Jaci’s Safari Lodge
Why photographers love Jaci’s Safari Lodge
This family-owned safari camp is located in the Malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa’s Northwest Province. It has a fantastic atmosphere – especially for families – and offers wonderful welcoming hospitality and great viewing of lion, wild dog and elephant. The newly added Terrapin Hide is great for photography. We also loved running our first kid’s workshop at Jaci’s.
How we rate Jaci’s Safari Lodge
Jaci’s Safari Lodge at a glance
Jaci’s is made up of two camps. Safari Lodge has a fun and bright atmosphere and is ideal for families. There are 8 air-conditioned “tents” and two family suites. The landscaped garden of succulent plants is fenced from the outside, so it’s safe to walk around and use the pool and gym. It’s a stroll along the river to Tree Lodge and the Terrapin Hide, which is a fantastic bonus for anyone interested in photography. Jaci’s Tree Lodge is built on decks in a tamboti forest and has very romantic rooms with large marble baths. Both camps are decorated with Jaci’s eclectic, colourful style. Jaci and her husband Jan both live in the camp. Jan is an experienced restaurateur and makes sure that the food is always fantastic.
It is hard to believe that the 77 000 hectare reserve was once farmland. Since the 1990s, it’s been all about wildlife and has been stocked with animals and allowed to return to nature. It’s a fantastic area for game and is an Ecotone transition area between the dry Kalahari and the Bushveld, which means that it has an interesting variety of species from both biomes. These include both brown and spotted hyena, lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe and many more. The area is particularly noted for its wild dog sightings and also for its black and white rhino.
The best time to see game is during the dry season from April to October. Game becomes increasingly prolific and easy to see. The wild dog population does go up and down quite a bit, but unless they are denning off the beaten track (usually during June and July), it’s usually possible to track them down.
What Jaci’s Safari Lodge costs
The rates at Jaci’s start from R5500 per person sharing. The reserve can be reached by road – it’s about a 3.5-hour drive from Johannesburg’s Lanseria Airport. The road goes through small villages and along dirt roads, and we recommend the tarred route through Zeerust, which is an hour longer. There are also daily scheduled flights directly into the reserve.
Photographers need to know
Very good cooperation between guides at the various Madikwe lodges ensures that sightings are shared. Sometimes time limits at sightings are imposed, so there is never a build up of more than two vehicles. Off road driving is permitted for major sightings, but certain sensitive areas are off limits.
The good news
Jaci’s has a wonderful team of faithful staff who are members of a staff trust and benefit directly from the lodge. It is part of Classic Safari Camps of Africa – a selection of owner-run and authentic lodges in South Africa.