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A firm favourite with Turquoise, Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge is one of those special places which never fails to tug at the heart strings of all those who visit! It certainly put the little known Madikwe Game Reserve on the map for Turquoise! Just an hour's flight by light aircraft from Johannesburg (or just under 4 hours by road), the malaria free Madikwe (on the border with Botswana) is one of South Africa's premier game viewing regions, despite being less recognised than its neighbours closer to the Kruger. You can see the Big Five here and what's more, you can also opt to sleep-out under the stars - the ultimate nocturnal African bush experience! Makanyane has wow factor in abundance - and add to that, eight incredible suites with glass-walled bedrooms, exceptional staff and fabulous gourmet food - there's little wonder why we have sent numerous happy guests to Makanyane over the past 12 years and many plan to return! Makanyane has an endearing respect for its unique location and a stay here promises adventure and enchantment delivered with a quiet understated charm. Constructed from local stone, wood and thatch so as to have minimal environmental impact, the lodge oozes a true sense of place.
Designed by a team of award-winning architects, the lodge is tucked away on a private 4,500 acre concession within a lush forest by the Marico River (the only permanent water source in the reserve and a hot spot for game viewing). The main lodge is set on the edge of a ravine and overlooks a waterhole frequented by game. The spacious living and dining area opens out on to a wide wooden outdoor deck which takes full advantage of the dramatic outlook.
Your stylish bush refuge is one of just eight spacious secluded suites, hidden in the forest, each with a fabulous bathroom with free-standing bath, indoor and outdoor shower and wraparound glass walls which embrace the natural beauty of their surroundings. The entire front of the ensuite can be opened to the bush. Watch out for passing elephants!
Every guest should experience the “sleep out under the stars” - a bed draped with a mosquito net on a double-storey structure tucked away in a secluded part of Makanyane's private reserve, just a 15 minute drive from the lodge. Known as 'the hide', it overlooks a waterhole and enjoys spectacular views out over the Madikwe Game Reserve. The enclosed first level has a covered living area, a toilet and a balcony whilst the upper level is open to the sky and it is here that your romantic mosquito-net-draped bed is set up for a night beneath a canopy of stars! The'sleep-out' offers a truly magical and romantic “Out of Africa” moment and it's well worth foregoing a night of luxury in your suite for this unique once-in-a-lifetime under the stars opportunity! Drift off to sleep listening to the animal noises and watch the stars and sunrise from your open-air deck! Enjoy dinner at the sleep-out or head out after dinner. Drinks, snacks, torches and spotlights to watch the game are all provided, along with a two-way radio. Your suite at the lodge is always kept for you.
Throw away your diet - Makanyane's food is too good to resist! 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 exceptional dining experience is complemented by fine wines from the award-winning wine cellar. What's more - you can dine in a variety of locations - by candlelight on the deck of your suite, by the sparkling pool, on the main deck under a canopy of stars or in the open-air boma next to a blazing fire! You can even enjoy a 'bush braai' out in the reserve surrounded only by flickering lanterns! Breakfasts are typically taken with your guide and any other guests sharing your game-drive vehicle so that you can discuss your safari adventures for the day ahead! All meals, afternoon tea, house wines, local beers and spirits are included, along with complimentary bottled water in your suite and on the game drives.
This is Big Five territory - lion, buffalo, elephant, rhinoceros and leopard - so you can be assured of superb wildlife viewing. The reserve is also home to the rare African wild dog (the lodge's namesake) as well as cheetah, giraffe, hyena and over 360 bird species. Game drives are operated in Makanyane's custom-made 4x4 Land Cruisers - roofless all-terrain vehicles, designed to maximise your game-viewing experience. One of the most striking aspects of this beautiful African wilderness area is its diverse and varied terrain, from rocky peaks and open grasslands to verdant valleys. There are two daily game drives - one in the early morning and another in the late afternoon. These are timed to coincide with the periods when the wildlife is at its most active. The afternoon drive includes a stop to enjoy sundowners - that quintessential African experience - and often continues into the night with a shielded spotlight revealing the nocturnal wildlife of the bush.
Game walks with an armed and experienced guide are a 'must' at Makanyane as they offer the opportunity for a more in-depth exploration of the bush. A highly educational and enlightening experience, your guide will lead you along game paths in the footsteps of the animals, enabling you to feel the thrill of walking through this wild environment. Away from the noise of the game drive vehicle, your heightened senses will become more aware of the subtle nuances of the bush - the sounds, smells and textures of the unique surroundings. Unfortunately, guests under the age of 16 years are not permitted on walks.
Sanctuary Makanyane also has a gym and a Bush Spa where you can relax and be pampered after an exhilarating day on safari! Treatments can also be enjoyed on the deck of your suite or at the look-out point where you can savour the views as your body unwinds! Above all else, privacy and a personalised service are paramount at Makanyane.
Children aged 12 years and over are welcome. A maximum of two children aged 12-17 years can share a suite with their parents, staying on extra sleeper-beds.
El Nido Pangulasian – Philippines
Tucked away in a secluded bay of emerald waters and dramatic limestone karsts, El Nido Pangulasian in the Philippines is simply sublime. Endless stretches of pristine beaches and a marine sanctuary beneath the waves, you will see why it has been voted as the Most Beautiful Island in the World by Condé Nast Traveller. This really is an untouched, picture perfect haven just waiting to be discovered…
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