“A stunning safari lodge in the malaria-free Madikwe park, with superb guides and exquisite suites”
Makanyane has just 8 suites built along the south bank of the Marico river, discreetly positioned to guarantee privacy. They are breathtaking, with all-glass frontages and fold-back windows to both sides, bringing the bush and the life along the riverbank straight in to you. Few lodge bedrooms we’ve come across have such a ‘wow’ factor and, like the main lodge, the sculptural trunks of old leadwood trees have been wrapped into their fabric.
All rooms are twins, but are normally made up as kingsize doubles, with a quadruple bank of cushions and pillows, snow white linen and duvets, and pure wool handwoven blankets which double as shawls on cooler nights. They have leather-covered lampshades, desk and tables, and swish white-cotton easy chairs with matching stools. There's a beautifully crafted dressing room with masses of hanging space, and a minibar and safe tucked out of sight. To one side of each suite is a kraal-fenced sitting area with sun loungers, as well as cushion-strewn bench seats looking out to the river.
The bathrooms, with pebbled patterns set into screed floors, are design-mag-perfect, with claw-footed bathtubs, double sinks, hairdryers, monogrammed towels and bathrobes, and an amazing range of natural body oils, creams, moisturisers and sweet-smelling citronella soaps. As in the main bedroom, there are floor-to-ceiling French windows which you can throw open to the bush.
If you’re here for a longer stay, you should spend a night at the lodge’s raised hide which overlooks a water hole. You’ll be driven to the hide after dinner, given a torch and bush radio, then left to ogle the extraordinary African night.
Most meals are taken in the decked dining area, which looks out across an infinity pool to the surrounding veld and the Marico River.
If you’re off on a game drive, a light breakfast of cake, fruit, tea and coffee is laid up at 6am and a second spread will be waiting on your return some 3 hours later: a cold buffet followed by the cooked breakfast of your choice. Lunches stay light and get top marks for presentation. These could be a mixed platter of fish, poussin legs with a sweet and sour sauce, or maybe marinaded chicken accompanied by a choice of salads, such rocket and pear or mozzarella and green leaf, plus a selection of roasted root vegetables.
You’ll be reminded at dinner - sometimes served at the boma to the side of the lodge - that you don’t need to be in a chichi city restaurant to eat gourmet food. Our meal began with a small cup of butternut soup, followed by baked goat’s cheese garnished with a delicately dressed rocket and basil salad. At breakfast you’ll be asked for your choice of main course, normally either fish or game, which could be kudu, impala or warthog. If you have any special dietary requirements, they will make a point of creating appropriate dishes for you. Desserts, like the hot chocolate brownie and ice cream served in a small ramekin, were also yummy, and there’s plenty of choice on the wine menu. And we couldn’t fault the attentive yet relaxed manner of Makanyane’s 'Tswana staff.
Madikwe is free of malaria and so is a great choice for parents. Makanyane’s high staff-to-guest ratio means that there will always be someone around to look after the children if they aren’t joining you for game drives.
Children over 12 years old are welcome all year. Children under 12 years are welcome when the lodge is booked exclusively.
Teens (over 12)
Children may share their parents' suites, which can fit up to 2 rollaway beds. Children sharing with their parents pay 50%.
There is a child oriented menu and dietary requirements will be taken into account.
Children can take part in the Makanyane Pup Junior Ranger Course which teaches children a range of bush skills themed around survival, tracking and shooting. There is a written test, and when the course is completed children receive certificates during a graduation ceremony. The course is 2 hours a day, for 6 days. Enquire for details.
The Lodge is not fenced off from the reserve; children must not walk from the lodge to their suite unsupervised. Parents must also supervise their children when they are in the pool and the gym.