Post image for A Safari Experience Fit for Royalty at Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge

Article written by Brittany Urbach, Hills of Africa Travel’s Marketing Director

Just a 3.5-hour drive from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is the wildlife-bustling and malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. Here, you’ll find one of South Africa’s most charming lodges: Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge.

With only five chalets, Jamala is boutique in size, which travelers absolutely adore. Because of its size, Jamala provides guests with a highly personalized safari experience, as well as exceptional service around the clock.

When I was at Jamala for my African safari honeymoon in November, we had an absolute blast and never wanted to leave.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the lodge manager, Rodney, who escorted us to the open area in the main lodge, which also overlooked a watering hold. The staff greeted us with warm smiles and champagne and prepared a delightful lunch for us, which we enjoyed on the patio, facing the watering hole. The staff must have informed the wildlife of our arrival because nearly five minutes into our champagne toast a herd of elephant and zebra came down from the brush for an afternoon drink.

madikwe wildlife

After lunch we headed to our gorgeous chalet to relax before 4pm teatime.

Each of the extremely spacious chalets have a beautiful sitting area with a fireplace, a gorgeous canopy bed, a giant bathroom with a stunning tub (and accompanying toiletries), an indoor and outdoor shower, a sprawling deck with lounge chairs, and a private plunge pool. The rooms can open up completely if you wish, but its’ not necessary since the entire back of each chalet is made up of glass doors.

The view from the chalets is an open grassy plain and brush, and wildlife seemed to continuously walk by the back of our chalet!

Jamala Madikwe

Jamala

jamala shower

jamala suite

At 4pm we headed to the main lodge area where we mingled with some of the guests and enjoyed a beverage with some delectable afternoon snacks, before heading out on our game drive at 4:30pm.

Our African safari guide, Lazarus, was so sweet and extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife, as well as the plants, insects, and birdlife. He was born and raised in the Madikwe area so he knew all there was to know about the reserve and its residential wildlife.

Within 10 minutes of our first drive we came across a pride of lions. There were five cubs and one giant male lion. We continued our journeys and came across three wild dogs, stuffed after feasting on an impala.

South Africa safari tours

South Africa safari tours

South Africa safari tours

South Africa safari tours

South Africa safari tours

As night feel, we enjoyed a wonderful sundowner before heading back to the lodge. But before arriving at the lodge, we saw two honey badgers and a brown hyena!

Dinner was served when we arrived back at camp and my husband and I were escorted up the look-out-tower stairs, which was covered in lanterns! We enjoyed an amazing, private dinner by candlelight beneath the stars – it was truly magical!

While we were enjoying our delectable eland fillet (eland is a type of antelope and is absolutely DELICIOUS!) and mashed potatoes we could hear a lion call from just inside the brush. Soon, he came down to the watering hole for an evening sip and then strutted off again.

After dinner we went back to our room to find our bed was turned down and candles and rose petals led us to our bathroom. Here, a bottle of champagne waited for us next to a freshly drawn bubble bath!!

It was absolutely incredible and right then and there we knew we were hooked on Jamala . . .

break from it all

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