Lelapa Madikwe Safari Lodge

Appreciate the vastness and diversity of Madikwe Game Reserve’s landscapes and wildlife

Lelapa Madikwe Safari Lodge is situated in Madikwe’s wooded hills which give way to savannah and Kalahari plains, roamed by all of the Big Five and countless other mammals. Look up and you will see hundreds of resident and migrant birds gracing its skies. Coupled with the reserve being malaria-free, this all makes for a special place to explore.

While the luxury of Madikwe Safari Lodge lies in having direct access to some of South Africa’s best Big Five safari experiences, it is also the pleasure of coming back to thoughtful comforts, warm hospitality, and excellent meals after several hours in the bush that defines five-star stays here. The Madikwe brand of luxury comes standard, and what sets each of its retreats apart is its unique feel – appealing to different travelers.

Lelapa Madikwe Safari Lodge


Lelapa Madikwe Safari Lodge is ideally located for guests to appreciate the vastness and diversity of Madikwe Game Reserve’s landscapes and wildlife. Lelapa (meaning ‘family’ in Setswana) welcomes guests of all ages, with family-friendly accommodations and specially planned children’s activities. Each of its 12 luxury Suites has a private lounge, viewing deck, and plunge pool, with the four Family Suites also incorporating a second children’s bedroom, stocked with toys and games. While the lodge epitomises contemporary African design, its atmosphere is luxuriously laid-back.

All Lelapa Madikwe Safari Lodge luxury suites offer stunning views of the Madikwe Game Reserve that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your suite’s private deck, which includes an outdoor shower and plunge pool.

Four of Lelapa Madikwe Safari Lodge camp’s suites are best suited for families with young children. Whether you want to spend time as a family or enjoy your own space, all guests can indulge in total, stress-free comfort and convenience. Each family suite provides a kids’ room equipped with bunkbeds, gown and slipper sets, and bedside hot-chocolate mugs as well as an array of toys, games, and books. While the children enjoy the perks of their stay, you and your partner can enjoy some much-needed alone time.

If you’d prefer a little more company, you can always take a plunge in the camp’s larger guest pool and take in the sights of the animals doing the same at their very own watering hole just across the lawn

Lodge Features

• Main lodge bar, guest lounge, dining area, boma, and viewing/dining deck
• Kosher dining offering to ensure our Jewish guests can enjoy every treat a stay here has to offer
• Serviced guest pool and loungers, positioned just up a waterhole for an incredible ‘poolside safari’
• In-room spa and beauty treatments at the hands of expert therapists
• Complimentary Wi-Fi – but we recommend reconnecting with each other
• Madikwe Safari Lodge Gallery, curating rare and beautiful items for guests to take home and treasure a piece of South Africa
• Mack & Madi Kids’ Adventure Safari Club – stays, meals and activities are all taken care of for the best time they’ll have in the bush!
• Eco House kids’ entertainment and education area where kids discover through having fun


Lelapa Madikwe Safari Lodge is located in the central-eastern region of Madikwe Game Reserve. The area surrounding the lodge is well known for its rich biodiversity and provides some of the best game-viewing opportunities on the reserve.

GPS co-ordinates: should not be followed as these may get guests lost and most recommended routes are not navigable by normal vehicle.


Through our people and this place, we create experiences for guests to enrich their lives – whether they are looking for adventure, family time, romance, relaxation, or the chance to give back…

The uniqueness of Madikwe lies in its diversity – not only the complexity of biomes but the range of fauna and flora that is a result of the changing landscapes – all of which can be covered in a three-hour safari.

The Kalahari plains in the western sections of park transition into more recognizable lowveld savannah and acacia thickets, while the hillsides and riverine sections provide more wooded areas, providing the perfect environment for an extraordinary array of wildlife.

This is one of the only places in Africa where you can see Aardwolf, Brown Hyena and Spotted Hyena together in one reserve.

Aside from the excellent opportunity of seeing Africa’s Big-5, the Madikwe Game Reserve is also home to healthy Cheetah and Wild Dog populations, as well as Africa’s Secret-7: Aardvark, African Wild Cat, Civet, Large Spotted Genet, Pangolin, Porcupine and Serval.

You’ll have Madikwe’s wide open pristine savannahs pretty much to yourself, as small groups of safaris of maximum six guests are led by a personal professional guide during your stay.

