5 amazing experiences in the African wild

Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s most renowned private game reserves. It boasts 75,000 hectares of unspoilt malaria-free wilderness devoid of tourist vehicles at every turn, stunning landscapes, and bushes and plains full of wild animals. Here you can see Africa’s Big Five (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros) as well as the critically-endangered African wild dog, cheetahs, the most stunning birds and hundreds of other creatures.


Jaci’s award-winning lodges consist of two luxury safari lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve – Jaci’s Safari Lodge and Jaci’s Tree Lodge. These lodges offer a wide range of amazing experiences that are not offered by most other safari lodges in South Africa. Apart from the twice daily game drives, sundowners on safari, bush walks, boma dinners and bush spa treatments, they also provide the following unique experiences:


Sleep in a tree house

Jaci’s Tree Lodge boasts 8 wonderfully secluded luxury tree houses built on stilts suspended high among the trees. Connected by wooden walkways, they blend into the canopy of the surrounding foliage and overlook the Marico River, where animals come to quench their thirst. The tree houses are made from a combination of wood and canvas and are decorated in vibrant colours. Each room includes beds, a bathtub, a private balcony and a private outdoor shower from which you can enjoy the views. If you don’t get to stay in the tree house, you can always relax in the tree hide. It hovers over a very active waterhole and has a comfortable bed on which you can lie back and enjoy the view…and perhaps catch a siesta.


Sleep under the stars

When you look up at the stars in a place where the air is clean and there are few artificial lights, the stars shine with an additional clarity that one will probably never experience in the murky skies of the cities that most of us inhabit. The newly built Starbed Suites are the perfect form of glamping. You get to sleep under the stars but are still surrounded by luxury. The Starbeds are perched atop the massive suites, and are accessed from the outdoor deck, offering complete privacy and superb views – above and below.


All the requisite facilities are available in the glamorous suite – a lounge, a stunning bathroom with double washbasins and a huge bathtub, indoor and outdoor showers, and a wide deck overlooking the Marico River. There is also an indoor bed, should the night air turn chilly or the rain begin to fall.


Go on a photographic safari with a professional photographer 

Jaci’s has secured the services of acclaimed wildlife and nature photographer, Andrew Aveley, as their resident photographic professional. He will take guests on the lodge’s specialised photographic vehicle which is equipped with Gimpro game viewer mounts and specialised DSLR equipment for taking professional-level wildlife photos. Guests will be taught everything from the basic operations of the equipment to aperture, ISO, composition, as well as editing the photos. When Andrew is not at the lodge, the lodge’s in-house photographic guide will take guests out on photographic safaris. Guests are supplied with SD cards containing all the images that they took on their photographic safari.


Photograph animals from an underwater hide

If you want to get even more intimate with the wildlife, then you have to experience The Terrapin Hide, a submerged photographic hide. Opened just over a year ago, it lies in the middle of a deep waterhole and is accessible via an underwater tunnel. Enthusiastic photographers can capture priceless images of animals from the centre of the waterhole without them being aware of your presence.


Experience a family safari

Observing the wide-eyed wonder of your children seeing animals in the wild for the first time is a family experience that’s hard to beat. Jaci’s is one of the most child-friendly safari lodges in South Africa. Over 5-year olds can accompany the adults on the normal game drives and those under 5 are taken on their own shorter “jungle” drives. They are made to feel special, taught bush skills and taken on bush activity walks. They also have a playroom and swimming pools at their disposal. The swing bridge that they will walk on as they go to game drives and return from them will make them feel like true adventurers. The motto at Jaci’s is that children are celebrated here – not just tolerated.


Which one of the above would you like to experience? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments (20)

  1. Stacey says:

    These are epic! Wow we just did a self drive but now I really want to sleep under the stars! It looks so romantic!

  2. Christina says:

    I never knock back a chance to travel to Africa and I do so love glamping. Those Starbeds look like a fabulous experience. Sign me up!

  3. Star Lengas says:

    Sounds like an awesome experience! I definitely want to stay in the tree house! What was a bush spa like??

  4. Allison says:

    This looks amazing! I need to get to South Aftica fast! I love the outdoor bed but good to know there is one indoors just incase 😀

  5. Lydia Nasso says:

    Wow – I wouldn’t know to choose from the star-gazing or the tree house!! The underwater hide & the photography safari are such great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Janine Good says:

    Every time I read about Africa, my wanderlust goes into overload. I truly love these experiences and the treehouse is tops in my books. That looks so elegant and posh in a beautiful natural environment. The family safaris look beautiful as well and those lions! Wow!

  7. First of all, I SO want to sleep under the stars – that setup looks incredible!

    Second, photographing animals from an underwater hide is soooo cool! This is a great article – definitely picked up some great ideas for when I (eventually!) make it to Africa!

  8. Vicki Louise says:

    I absolutely love all of these. The star beds look incredible (I slept under the starts on a camping roll-mat but it doesn’t have the same effect!) and I loved taking photos from the underwater hidey holes!

  9. Deni says:

    Wow! This seems like such an incredible experience! It’s amazing that you can sleep under the stars, get a professional photography class and test your skills on a safari, and capture photos of wild animals in their natural habitat thanks to the underground hideaway near the watering hole! And the treehouse?! I can’t even imagine how incredible your trip must have been. I’ve been hearing great things about safaris further North in Africa, but I will definitely have to add this to my Pinterest board for travel adventures in Africa now!! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Sara Essop says:

    Thank you Stacey. Sleeping under the stars is really something special! You have to try it out someday.

  11. Sara Essop says:

    Thank you Christina. This is the ultimate form of glamping -with all your creature comforts just on the level below you.

  12. Sara Essop says:

    Thank you Star. The treehouse is the perfect place to chill in. The bush spa is amazing. You get a heavenly massage while you’re overlooking the bush.

  13. Sara Essop says:

    Thank you Allison. Hope you get to visit South Africa soon. The indoor bed is great in case the weather turns bad.

  14. Sara Essop says:

    Thanks Lydia. The great thing is that you can do the tree house and the star-gazing… and the other activities too. They’re all amazing.

  15. Sara Essop says:

    Thanks Janine. You should visit South Africa soon. It will be a truly unique experience, unlike anywhere else in the world.

  16. Sara Essop says:

    Thank you Courtney. If I could have helped it, I would have sat in that underwater hide all day, photographing the animals…but then again… the star bed was calling me

  17. Sara Essop says:

    Thanks Vicki. A luxurious star bed is definitely something to experience…and so are the underwater hides.

  18. Sara Essop says:

    Thanks Dani. It certainly is incredible. You should definitely consider South Africa for a safari and stay for a few days so that you can experience everything.

  19. Hugh says:

    I really have to go and try the Star bed. It looks amazing. And to hear the lions growl while you have a lie-in must be even better!

  20. Sara Essop says:

    Thanks Hugh. It is definitely a uniquely African experience that is hard to beat. The night sky is your canopy and the lions roar far down below – but you are safe.

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