Jamala Royal Safari Lodge | Madikwe Game Reserve

jamala entrance

Personal Impression

The instant I entered Jamala Royal Safari Lodge I knew it was something special. Beautifully decorated and comfortable and a large water hole full of activity was immediately visible. With an hour of being at the lodge we saw elephants and giraffes (necking) and antelope at the watering hole.  It has been mentioned this is an armchair safari just stay at the lodge and watch the waterhole! Children are welcome if the entire lodge is booked.

giraffe at watering hole

The Game

Madikwe Game Reserve is huge and has good game. The off roading experience is more limited and it is an entirely different topography to the private reserves around Kruger Park. The mountains are wonderful and the terrain changes as you go to different areas of the reserve. The soil can be dusty, particularly if there has been a shortage of rain.  This reserve borders on Botswana so you see animals in this reserve you do not see in the Kruger area.  Examples are the Brown Hyena, black backed jackals, and the huge Kalahari Desert Lions.  The reserve has many lodges and there are a lot of vehicles driving the park. However, I felt this to be a positive since there were many people looking for animals - the sightings were numerous. The lodges cooperate with each by way of radios to control the sightings so there are never more than three vehicles at a sighting at a time. At no time did I feel as if the reserve was crowded. You are seeing nature at its finest here, not penned in a small area for the tourists to see.
Jamala has two experienced wonderful rangers for your daily game drives.

It has been mentioned this is an armchair safari just stay at the lodge and watch the waterhole! Children are welcome if the entire lodge is booked.

The Jamala Waterhole Is Amazing!

This waterhole has no equal at any of the 64 came lodges I have visited. There is a natural mineral in the soil that the animals need (similar to cows requiring salt blocks) right at this waterhole so it is an incredibly active waterhole. They have the minerals and water at the same spot. In a two day period, we were amazed at the activity. Elephants came constantly and zebras came several times a day and stayed for a long time. Although animals are used to vehicles their behavior at this waterhole was what was also amazing. Far more interaction between the animals than I have ever seen from a vehicle. Giraffes, wildebeest, wart hogs, Cape Buffalo also visited the water hole. I have heard from other guests that cats also frequent the waterhole we did not see any cats during our stay.

See the pictures below of the watering hole.

zebras elephants warthogs


Only five rooms are available at Jamala and the rooms are really outstanding. Spacious with a sitting area, dining table, huge walk in dressing area closet. An oversized bed with folding glass doors on two sides of the room that open to a spacious deck with a private plunge pool.  The room offers a view of the animals coming and going to the waterhole.  Beautifully furnished and luxurious in every aspect. Once you walk in you do not want to leave a really inviting room.  All are convenient to the lodge and have no steps to negotiate between the rooms.

bathroom bedroom plunge pool

Public Areas

One long public area with a nice dining room, spacious lounge area, a boma at the end and an upper level lounge for fantastic viewing of the active waterhole. It all feels plush and comfortable and very large for just 10 guests. There is a warm and inviting attitude from the staff that is obvious immediately. 

dining main lodge pool deck

The Food

Jamala won the award for 2015 for the best safari cuisine in South Africa.  Nico Verster, is the chef. He used to work at Birkenhead House in Hermanus where he served up delicious food. I was so happy to see him at Jamala where I think he has reached even greater heights with his imagination cuisine.


WiFi is available in the rooms.

Website: Jamala Royal Safari Lodge