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Trip Report: Morukuru (Madikwe Game Reserve) with Our Son

Trip Report: Morukuru (Madikwe Game Reserve) with Our Son

Old Sep 4, 18, 10:57 am
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Trip Report: Morukuru (Madikwe Game Reserve) with Our Son


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Portion 5 Portion 1 Middleport KP93 Northwest Province, ZA 02838

Trip Report: Morukuru (Madikwe Game Reserve) with Our Son (23 Photos)



Following our stay at Tswalu, we took the recommendation of fellow flyertalkers and continued on to Morukuru in the Madikwe Game Reserve. We flew 55 minutes from Johanessburg aboard one of Federal Air’s regularly scheduled Cessna Caravans. Madikwe was free of both malaria and tsetse flies. It wasn’t as beautiful a wilderness as Tswalu; there were more signs of development. But combining these two properties allowed our 6 year old to complete his Big Five (lion, rhino, leopard, cape buffalo, and elephant) as well as his Magnificent Seven (cheetah and wild dog).
Morukuru is officially a Relais and Chateaux lodge, but it’s really three private staffed villas that sleep 4, 6, and 10 people respectively. As with Tswalu, we had our own private game vehicle and were able to eat where and when we wanted. For this reason, Morukuru has been very popular with families.
African Sunset
Cessna Caravan

Morukuru Owner's House

We stayed in the smaller of the villas, the very African and very elegant Owner’s House. The decor included African artwork and artifacts, with an abundance of stone and thatch. 
There were two master bedrooms, a living room, dining room, office, and gourmet/commercial kitchen. Each bedroom had it’s own lovely ensuite bathroom with every luxury amenity including radiant heat flooring, a freestanding tub, and an indoor and outdoor shower. There was also a powder room at the front of the house. One of the best features was the floor to ceiling sliding doors (in almost all of the rooms) that opened the house up to an extensive decking and balcony system. The many decks and balconies allowed us to take all of our meals outside without ever eating in the same place twice. The Owner’s House also had an edgeless pool, firepit, starlit bathtub, and even an elevated dining sala.
Owner's House Floor Plan
Dining Room
Decking and Balconies
Master Bedroom
Master Bathroom
Edgeless Pool
Dining Sala

Service and Guiding

Our household consisted of a “team” of nine people. We enjoyed the company of a house manager and guide (married to each other), a tracker, chef, server, and various other wonderful support staff and housekeeping ninjas (like the Aman ninjas that used to sneak into your room when you weren’t looking to tidy your bed or wipe your bathroom countertops).
Our house manager and guide helped us to carefully plan each day; determining what animals we would look for, and what times we would take meals and do game drives. There was a lot to coordinate…see the Dining section below. And our team never missed a beat. For our son, they organized a walking safari in a predator-free fenced area of the reserve. They also provided him with a quality backpack full of goodies and nightly turndown surprises. On our last night, we were able to make a donation to a local school and our team arranged for the students to do a dance presentation for us.
FYI, spa services were available for an additional charge in a small riverside sala down the hill from the Owner’s House. They tended to run a bit on “Africa Time” as they were about 10-15 minutes late.
Lilac Breasted Roller
Land Rover Defender
Walking Safari


Morukuru was very much a food and wine experience. In short, it’s really hard to go wrong with your own private chef. The staff requested food preferences before our arrival and then the chef reviewed each planned meal with us before cooking it (in case we wanted to make changes). Every meal was an event…usually served outside with table cloths, silver, romantic lanterns and candles…whether eating outside on one of our house’s many balconies or eating at one of Morukuru’s pop-up bush venues. We also loved the warm water hand washing stations they provided when we were eating in the bush! 
Our favorite foods included the eland, ostrich, biltong mini quiches, brai (grill) bread, and anything that was cooked in the tiny pots buried in hot coals! Our little boy loved the peanut butter and nutella ice cream. They served solid South African wines but even better ones were available at an additional cost.
Dining Venue
Food Presentation
Food Presentation

Game Sightings

Besides being malaria free, the Madikwe Game Reserve is known for it’s varied wildlife.
Our sightings included large herds of elephants with babies, a leopard after a kill, a lion just outside our house’s entrance gate, a white rhino baby whimpering to be nursed, a rock monitor lizard, a brown hyena, warthogs, baboons, giraffes with babies, plains zebra, cape buffalo, sable, impala, kudu, steenbok, springbok, water buck, tsessebe, a slender mongoose, a banded mongoose, scrub hare, hornbills, a white backed vulture, an Africa wild cat, lilac breasted rollers, a blue waxbill, a little bee-eater, and an ant lion.
Rock Monitor Lizard


There can be fewer more luxurious ways to go on safari than in your own private home with a staff of nine to care for you. Especially when you have a small child. We enjoyed our stay tremendously and were able to see animals that we hadn’t elsewhere. But Madikwe’s power lines, fences and the presence of other game vehicles may not appeal to more seasoned safari goers.
Entertainment Venue
Beverage Presentation
Trip Report: Morukuru (Madikwe Game Reserve) with Our Son

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KatW, SanDiego1K and FlyerEC like this.
Ericka is offline  
Old Sep 4, 18, 1:53 pm
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That roller!
KatW is offline  
Old Sep 4, 18, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by KatW View Post
That roller!
I never liked birds until our first trip to Africa. I think thatís because I never really saw them. Once I picked up the binoculars I was hooked.
Ericka is offline  
Old Sep 4, 18, 2:49 pm
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This brought back great memories. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you had a good time.
xracer is offline  
Old Sep 4, 18, 4:07 pm
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Gorgeous photos and great descriptions - thanks for sharing!
umbrella007 is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 4:07 pm
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Thanks for the terrific report. How much did you crop the photos, especially the cats and the elephant? They look awfully close
farbster is offline  
Old Sep 5, 18, 4:25 pm
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Originally Posted by farbster View Post
Thanks for the terrific report. How much did you crop the photos, especially the cats and the elephant? They look awfully close
You pretty much get that close. Thatís the nice thing about these reserves that have been open for a while...the animals are all very habituated to the vehicles. When the vehicles are standing still, the animals will approach and get within a few feet. Except for maybe the desert black rhinos who will either charge the vehicle or run away.
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