As Spring departs and South Africa welcomes the colder months, The Sandton Times takes a look at some weekend getaway options, heading South of the Botswana border to TAU Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve.
- The malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve is the 4th largest game reserve in the country, offering Big 5 game and bird-watching safaris.
- TAU Game Lodge opened its 5-star safari doors in 1995.
- The lodge offers 30 rooms, from newly renovated Luxury Standard & rustic Standard Chalets, to Family Suites.
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The weekday morning drive out of Sandton is met with fair roads and heavy truck activity, as the journey heads through Haartebeesportdam towards Zeerust and on-wards to Madikwe Game Reserve. The estimated 4.5-hour drive, with some refreshment stops, does end up taking somewhat longer, thanks to heightened traffic police activity on the route, arriving at TAU Game Lodge just in time for lunch in the African bushveld.
The cooler months are ideal for a safari, as the landscape offers superb visibility of animals, whilst nocturnal species are less inclined to hide from the wintery sun during the day.
Checking into the newly refurbished accommodation, the private patio offers a feast for the eyes, as wildlife congregate around the TAU Game Lodge waterhole, only meters from the chalet. Meals are ‘safari indulgence’ a la COVID-19 and the lodge offers a wide range of exceptional dining favourites, both hot and cold, served plated.
The deliciously prepared selection is topped-off by a gorgeous view of the watering hole that wraps around the lodge, offering guests a front-row seat to Africa’s wildlife theatre. As Elephant, Waterbuck, Zebra and Impala congregate around this popular hang-out, the odd Crocodile lies in wait, looking at fulfilling his dining dreams with the chance attempt at a passing Warthog.
Watching the wildlife meet for breakfast or sundowners at the large waterhole from the safety of the private room deck or the lodge’s hospitality and pool area, adds further romance – or drama – to an unforgettable safari stay.
The suitably styled common areas like the Reception, Lounge, Dining Room, Leisure Decks, Bar, Boma and two Pools (of which one is an infinity design), make for contemporary out of Africa safari heaven, overlooking the busy waterhole, and gives guests some much needed relaxation space to just take in the great South African outdoors.
Morning and afternoon game drives take guests deep into the Madikwe Game Reserve bush. Often the sightings at the lodge waterhole are hard to top, but as luck may have it, there are a few show-stoppers lined up! A pack of African wild dogs are out and about hunting. After a few unlucky attempts an Impala comes into view, and the pack take up the chase.
The Impala dashes through the bushveld and takes a hard turn into a dam, opting to shake off its predators by swimming, doggy style, across the open water. Needless to say, the pack of African wild dogs seem to have a talent for swimming and decide to circle the dam and enter the water from all sides, meeting the doomed Impala in mid-stroke, dragging it out and sharing it with the rest of the pack.
With fewer than 6,600 individual African wild dog remaining in the wild, this endangered species is truly a privilege to witness in its natural habitat. However there is also a sighting of two Cheetah only meters away from the game drive vehicle, multiple Lion and Elephant encounters as well as some other popular bushveld game that makes for the most indulgent safari escape possible.
The afternoon game drives include dazzling African sunsets with decadent afternoon drinks, whilst the morning drives include a coffee in the bush with a dash of Amarula Cream Liqueur and rusks. Returning to the lodge, one of the evenings includes a genuine Boma dinner with guests and rangers conversing about the safari sightings of the day, whilst enjoying the roaring fire and extensive African cuisine buffet.
Take a look at the TAU Winter packages for 2022 priced from R14’700 per couple, including:
- Accommodation for 2 nights in one of the 12 newly renovated Luxury Standard Chalets as an introductory offer
- 3 meals per day
- 2 game drives per day including drinks and snacks
With a gorgeous integration into its natural habitat, along with divine cuisine and a spa, TAU Game Lodge offers a luxury African safari that ticks a lot of boxes.
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