Taking a break from reality is a dream if you live in South Africa because there are thousands of Game Reserves all over the country to choose from, but if you love adventure and your other half loves romance, then the Kopano Lodge inside the Madikwe Game Reserve is perfect for your next trip.
Located right on the border to Botswana, Madikwe is home to the Big 5 and rated as the country’s 5th largest Game Reserve with 75,000 Hectares of land for their wildlife to roam.
Not only do they have LOADS of wildlife, they have some unbelievably amazing lodges on the property too that cater for all types of visitors ranging from family lodges, all the way to the super romantic lodges like the Kopano Lodge where Carlinn and I stayed recently.
Getting to Madikwe was a dream using More Private Travel, who collected us from O.R. Tambo Airport and took us on the 5 hour drive North in style!
Once we arrived, we were greeted with a cold towel to freshen up our faces and the most delicious home-made Ice Tea, which went down like a dream.
The Kopano Lodge at Madikwe
Staying at the Kopano Lodge was super special and the fact that there are only a handful of rooms available, makes it really intimate when dealing with all the staff, who made our stay there SUPER romantic!!
Every room has a plunge pool, which was a little cold for us to swim in when we went during Winter, but if you’re heading over in Summer where the daily temperatures reach into the 40’s, it’s perfect to cool off in the heat.
In Winter time when the evening temperatures drop off, each bed has a warm water bottle slipped into it as part of the Turn Down service and there’s a cute little blackboard where the staff and guests can talk to each other! It’s also perfect for requesting something special in your room, like a hot bath to be run and ready for after dinner.
The food was as amazing as we’d expected with every single meal, a unique selection of delicious choices to choose from for each meal. It changes daily, so you never know what you’ll be getting!
On our last night, we were surprised to a Boma Dinner somewhere in the middle of the bush, where we got to interact with other guests from not only the Kopano Lodge, but all the surrounding lodges too! Our table had two international couples that were visiting on their honeymoon, just proving the fact that Madikwe is known around the world as a super romantic destination.
The Wildlife at Madiwe Game Reserve
We were SPOILED with the amount of sightings we saw at Madikwe, with our first actually being a Leopard sitting at the top of a tree chasing a rock pigeon around as the sun was setting. She was such a beauty and just as it got dark, she started calling out with roars into the distance, which were replied by a male who was close by, but we didn’t see him.
We also got to see a Lion having it’s dinner, which was fresh brains from a Giraffe that had died earlier in the day due to natural causes. The next day when we went back, there were more Lions with CUBS, but we only got a glimpse of them as they were being led into thick bushes by their mother!
Our Ranger, Darryn Murray, was SUPER knowledgeable and brought in from Madikwe’s sister reserve, Marataba Game Reserve, to show us around. We visited Marataba next, so keep an eye out for that post on my blog coming soon.
Darryn’s humor had us laughing so much with his stories around the fire after our game drives and even on the game drives itself. They have code on their radio’s for all the animals so we didn’t know what they were talking about when all the rangers were communicating with each other, which adds to the excitement of wondering what we were about to see each time we were heading somewhere else as awesome as the previous spot.
One more AMAZING THING about all the rangers that work with MORE, is that they all know how to make the most incredible coffee on your morning drives that includes milk or Amarula Cream! Of course I opted for the Amarula, which was soooo delicious!
Madikwe is FULL of wildlife and actually hosts the Big 5, of which we saw Lions, Elephant, Leopard and a Buffalo Head. Sadly we didn’t get to see any of those beautiful grey unicorns, but there are a few and when they are seen, they have their protectors from the anti-poaching unit not far away, always keeping a watchful eye on these beautiful beasts.
Here’s all the photos from our time at the Madikwe Game Reserve, which includes a few of the amazing bird sightings we saw when we were there like the Kory Bustard, Pale Chanting Goshawk and Red Breasted Shrike to name only a few.