Each sighting has a maximum of three vehicle capacity, while Madikwe also makes allowances for off-roading & tracking through the bush to ensure you get the best possible view of any major sighting.

Game Drives

Game drives, in open safari vehicles, head out each day at sunrise and again in the late afternoon to find the reserve’s many fascinating animals, both diurnal and nocturnal. Keep an eye out for the African wild dog – Madikwe’s signature species. This mammal is one of the continent’s most endangered (largely due to habitat loss), but is flourishing here. With no more than eight guests on a game drive, accompanied by their Madikwe field guide, this is a truly intimate safari experience.
• Duration: ±3 hours
• Includes: a hot beverage or sundowner stop in a scenic spot to purely appreciate being in the bush and in the moment
• Children 6 years and older are welcome on the twice-daily game drives
• The children’s game drive (for young guests 3 to 5 years) goes out daily from 10h00 to 12h00 in summer and from 11h00 to 13h00 in winter; parents are welcome to go along, subject to availability of seats

Madikwe Bush Walks
Bush Walks

These are our after-breakfast walks on the wild side. Guests are immersed in the bush, rather than just observing it. All five senses are engaged, as they feel scrub crunch beneath their feet, touch the velvety acacia seed pod, hear the crack of a branch indicating they are not alone, and spot big game at eye level – exhilarating! Our expert guides will tailor walks to each of our guest’s area/s of interest, focusing on mammals, birds, insects, plants, geology, etc.
• Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on guests’ fitness levels
• Children under 16 years are not permitted on the bush walks
• Guests should wear: neutral-coloured clothing; comfortable walking shoes; a hat; sunglasses; and sunscreen
• Guests should bring along: a lightweight dry mac jacket; camera/smartphone; and binoculars.


Madikwe Game Reserves diversity of flora and condensed biomes, as well as unique location attracts over 350-species of bird to the region. An absolute birders paradise!

A weekend visit in summer is likely to render 180 to 200 species, while a winter visit could yield around 120 to 150 species during your stay. Specials that occur in the dry plains on the reserve include Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Kori Bustard, Temminck’s Courser and White Stork. Double-banded Courser and Burchell’s Courser have also been recorded, while the Bronze-winged Courser is commonly seen during the summer months in the more wooded areas.

The aptly named Southern Pied Babbler is an ever present and commonly seen around the lodge, along with other bushveld species such as Paradise Flycatcher, Acacia Pied Barbet, Green-winged Pytilia and several Waxbill species. Madikwe is an haven for raptor species, with several species of Eagle, Goshawks, Vultures (several endangered) and Goshawks regularly seen.


Wildlife Lectures

At times when the weather is unsuitable for safari activities, our field guides and trackers present short nature talks. They cover a host of subjects, giving guests more insight into the animals they see on safari (e.g. elephant behaviour) and the natural surrounds (e.g. the ecological impact of commercial lodges on the environment). The talks are informal presentations, largely guided by interactions with guests.
• Duration: 2 to 3 hours
• Children of all ages are welcome to accompany their parents

Along with the lodges’ options and flexibility around accommodations and meals, tailor-made activities give children (5 to 11 years) a little extra freedom to explore and just be kids – and make family travel child’s play.

Based at Lelapa Lodge, the Eco House children’s entertainment and education centre keeps young guests occupied with the wonders of the natural world, as well as sporting and creative activities, during their stays. Just some of the fun includes: family morning game drives; bug CSI; spoor casting; scavenger hunts; pool games; board games; rock painting; cookie baking in the kitchen; toasting marshmallows in the boma; and stargazing. Parents are welcome to join in, or sneak a few hours for themselves.


During evening game drives or bush dinners (weather permitting), the field guides will share insights into the skies. The clear air and minimal light pollution of this remote African wilderness make it an ideal location for stargazing. Guests will see planets and stars they have never before noticed with the naked eye. The guides will point out the constellations that shift seasonally and those that are unique to the southern hemisphere (circumpolar constellations), taking guests on an astral safari.

Rhino Conservation Experience*

Madikwe Game Reserve is committed to wildlife conservation, including of the critically endangered rhino species. To this end, the reserve has established The Honorary Officers Counter Poaching Unit (HOCPU), headed by Phillip Hattingh. Guests of Madikwe Safari Lodge have the unique opportunity to join Phillip and experience rhino conservation in action.

