Did you know?
At 75 000ha, Madikwe is the 4th-largest reserve in South Africa after Kruger National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
There are many luxury bush lodges in Africa, but the true eco-lodges are few and far between. Mosetlha Bush Camp in the Madikwe Game Reserve is one of these.
Here there is no air conditioning – instead you breathe fresh bushveld air wafting across the half-walls of your raised wooden cabin.
All the emphasis is on your direct experience with nature: the rustle of francolins wandering through the camp; the depth of quiet at midday in the shade; the shimmering song of cicadas; the meticulous craftsmanship of a spider spinning a web; a dung beetle rolling a ball as big as he is; an ant-lion setting a trap for an ant; or elephants lording it over all the other animals at a waterhole.
This is an exclusive wilderness experience with minimal ecological impact.
Instead of luxury, Mosetlha offers comfort. Instead of using electricity, delicious meals are cooked over an open fire (and the water for your shower is heated in the same way).
Instead of television, there are the sparks rising from a fire to meet the sparkling Milky Way above.
The soundtrack is entirely natural – the penetrating stillness of the bushveld, punctuated by the distant roar of a lion or the wistful whoop of a hyena.
The unfenced camp, which accommodates a maximum of 16 guests, is owned by Chris and June Lucas and their daughter, Caroline.
Chris ran a field-guide training company in the early 1990s, based in Madikwe. For four years, Mosetlha was a sleeping-bag-and-rough-it weekend operation, in large part established to give jobs to the newly qualified field guides.
Demand grew, and the dormitory style sleeping places morphed into individual cabins.
But Mosetlha has never lost its bush cred. Many of those original field guides and staff members, now highly experienced, have been with Mosetlha from its small beginnings, and there are many return visitors.
Guests rave about the game drives and walks in this malaria-free Big Five reserve – thanks in large part to the excellent guides.
This low-impact environmentally conscious bush lodge adheres to all the principles as of ecotourism, including a light ecological impact, sustainable water use, careful disposal of waste, involvement of local community and conservation of fauna and flora.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mosetlha Bush Camp
Tel:+27 (0)11 444 9345
How to get here
Madikwe is about a four-hour drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria. Head for Rustenburg via the Hartbeespoort Dam. From Rustenburg, take the N4, passing through Swartruggens to Zeerust. In Zeerust, take the road signposted R47 to Gaborone and Madikwe Game Reserve. After 85km, turn in at the Abjaterskop Hate. Your hosts will direct you to where you should park your car and you will wait for a lodge vehicle to pick you up.
Best time to visit
Each season has its delights. Bear in mind, though, that Madikwe, which is on the fringes of the Kalahari Desert, can be startlingly cold in winter (May to August) and very hot in summer (December to February).
Around the area
If you’re looking for a total contrast, Madikwe isn’t far from the gambling and entertainment complex Sun City. Madikwe is also conveniently close to Gaborone in Botswana. It makes an excellent part of a route between Johannesburg and environs and Botswana.
You’ll be picked up from an area close to the gate by Mosetlha staff, and from there on you’ll be transported in 4x4s.
What will it cost
The rate is approx. R1 800 per person per night sharing. This includes accommodation, all meals, two game drives a day and snacks.
Length of stay
To truly relax into your bush experience, it’s best to stay for 3 nights, or at the very least, 2.
What to eat
Many of the meals prepared over the open fire are traditional South African dishes, like bobotie.