Thakadu River Camp
Tucked away along the banks of the Marico River, Thakadu River Camp comprises 12 luxurious tented suites, each with its own viewing deck.
Owned and run by locals from the surrounding Molatedi village, it is situated near the Botswana border, within malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. This charming safari camp sleeps up to 24 people, and features a main lodge overlooking a gully, leading to a river teeming with wildlife.
Facilities & Activities
The main thatched lodge has an open-plan lounge complete with sumptuous sofas and offering magnificent views of the river below. There are also dining and reception areas, as well as a pool and bar overlooking the river and surrounding bush. Friendly staff go above and beyond to meet your needs from the moment you arrive.
Game drives are run by highly-trained rangers, who help you spot Africa’s ‘Big Five’ and share their vast knowledge of the area’s fauna and flora. Drives take place in the morning and evening, which both offer completely different sighting opportunities. Keen twitchers will enjoy bird-watching during the drives, when guides will point out a variety of birds such as the Yellow Throated Sandgrouse and African Eagle.
Note that children under six years are not permitted on standard game drives, but there is a special 90-minute game drive available especially for children after breakfast, which parents can also join.
Other activities available to guests include star-gazing, and Boma dining (eating outdoors around the fire). Guests looking to disconnect from modern life will enjoy the lack of Wi-Fi in tents (there is access in the main lodge, but it can be slow).
For a little pampering, massage treatments are available in the comfort of your own room from 8am until 4pm.
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All meals are included in your stay. There’s a good variation of dishes that are fresh and healthy. Don’t miss the boma dinner safari experience, where you can tuck into barbecued delicacies whilst sitting outside around an open fire.
Thakadu River Camp sleeps up to 24 guests in 12 luxury tented suites.
The tents are spacious, beautifully decorated with natural materials such as stone and wood, and ooze safari style. Each tent comes with either two single beds or one king-sized bed, en-suite bathroom with bath and shower, air-conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, and a sliding door that opens onto a private viewing deck.
Children are welcome in any of the 12 tents, but there are 4 family tents that come with an extra sofa-bed. Families travelling with teenagers also have the option of booking multiple tents next to each other.
Take a Video Tour
Children of all ages are welcome to stay here but those under six years are not allowed on the main game drives. However, there are special, 90-minute family game drives, called ‘Bumble Drives’, available at a supplement (R280 per family, stc). These are slightly shorter and later in the morning, and allow youngsters to enjoy the thrill of spotting some of the area’s animals. Babysitting services are available on request and at an additional charge.
This tented camp along the clear green Marico not far from the Botswana border is 100% owned by a group of Tlokwa families (the Tlokwa are a sub-group of the Tswana people with clans scattered from Botswana to Lesotho) – most of whom live in a small nearby village called Molatedi. The community members gain clear benefits from having this luxury lodge here – it’s a model of responsible tourism.
Not only is there an annual amount paid to the community’s trust fund by the camp’s operators, but only local villagers are employed and trained at the lodge, so it provides employment as well as profit-share to the community. Not surprisingly, Thakadu is a Fair Trade in Tourism-certified destination.
The malaria-free camp’s location beside the Marico River is superb – and means you can watch animals drinking at the water’s edge from the comfort of your own suite. It is around a five-hour drive from Johannesburg.
Established in 1991, Madikwe Game Reserve is made up of some 75,000 hectares, making it South Africa’s fifth largest game reserve. Stay in one of the luxury lodges and you could glimpse big game including lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffaloes, white and black rhinos and antelope. There is also an abundant birdlife, with over 300 resident and migratory species making their home here.
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