The city is busy. It hums and pulsates with an urgency that drives all Joburgers. We work hard, we stay up late, and we do whatever it takes to get to the end goal.
But let’s be honest, everyone needs some peace and quiet, a bit of rest and an escape on occasion. A chance to switch off and recharge the batteries – yours and your phones!
We recently took a trip out to the picturesque Tau Game Lodge, located on the border of Botswana and within the well-known Madikwe Game Reserve. Roughly a 4-hour drive from Johannesburg (barring any roadworks or slow trucks ahead of you) this is the ideal long weekend or even week-long stay spot, that caters perfectly for those thirsty for bush sunsets, chilled vibes, big game and minimal cell phone signal.
There are no less than 27 major species of game that roam around the reserve and avid bird watchers will be delighted with the amazing array of birds that abound. Never a drive passed that we did not see several big game, and some of the experiences were so close that they literally took our breath away. We have visited numerous lodges and reserves over the years, but this from a game viewing perspective must be one of our favourites.
Luxury abounds, and the lodge is beautifully decorated with African inspired décor and furnishings, right through from the reception to the dining areas and even the luxury thatched chalets.
All chalets are equipped with both air-conditioning and ceiling fans and are spread out in a U-formation on either side of the lodge, offering amazing views of the wide variety of animal life approaching the waterhole during the day and early evening.
Each chalet is also completely private and ensures privacy with its own viewing deck, en suite bathroom and even an open-air shower leading off the bathroom, which is a refreshing touch.
If you are travelling as a family, then you are in luck – there are six deluxe suites and also 2 sets of family suites that can accommodate parents and children wishing to share the same room, and the sliding doors allow for spectacular views of the breathtaking tranquillity from all sides.
The outdoor bar area by the pool is also excellently located to overlook the watering hole, and during our visit we were lucky enough to spend almost 45 minutes watching a large troupe of elephants getting their fill, even the babies getting in on the fun, which was certainly something magical to experience from a mere 20 meters away, with a gin and tonic in hand.
If you are about the spa – which we certainly are, then you will love to spend an hour, or three at this oasis – a peaceful sanctuary that reflects the soul of Africa with its natural surroundings that just keeps the bush experience theme constantly incorporated.
They offer a wide variety of treatments, all set to indulge your senses, and replenish and soothe body, mind and soul. The spa body treatments are specifically designed to detoxify the body, revitalise the skin and calm the mind. Perfect!
After or between your treatments you can enjoy a refreshing beverage on the private spa deck, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the bushveld, punctuated only by the bird calls and the sounds of the bush. Emerge relaxed and revitalised.
Days start early at Tau – we kicked off with a 06h30 safari drive which lasted about three hours and was followed immediately by a sumptuous breakfast buffet. Between breakfast and lunch, one can either visit the spa, enjoy some down time on the main deck or the private room decks, all overlooking the waterhole, head to one of the two swimming pools, or rest and unwind in your chalet. On one of the days we opted to do a guided bush walk with a few other guests and had some of the most amazing big game sightings on foot.
Afternoon game drives depart at about 15h30 and see you returning to the lodge in time for dinner. Dinner is either served buffet style in the dining room, or on some evenings a Boma Braai dinner is the order of the day and this outdoor dining experience was a magical one.
As the lodge accommodates only 65 people at maximum, your experience is intimate and gives the feeling of exclusivity and we loved that about Tau. The staff are welcoming and friendly and made every effort to ensure that we were comfortable and having the most special and memorable time.
Tau Game Lodge’s slogan, ‘It takes a pride to serve a King,’ is certainly evident in every aspect from arrival to departure, and we feel that this pride of amazing people is part of the reason that our stay was as magnificent as it was.
Highly recommended, and we cannot wait to return very soon.
There are several toll roads on the N14, roughly R 300 each way, so make sure to budget for that too.
Sunscreen, socks and binocs – it gets cold and hot out there on one drive of 3 hours in length. Go prepared for any eventuality, and also to get the maximum from your game viewing.
A: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
T: 011 314 4350