with my trip itinerary and she did precisely that. These were my 12th and 13th safaris so I have had plenty of experience with booking safaris through various travel companies, Discover Africa is up there with the best.
Dr David R Rose travelled to Southern Africa in March and wrote the 4-Day Madikwe Safari Review on 01 March 2023
Safari planned by: Adelle Bell