Set in 1,800 hectares inside the Madikwe Game Reserve, the second largest in South Africa, Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge is small and intimate, with 8 luxurious suites. It has welcomed some illustrious guests, among them Barbara Bush and Michelle Obama.
Each spacious suite has a lounge which floor to ceiling glass walls and doors opening onto a private deck with views over the Marico River. The bathrooms are huge and roll-top bathtubs and spectacular outdoor showers. Other facilities include telephone, tea & coffee making equipment, a bar fridge, bathrobes and a range of toiletries. You'll have the option of spending a night in the sleepout hide for a taste of the African wilderness, surrounded by the sounds of the bush as you rest on your comfy bed on your second storey platform.
The lounge and dining room, both open out onto the large deck area, which overlooks a waterhole. There's also a boma where you can enjoy meals around the camp fire. Makanyane is renowned for its food and is a foodie's delight. The bar is situated on the deck and is a great place to unwind after a day's game viewing and the upper viewing deck offers sweeping views over the surrounding area. There's a lovely pool, a spa and a gym to burn off any excess calories! You can sit back and relax on the secluded viewing deck on the edge of the plains or in one of the game viewing hides.
There are morning and afternoon game drives in open 4x4 vehicles, as well as night game drives. There are also daily guided game walks. This area has a rich variety of game and in addition to The Big 5 guests may see cheetah, wild dog, hyena, giraffe, zebra and several species of antelope. This is also good bird watching country with over 340 species.
Open: Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge is open all year.
Location: Makanyane Safari Lodge is located amidst a forest by the Marico River in the 75,000 hectare Madikwe Game Reserve, a malaria-free Big 5 destination. The Madikwe Game Reserve airstrip is about 10kms from the lodge. The flight from Johannesburg takes about 50 minutes while driving time is about 3 and a half hours. The lodge is about 60kms from Gaborone in Botswana.
Rooms: There are 8 guest suites, all with views of the Marico River. The large glass walls make the most of the views. Each suite has a sitting area and private deck where you can watch passing wildlife. Suites make use of natural materials such as rock, wood and thatch. The bathroom is luxurious with underfloor heating, a large bathtub, indoor and outdoor showers. All rooms have a safe, minibar, tea and coffee makers, battery charging facilities and direct dial telephones. There's an open fireplace, overhead fans and air conditioning. Bathrobes and toiletries including sun lotion and bottled drinking water are provided. The lodge is unfenced and rangers or security guards will escort you to your suite after dark.
Activities: The lodge offers game drives by day and night and walking safaris. There are a number of bush hides with views of the waterhole or plains where you can observe varied wildlife. There's a lovely outdoor infinity pool and sundeck, a bush spa specialising in aromatherapy and massage, and a gym with weights and cardio-vascular equipment. While at Makanyane you have the option of a sleep out, spending the night on the upper deck of a hide deep in the bush next to the waterhole. There are proper beds and you'll fall asleep to the sounds of wildlife around you. Bush breakfast and barbecues also allow you to spend time in beautiful, remote locations.
Facilities: The main building has a high-ceilinged lounge with 2 rock fireplaces and expansive viewing deck by the waterhole. There's a covered bar on the deck. The dining room also open son to the deck for indoor and outdoor meals. There's a library, shop selling gifts, toiletries, camera film and batteries, and an upper storey air conditioned den and viewing deck with panoramic views. The lodge has an outdoor swimming pool and sundeck. The boma, enclosed by reeds, bush and trees, is often used for dinners, eaten around the camp fire. There's a viewing deck set a little way from the main lodge, ideal for secluded game viewing. The lodge offers a free laundry service.
Dining: Meals are taken communally with other guests in the dining room, deck and boma. The lodge also arranges bush breakfasts and barbecues.
Children: Children aged 12 years and older are welcome.
Health: This is not a malarial area.
Communication: There is internet access.
Notes: The nightly rate includes twice daily game drives, all meals, drinks on the game drives, all tea, coffee and laundry. It excludes telephone calls, shop purchases, drinks from the bar and tips. The lodge accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners card.
"Our suite was incredible - private, but with wide views over the river, and very luxurious! I don't know how they managed to consistently make such excellent food so far away from any towns, but it was like eating in a 5* restaurant for every meal. We saw more wildlife than we ever expected to, and got the sense that the guides really care about the animals there. Finally, we could not have been looked after better by the staff there - I had some medical issues while we were there (not related to the lodge in any way) and all the staff went hugely above and beyond the call of duty to make sure I was well looked after. We were so sad to leave and would recommend this lodge in a heartbeat."