Jaci’s Safari Lodge

2874 R49, 2874, South Africa

When it comes to safari experiences, South Africa is filled with luxury lodge selections. But what sets Jaci’s Safari Lodge, and the adjacent Jaci’s Tree Lodge, apart is their location in off the radar Madikwe Game Reserve (Big Five territory), their amazing hospitality and their perfectly on-point style. Magnificent Madikwe is located in the North West Province, on the border with Botswana, and the southern edge of the Kalahari Desert’s famed red sands. It’s a stunning landscape for a safari that looks quite different than what you find in the reserves like the luxe Sabi Sands around Kruger National Park and is just as accessible. Arrive via car on paved roads from Johannesburg in just about 4 hours or hop on a quick hour long scenic flight with the excellent Federal Airlines that will take you to an airstrip about 15- minutes drive through the park from the lodge — you’ll be greeted by a safari vehicle and on the way may just encounter a herd or elephant or pride of lions as we did.

Upon arrival at Jaci’s Safari Lodge you’ll be greeted by the beyond friendly and professional staff and offered a welcome drink in the gorgeous, vibrantly colored lounge and dining room area while your luggage is whisked away to your tent or suite. Jaci’s Safari Lodge offers six vintage posh Tented Suites, two privat eFamily Suites and two ultra luxe Starbed Suites, which have the option of sleeping al fresco under the stars listening to the sounds of nature — a rhino was just below us against the fence when we stayed making noise as he stomped and munched. But if sleeping al fresco isn’t for you, don’t worry as the Starbed Suites are in proper glass, steel and concrete structures with interior bedrooms completely closed off from the outside. There are more options at the adjacent Jaci’s Tree Lodge, which offers eight Treehosue Suites on custom wooden stilts connected by raised walkways that appear to float above the ground.

The food here is delicious and Madikwe Game Reserve is a hidden secret among South African parks and filled with dozens upon dozens of big cats (so many they had to remove a number of lions over the years) as well as two packs of rare wild dogs and a healthy rhino and elephant population. The guides are amazing and the bush dinners truly special. They even have a program that allows you to rent high end Canon DSLR cameras for your safaris that will bring out your inner wildlife photographer — we used these and the experience was a highlight of the trip.

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