Makanyane is one of our favourite lodges in South Africa, every guest we send here loves their experience, and we have sent numerous very happy guests over the last 10 years! There is lots of wow factor with the entire Makanyane experience, the suites are incredible, the staff are exceptional – in both knowledge and service - and the food is gourmet. Your experience here will be intimate, authentic, personal and most importantly, very special.
The lodge is tucked away from the other Madikwe lodges on a private 4,500 acre concession so you have a very exclusive and private stay. Out in the wilderness you are surrounded by a lush forest setting with awe-inspiring views of the tranquil Marico River. What makes Makanyane really special is the size and design of the property; it’s just 8 suites so feels very intimate and personal.
The suites have lots of wow factor and have even had Michelle Obama and Barbara Bush as guests. The design is very clever and unique with panoramic glass walls, with lots a natural wood and branches which bring the outside inside and make the most of the setting and create a wonderful tranquil experience. They are more like villa’s than suites with huge bedrooms with fireplaces, wonderful bathrooms with inside showers and roll top baths and spectacular outside showers which overlook the hippo. You additionally have large outside lounges with sun loungers so plenty of space to relax inside and outside. Beautifully furnished and spacious, the suites are really very special and comfortable it’s hard to leave them!
Makanyane is renowned for the gourmet food, the menu is game rich and very varied with lots of exciting choices like ostrich, kudu, springbok and warthog. Meals are imaginatively prepared by the chef and his team who create unique menus, blending European and African flavours, using only the freshest local produce. The cuisine is complemented by fine South African wines from the lodge's extensive wine cellar and as it’s all inclusive it’s free flowing! You eat in a variety of locations, on the deck, by the pool, in the dining room and around the firepit with the lanterns and vast African skies and stars to marvel at.
Every guest should experience the “sleep out under the stars” which is the icing on the cake, this is a bed draped with mosquito net on the second floor of the lookout hide which has a toilet, lounge and open aired bedroom, 15 minutes from the lodge in true isolation. This is a truly magical and romantic “Out of Africa” moment that everyone should experience for a night of your stay. Listening to the animal noises and watching the stars and sunrise from the safety of your bedroom but in the open elements is a very special experience that very few lodges in Africa offer.
Your safari experience can be determined by quality of your guides, they can be/make the difference to your holiday. And the guides at Makanyane are some of the best, not only in Madikwe, but arguably in South Africa! They know the area inside out, they are fun, passionate and they will not only show you a huge amount of wildlife, but will teach you about the surrounding environment and will beguile you with interesting bush tales and stories of local legends. Also, the head guide here is like the Crocodile Dundee of the bush!
Whilst you might not have heard a lot about Madikwe it is malaria free, and for those in the know it is in fact becoming THE reserve of choice in South Africa and for good reason. The reserve is one of the largest in South Africa, is responsibly managed and has an abundance of the Big 5, a myriad of bird species, cheetahs and brown hyenas. It is the best place in South Africa to see wild dog, also called “Makanyane” and isn’t commercial and busy with tourists. The landscape is vast, rugged and varied; it is truly beautiful and is the best example of a responsible tourism programme in Africa. In Madikwe you won’t have long uneventful game drives and you do a lot less driving in Madikwe compared to other African safari’s as there is so much game in the reserve which allows you lots of time for rest and relaxation in the wonderful lodge and enjoy its facilities.
Makanyane also has a gym which you might make use of to work off all the wonderful food! After an exhilarating game drive, you can relax with a revitalising massage, either on your private deck or in the spa and the spa offers a range of other great treatments. You will enjoy game drives in open safari vehicles as well as bush walks with experienced game rangers, who will lead you along game paths in the footsteps of the animals and the “Little 5”.
Above and beyond the above, a safari at Makanyane offers you an incredible safari that is a much cheaper option than going to other better known parks in South Africa – this lodge is an ideal option for honeymooners, romantic breaks and families.
This is one of our favourite safari lodges in South Africa and we are delighted that it has introduced a family programme during the school holiday periods in February, April, August, October and Christmas. Children over the age of five years are invited to join the Makanyane Pup Junior Ranger Course – a fun-filled exciting course during which children are taught an endless array of exciting facts about the African bush and its conservation, alongside important survival skills, tracking skills and orientation skills. This course is run for approximately two hours each morning, after breakfast or brunch (depending on the season), allowing parents a bit of time to relax around the swimming pool or enjoy the gym and bush spa. There is a children’s’ menu and special dietary requirements are taken into consideration. Above all else, Makanyane provides children with an unforgettable wildlife experience, designed to stimulate, educate and entertain young minds whilst promoting a deep respect for the environment. Adventurous families with older children can opt for the ultimate nocturnal bush experience – a sleep-out under Africa’s stars at Makanyane’s unique elevated “sleep out under the stars” which overlooks a waterhole.
Children’s bush skills include learning how to find water in the bush, how to start a fire using a flint and kindling and even how to make a toothbrush and toothpaste in the wild (children discover which bush makes excellent toothbrushes and the ash of which tree makes toothpaste).
Junior Ranger activities include closely supervised target practice with bow and arrows (made by the children themselves) and a mini game walk exploring the banks of the river and bush in search of the fascinating small wildlife and insect life around the camp.
Children will learn how to recognise common animal tracks such as those left by elephant, rhino, hippo and lion and they will follow the animals’ movements with the ranger (each child has the chance to cast an actual bush track using Plaster of Paris – a wonderful keepsake).
Children receive a certificate signed by the ranger, and each child is given a seedling of an indigenous tree to plant in an area where trees are needed.
Privacy and personalised service are paramount here. As a guest, you can be assured of individual attention.
All game drives, meals and drinks are included in the rates (non-house drinks are chargeable)