Nare Suites at Jacis Lodges. Madikwe. South Africa

Why we love it

Jaci's is a family-owned safari lodge on the Madikwe Game Reserve close to the South Africa/Botswana border. It is a testament to the family involvement that it is named after the woman who runs it by her husband who built it. The Nare Suite is their exclusive-use safari suite, within the borders of Jaci’s Safari Lodge and has its own waterhole where elephant come so close you feel you could reach out and touch them! Nare Suite is warm, colourful and friendly with great service without ever being fussy. The game is prolific and the reserve is especially known for rare wild dogs, as well as lions, rhinos and cheetah amongst others. It’s very welcoming for children and has a relaxed and homely atmosphere. The reserve is a few hours drive from Johannesburg and is child-friendly and malaria-free.

What to expect

The Nare Suite has two double en suite rooms and an upstairs loft, accommodating a family of 6 in true bush comfort. It has a thatched roof but the walls are made partly of canvas, giving it a classic safari atmosphere. It nevertheless, has all the luxury you want, like air conditioning, four post bed and an inviting stone bath big enough for two! It also has it’s own swimming pool. There is access to the facilities of the main lodge, but your activities are bespoke with your own vehicle and dining in the villa or joining activities like a boma meal at the main lodge. Jaci has 2 other exclusive facilities called the Safari Suite ( 8 guests) and Mongoose House ( 10 guests), all of which offer similar facilities.

What to do

There are morning and afternoon game drives and walks in the reserve. The game guides of Madikwe like to focus on the “Top Ten” rather than the Big Five. So, in addition to the well-known lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant and rhino, guests have great chances of seeing hippo, giraffe, endangered wild dog, both brown and spotted hyena as well as cheetah. Jacis also offers wonderful bush breakfasts and dinners.

Kids Jaci and Jan van Hetteren raised their three children in Madikwe and as a result children have always been well catered for here. "We are very proud to call ourselves a family friendly lodge" says Jan. It’s rare that children under four are accommodated on safari, but here they have special “jungle drives” that are educational, informative and deliberately shorter to keep them engaged. Other entertainment includes a games room and swimming pools. Child minders are on hand to allow parents an "adult" evening meal around the fire enjoying good company and a glass or two of South African wine. The chef caters to your child’s likes and dislikes, menus typically include firm favourites like spaghetti bolognaise, hot dogs, or home made hamburgers.

The good news

All of the staff members at Jacis who have worked at the company for longer than 5 years automatically get a share of the business through the Jaci's Staff Trust. The fact that they are all invested in the business results in it being a true family. The lodge also runs recycling projects and sources much of their items from local suppliers.

Best time to go

Game is great all through the year. Wild dogs tend to den in July through to August and if the den site is accessible this makes for outstanding viewing. The winter months from May to September produce very good game viewing as the bush is not too thick, but it gets denser in summer from November to March and this is the time for wonderful birdlife.

How to get there

You can reach Jaci’s from Johannesburg by road in 4.5 hours or with a 1 hour charter flight.

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