After an early morning wake-up call, tea/coffee and a light snack, guests will be transferred by open safari vehicle to Madikwe Eastern Airstrip to meet up with Phillip, park representatives, and a veterinary specialist. Following a conservation orientation session and overview of the morning’s plan of action, the veterinarian will depart by helicopter to track and sedate an as-yet-unrecorded rhino on the reserve.

Once the location of the rhino is called in, guests will be taken by open safari vehicle to the scene where they can participate in the process of gathering DNA samples from the rhino and ‘notching’ (attaching an identifying ear tag). The rhino is soon back on its feet (sedated for no longer than 10 to 15 minutes to minimise stress on the animal) and now recorded in the reference book of identifiable individuals within the Madikwe rhino population.

Through this process, field guides are able to identify the rhinos and record their sightings for the purpose of monitoring the health of the population. In addition, the DNA samples are sent to Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute for each animal’s unique ID to be added to the national database. Thorough records of rhino DNA are also vital to ensure convictions against poachers.
• Duration: 1 to 2 hours, depending on the time it takes to find an un-notched rhino
• Cost: ZAR46 000 (subject to change)
• Includes: refreshments; helicopter use; veterinary specialist services; access to dedicated park officials; and an exclusive encounter with a rhino
• A maximum of 16 guests may participate
• Children under 18 years are not permitted on the Rhino Conservation Experience

Spa* and Wellness

The hours between safaris are an ideal time to spend being pampered. A selection of indulgent therapies is offered by expert therapists in the quiet retreat of guests’ own Suites or private decks – a luxury unique to Africa. Guests choose from full-body massages and have facials individually customised for them with Africology skincare products and essential oils – all ethically formulated with the finest natural and organic ingredients.

Yogis will find no better place to stretch out any leftover tension than on their private decks overlooking the serene reserve. Guests need not pack their mats with these available to borrow from Reception.


Madikwe Safari Lodge Gallery (located at Lelapa Lodge) offers a range of proudly African-produced high-end clothing, accessories, art, and mementos – rare and beautiful items to remind guests of their time in Africa – as well as everyday necessities.

*Subject to an additional cost


• Average maximum temperatures range from 23°C/73°F in July to 40°C/104°F in January, with the lowest average minimum occurring in July at 2°C/36°F
• The region is semi-arid, with an average annual rainfall of 500mm (20in), occurring mostly during the summer months (December – February)
• Rain is usually in the form of thundershowers, where a downpour is experienced, very seldom lasting longer than a few hours

Best Time to Travel

• A year-round safari destination
• The animals in Madikwe Game Reserve are non-migratory, and variation in the safari experience is season rather than location related
• The best period for birdwatching is from October to April

Health Info: Malaria

Lelapa Lodge, Madikwe Safari Lodge is situated in a region of South Africa that is not inhabited by the malaria-carrying mosquito (Anopheles) and is therefore classified MALARIA FREE.


Midweek special rate valid on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night at Lelapa Lodge R3 225.00
Stay for 3 and Pay for 2 nights, valid on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night at Lelapa Lodge R4 299.00



Included: •         All meals;

•         Teas/Coffees;

•         Two game drives daily with FGASA qualified ranger;

•         Game drive refreshments & snacks;

•         Transfers to and from the Eastern Madikwe airstrip;

•         Specified inclusive safari activities.

•         Wi-Fi in public areas.

Excluded: •         Laundry;

•         Beverages;

•         Cigars & cigarettes;

•         All flights and transfers not specified;

•         Gratuities;

•         Telephone calls;

•         Curio shop purchases;

•         Spa treatments;

•         Park & conservations fees.

•         Any additional extras will be for the guest’s account


Additional Charges: ·         There is a drinks package available at R595 per Adult per day and R200 per Child per day.
Park fees are charged as below:o    Recovery levy (optional) – R 115 per person per nighto    MGR Entrance fee (child) – R 80 per child (11 years and youngero    MGR Entrance fee (adult) – R 180 per adult

o    Guest Conservation levy (child) – R 82.50 per child per day (11 years and younger

o    Guest Conservation levy (adult) – R 165 per adult per da

·         All park fees, entrance fees and conservation fees are subject to change and at an additional cost.

·         Additional fees are charged if arriving by air.

 Subject to Availability. Terms & Conditions Apply.  E&OE.