Our Rating
7.7
Overall

Thakadu River Camp

South Africa, Near Gauteng, Madikwe

from R 2974 pp/night sharing

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21%
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Our Rating
7.7
Overall

Thakadu River Camp

South Africa, Near Gauteng, Madikwe

from R 2974 pp/night sharing

Save
21%
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Our Verdict

Community-owned lodge with 12 gorgeous tented rooms - wonderfully warm and hospitable staff and great value for money!

Our Ratings

7.7
Overall
7.0
Luxury & Style
7.5
Setting
8.0
Game Viewing
8.0
Romance

Our Ratings

7.7
Overall
7.0
Luxury & Style
7.5
Setting
8.0
Game Viewing
8.0
Romance

What's Hot

  • Thakadu River Camp is owned by the community of Molatedi village and the vast majority of the staff come from here –this shows through in their pride in the lodge and their wonderfully warm and friendly hospitality!
  • There’s something about sleeping under canvas that makes you feel more connected to the bush outside – lie in your tent and listen to the sounds of the animals and birds outside and you’ll see what we mean!
  • The tents are really gorgeous and ooze that colonial safari ambiance which makes the whole experience very romantic!
  • The swimming pool deck overlooking the river is the perfect place to chill out whilst looking out for animals coming down to drink – look out for the ellies which are almost daily visitors!
  • Very good game viewing - you may struggle for leopard but the rest of the Big Five is almost guaranteed (but it’s the wild dog sightings that get us excited about Madikwe!)

What's Not

  • Thakadu River Camp is child friendly but regrettably, due to safety concerns, children under 6 years of age are unable to participate in game drives - but shorter kiddie’s game drives can be arrange after breakfast
  • Even if they are spacious and pretty luxurious, some people prefer conventional rooms to tented accommodation
  • The design of the dining area is pretty open and it can be chilly at night despite the big fire place
Thakadu River Camp

Thakadu River Camppretty much every staff member that you come across – from your ranger to the barman to the housekeeping lady – is actually an “owner” of the lodge and this translates into Thakadu being one of the warmest and most hospitable lodges

Lodge Profile

Community-owned lodge with 12 gorgeous tented rooms - wonderfully warm and hospitable staff and great value for money!

Quick Overview

Location
Madikwe
Drive Time
4 hours from Johannesburg
Malaria
No
Setting
Overlooking a river
Rooms
12 tented suites - 8 luxury & 4 family units
Aircon
Yes
Pool
Yes
Spa
In-room massage
Camp Fenced
Yes
Tracker
No - only ranger
Off Road
No
Child Policy
All ages

At Bushscapes we make no secret of the fact that we generally prefer owner-managed lodges – it makes sense that if people own a lodge, they are more committed and emotionally invested into making it a success and ensuring that guests have a great experience! Thakadu River Camp takes that to another level in that it’s actually owned by the local community of nearby Molatedi village from which nearly all the staff are drawn (it’s a partnership between the village and North West Parks and the operator, African Hotels and Adventures) What this essentially means is that pretty much every staff member that you come across – from your ranger to the barman to the housekeeping lady – is actually an “owner” of the lodge! What this translates into is that Thakadu is one of the warmest and most hospitable lodges you’ll ever have the pleasure of staying at, with staff really going out of their way to make sure you have a memorable stay at “their” lodge!

Thakadu River Camp is set on the eastern border of Madikwe and enjoys lovely views of the Marico River, giving you the chance to relax on the pool deck and watch the animals come down to the river to drink (in fact, elephants are almost daily visitors and great fun to watch as they cavort in the water and enjoy their mud baths!) The camp is hidden within the riverine canopy that lines along the Marico River and comprises of 12 tented suites - 8 Standard and 4 are Family units. They might be called “tents” but you can banish any thoughts of roughing it as the tents at Thakadu are gorgeous – they’re spacious, elegant and extremely comfortable! Within the canvas frame the interior is designed to incorporate a full bathroom (fitted with a Victorian bath and rain shower) and are well equipped and stylish with a nostalgic colonial safari ambiance.

Air conditioning cools down the hot summer evenings while in winter you can climb into your toasty comfortable bed, thoughtfully pre-heated by an electric blanket activated by a staff member whilst you’re out on your evening game drive. Each tent has a sliding door that opens onto a private viewing deck overlooking the Marico River, the perfect spot to relax with a good book or you can just take in the lush views of the gully and river below. Perhaps the best part about sleeping in a tent is the way that the sounds of the bush make their way inside in a way that just doesn’t happen in a conventional room – it really adds to that feeling of connectedness with the wild! The camp can be split if necessary – “Little Thakadu” is formed by 4 of the tents and features a private lounge, dining area and private plunge pool and is ideal for small groups and families.

The main lodge is located between the Marico and a small tributary of the Marico – it boasts a reception area, open plan lounge and dining area with a fireplace for those cold winter evening and a pool and bar area overlooking the river – on those lazy summer afternoons, this is the place to relax with a long and very cold drink whilst you keep your eyes peeled on the view of the animals and the river below. The influence of the river is very apparent, with the trees, birds and water providing a peaceful and tranquil mood within Thakadu. And if that isn’t enough to get you into a relaxed frame of mind, then perhaps a pampering massage in the privacy of your room will do the trick! Other facilities include a meeting room for those of you on bush business, as well as a traditional boma for dining under the African night sky around the warmth of a bonfire!

Away from the lodge there’s the excellent game viewing offered by the Madikwe reserve to be enjoyed. Located along the Botswana border in the north-west of the country, this 75 000 hectare reserve is one of the largest in the country and is also malaria free. In 1991, game was reintroduced into the then newly proclaimed park by way of a programme called 'Operation Phoenix' –the largest game translocation exercise in the world! As Madikwe lies within a transition region between lowveld bushveld and the Kalahari thornveld, there is a diverse range of animals found here (including the Big Five of course) with the reserve being particularly famous for its packs of wild dog. Although it’s a government run park, no day visitors are permitted, with just the vehicles of the various private lodges allowed to operate within the reserve – and a bonus is that rangers are allowed to go off-road in pursuit of sightings, so you will enjoy really close-up encounters with big game!

Pricing

pp/night sharing

More Information

Booking Notes

  • Minimum stay 2 nights
  • A bed levy of R 10 per person per night is payable directly to the lodge
  • Gate Fees to be paid directly at the Lodge - R 160 per adult per stay & R 65 per child, (under 12 years), per stay
  • If guests fly into the Madikwe, the Park Entrance fee would be charged directly at the lodge - R 215 per adult and R120 per child per stay
  • Subject to availability

Child Policy

  • Under 5 years will be free of charge
  • Children 6 - 11 years will pay 50% of the rate when sharing with 2 adults
  • Please note children under the age of 6 years will not be permitted on game drive
  • Baby-sitting available on request at R80 per hour for maximum two kids and R160 if more than two