We all fear that having booked a wonderful holiday we will end up spending it in the rain.
Now, I will not pretend otherwise, it does rain in Africa, often not as much as the Continent needs, but like everywhere else in the world eternal sunshine cannot be guaranteed just because we are on holiday.
I wanted to re-assure you that even if it does bucket down during your safari all is not lost, and indeed much can be gained, particularly if you are fortunate enough to be staying at The Royal Madikwe in South Africa as I was!
The Royal Madikwe is different to many other traditional style safari lodges – the clue is in the name.
Think regal elegance in the bush with some lavish and stylish décor but still befitting its setting with an earthy Africa feel. A good thing the lampshades are securely fixed to the ceiling or they might have disappeared!!
Impressive, welcoming and, as I experienced, a haven in wet weather with wonderful log fires in all the rooms and coffee or hot chocolate laced with Amarula on tap!
Our safari guide, the ever smiling TJ, considerately checked whether we were happy to go out in the rain. Of course ……… my travelling companions and I are British after all!!
So togged up in our ponchos we were ready for the refreshing African rain.
What a fantastic experience it turned out to be and a fascinating education in animal behaviour – elephant teaching the young how to get their shoulders behind the job, two young male zebra ‘experimenting’ with what they had heard about the ‘birds and bees’, rhino marking territory and the wild dog sensibly curled up under the bushes.
Madikwe is a game reserve whose terrain opens up a whole new opportunity when the rain is pouring down. The wildlife cannot disappear into thick bush. This Reserve is well known for its conservation & community work and the terrain provides great game viewing. TJ’s knowledge on much was enlightening and entertaining.
South African hospitality is extraordinarily good at the best of times but my companions, who are well versed in travelling the world, were united in saying the food that Amos and his team prepared was right up at the top. Divine!!
The Royal Madikwe accommodation really works extremely well in both wet and dry weather and for all ages and personalised requirements.
Floor to ceiling glass opens out to bring the outside in or, if it is wet, closed for a cosy option from which to watch the game at the waterhole (or the antelope making themselves at home on the deck normally reserved for guests!). This waterhole is on a wildlife track so provides a regular flow of wildlife and birds transiting through.
For your stay there are 6 beautifully appointed options to choose between. The Sovereign House is wonderfully high end with 3 bedrooms & ‘fit for a king’. The Royal Villa definitely has ‘wow’ factor with its 2 bedrooms & full facilities, the Emperor suite is in the main building so is ideal for families with young children and the other 3 suites are exclusive, private and very classy.
Children are well catered for with a plethora of age appropriate activities linked to life in the bush. Bush bumbles caters for the tiniest guests. Adults can enjoy a massage treatment or some precious downtime watching the world go by whilst sipping one of barman Elias’ freshly prepared and imaginative cocktails.
If planning on a safari in what could be the rainy season (who can tell nowadays!) you may want to do a bit of research on the various reserves and parks but certainly Madikwe Game Reserve works as there are not many areas for the wildlife to ‘hole up’ away from the safari goers gaze. It is also worth noting Madikwe is free from malaria.
The Royal Madikwe is a good option for all come rain or shine. We could have happily watched the elephant indulging in the mud bath for hours but the hot chocolate & Amarula proved a strong lure back to the lodge!