Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jaci’s Tree Lodge - Madikwe Game Reserve

Our drive from Black Rhino Lodge in the Pilanesberg, to Jaci’s Tree Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve, took us approximately 2 hours, on arrival we were met by the staff and shown around the main area of the lodge, we were then shown to our room, all the rooms at Jaci’s Tree Lodge are raised on stilts with board walks connecting all of them together, our room was literally built around one of the huge trees at Jaci’s Tree Lodge as our roof was thatched around one of the branches of the tree, the room itself was very comfortable with a big bed, large bath, toilet and outdoor shower. As it was extremely cold they had all the heaters going and walking into our room was lovely and warm, there were also electric blankets on the bed which made the world of difference as we were kept lovely and toasty all night long.

Once settled into our room at Jaci's we went through to high tea and then we were off on our afternoon game drive in Madikwe, the afternoon was a little slow as we headed to the south of the park in search of the Wild Dogs, which we unfortunately didn't find, but we did see Elephant, Zebra and Wildebeest, it was then back to Jaci's lodge for a scrumptious dinner under the stars with blankets and fires to keep us warm.

The next morning our wake up call was at 06h00 with the game drive departing at 06h30 and we were back just before 10h00. Jaci’s Tree Lodge had moved onto their winter schedule, so we would have Brunch, High Tea and dinner, the early morning start meant that we were served muffins and porridge with tea & coffee and juice before heading out on our morning drive in Madikwe Game Reserve. Waiting for us on the vehicles were blankets and hot water bottles to keep us warm on the morning drive. This morning we were in luck as we had a lovely sighting of 2 lionesses just as the sun was rising, and then as we were leaving this sighting the call came in – the Wild Dogs had been spotted! We drove off to where they were last seen, we didn't need to go too far, where we came across them in the main road, they were of course hunting and so were moving very fast, unfortunately I wasn't quick enough with my camera, but still we had seen them and were soon following after them, traveling as fast as we could to keep up, they actually ran straight past the 2 lionesses who were still sleeping. After we had lost them in the thick bush we ended up driving back past the lionesses who were now looking very alert at all the commotion. Besides those 2 spectacular sightings we saw the usual line up including White Rhino and even a Fish Eagle.

Brunch was a huge affair with a buffet of fresh fruit, a stunning lamb curry with couscous, cold meats, cheeses etc. all followed by a hot English breakfast and the best toast I have ever tasted – made from their home made bread. With our tummies full we dropped our things off in our room as we had decided to take a walk across to Jaci’s Safari Lodge to have a look at the rooms and that lodge, the walk is a lovely amble through the trees along the river. Jaci’s Safari Lodge chalets are quite different to Tree Lodge as the units are thatched Tents with solid walls, canvas Door and a thatched roof.  Jaci’s Safari Lodge also has a different layout & feel and caters best for children with their very own indoor play room, Jaci’s Tree Lodge guests are also able to utilize the play room as well as the gym which are both situated at Jaci's Safari Lodge.

After our lovely walk and a shortcut back through the staff village we had our afternoon siesta, then it was time for high tea and the afternoon game drive which saw us heading north in Madikwe where we found Lion. This time 1 adult female with a sub-adult male and 2 cubs, they were all looking very fat and lazy as they had made a kill that morning. We also saw 6 Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Kudu, Impala, Black backed jackal, Zebra etc.

The next morning saw us up again at 06h00 and off on our game drive after some hot oats and drinks. This morning was a little quieter but we still saw Elephant, Giraffe, Impala, Mongoose and we even managed to see the back end of a brown hyena! We were then back to the lodge for another huge brunch and to pack as we were off to Etali Safari Lodge also in the Madikwe Game Reserve. 

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