December 8

Jamala Madikwe… Groundbreaking!

By David Ryan on
December 8, 2020

“Oh Wow, they are Massive!”

There’s a scene in one of my favourite movies where the assistant to the high-powered executive is given a landslide of impossible tasks and errands. She repeats a very simple mantra in order to convince herself that the hellish to-do list is all worth it in the end: “I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.” 

Well “loving my job” isn’t hard when you are a Rhino African! I often find myself repeating the exact same mantra – with genuine honesty – while enjoying the luxury of Africa’s finest lodges and wildlife.

The end to yet another magical day in Africa, Photo Credit: David Ryan


Africa at its finest

Covid-19 has provided us all the opportunity to pause and reflect. As I reflect on my 16 years of Luxury African Travel, I’m quickly caught reminiscing about a particular weekend at Jamala Madikwe, and just how much I really do love my job. Oh the things we do at Rhino Africa in order to bring you the best in luxury safari travel!

The understated elegance of Jamala Madikwe, Photo Credit: Jamala Madikwe


I’m not often left speechless, but I did have to scrape my jaw off the floor when I arrived at Jamala Madikwe. And while you will have to read further to discover what is so massive, the lodge itself is utterly breathtaking. With such opulence, you might expect a degree of stuffiness, but it’s quite the opposite – Rodney and Nico (owners of Jamala) ensure every stay is relaxed and warm. Beaming African smiles form part of the exceptional service that is unobtrusive but nevertheless overwhelmingly evident to cater for your every whim. 

Jamala belongs in every safari itinerary

Madikwe Game Reserve, is a short one hour air hop from Johannesburg on Federal Air. In what felt like no time after take off we were being picked up at the dusty airstrip by a couple of jovial rangers and whisked off to Jamala Safari lodge. The lodge, one of the finest in Madikwe, is ingeniously set on a picturesque waterhole and it doesn’t take long to realise why Jamala is quite literally Africa’s ultimate “couch safari”. 

Jamala Madikwe is just a short hop away, Photo Credit: Jamala Madikwe


Having familiarised ourselves with all lodge watering holes, it was time for the customary site inspection. The lodge is simply beautiful; the ridiculously large suites are set quite far apart from each other ensuring maximum privacy. Each suite has its own private lounge, mini bar and doors looking out over a private deck and plunge pool. I always say at Rhino Africa, the accommodation is not about the bathroom – but this bathroom is fit for a king and yes, as the title suggests, they are massive, exquisitely massive!

With just enough time to quaff a G&T in the indulgent outdoor shower before the afternoon game drive – imperative to get my quinine intake in case I get bitten by a mosquito. Any excuse for a G&T really as this is a malaria free reserve!  

Photographing elephants from the deck of Jamala Madikwe


Tick off all the ultimate safari experiences at Jamala

As good as the “Couch Safari” is on their deck, the game drives are just as good. So on to the game drive we went. This truly is one of the best places I’ve been for game viewing. The rangers are knowledgeable and passionate about their reserve, besides Nico and Rodney know how to pack for a sundowner drinks stop! While we were lucky enough to see the Big 5, what makes Madikwe truly unique is the diversity of game, given its location. Here you will get to view game you don’t get in other reserves like the Eastern Cape or Kruger. Everything from springbok, gemsbok, wild dogs and cheetahs, it still gives me goosebumps! 

If you are a foodie then Jamala has to be on your list! All the food here is exceptional, especially the desserts. Mostly South African but with a little fusion flair thrown in – it is clear that Nico has a lot of fun in the kitchen, and it shows. 

High tea is an event worth celebrating, Photo Credit, Jamala Madikwe


While you could stay indefinitely, I’d recommend at least 3 nights at Jamala to ensure you are able to make good use of your private deck and plunge pool. Summers are hot, so you will get to spend a lot of time lying around the pool between game drives, drinking G&Ts and soaking up the Africa sun. I’ve returned to Jamala many times since that first visit, and I have no doubt if you were to add Jamala to your next African Itinerary, you will too.

Why book your African adventure with Rhino Africa?

While Covid-19 has arrived and has thoroughly rained on our 2020 travel parade, Africa is travel ready and we are welcoming travellers from all around the world with wide open arms. As Africa’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator, with over 16 years experience, Rhino Africa is an African-based specialist arranging tailor-made wildlife safaris and holidays. 

Luxury on the Zambezi River, Photo Credit: Royal Chundu


Our understanding of the guest experience, combined with extensive first-hand knowledge of the hotels and lodges, makes us experts in creating magical and memorable African holidays. So while one of my favourite movies asked that you “please bore someone else with your questions”, I urge you to contact us, and let one of our Travel Experts answer all your questions and start planning your African Safari.


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About the author 

David Ryan

David makes things happen! With a canny inability to sit still for a minute, it’s a miracle he actually sat down long enough to finish his degree in economics. David is a brave and pioneering entrepreneur with a true passion for Africa - especially Africa's wildlife. With his African Grey parrot by his side, there is more than a hint of the Dolittles about our intrepid leader. Before founding Rhino Africa David spent a number of years earning his stripes and cutting his teeth in the industry. David’s interests include photography and travel, and having travelled extensively through Africa most of the images on the Rhino Africa website hail from his well organised image library!

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