100%
Members Recommend
5.0
Excellent 426 Reviews
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This Hotel meets our standards
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What We Love

  • All meals, drinks (excluding alcohol), unlimited game drives, round-trip transfers to the Morukuru Game Reserve airstrip or Morukuru Entrance Gate and more are included in the Jetsetter rate
  • The private-villa safari lodge experience
  • Each villa has its own safari vehicle with a ranger and tracker on hand to accompany you on game drives at any time
  • Chatting about the day's adventures around a fire in the boma after sunset
  • No fixed schedules
  • Choose from ranger-led bush walks or traditional jeep safaris
  • Being serenaded by the voices of animals while dining alfresco
  • Morukuru goes out of its way to welcome children

What To Know

  • Additional person charges are collected at Morukuru
  • Sunrise and sunset are the best times for seeing animals on game drives
  • Personal chefs prepare meals to individual tastes
  • Children must be 16 years old to participate in bush walks, but kids of all ages can go on game drives
  • Gratuities are not included; It is recommended that guests make a small donation to the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation
  • Check with your doctor before your trip about vaccines

Amenities

  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Overview

The Review

Personalization is taken to a new level at Morukuru, a dreamy trio of private, boutique safari villas in South Africa’s wild and wonderful Madikwe Game Reserve. Guests fill out a “wish list” detailing their idea of a perfect trip prior to arrival, and then the staff brings it to life with meticulous attention to detail when you arrive. Forget structured schedules, set meal times and large group outings. At Morukuru, you’ll piece together your own fantasy bush adventure.{“type”:”img-inline”,”src”:”/static/images/product/properties/863/prop-99144-1312484265-full.jpg”,”width”:”275″,”caption”:”Each of the villas have stylish decor that mixes modern and South African touches.”}

My favorite South African wildlife reserve (and I’ve been to almost all of them), Madikwe was created in 1991 to protect species that were quickly becoming endangered. Two decades later Madikwe is thriving. Thanks to Operation Phoenix, a six-year project that brought more than 8,000 once-native species back to the land, Madikwe is now home to healthy numbers of all the Big Five, more than 350 species of birds and a large pride of lions (more than 70 big cats still roam the bushveld up north by the Botswana border).

Unlike most Madikwe lodges — where game drives and meals are shared with other guests staying at the same place — here, the three villas are rented exclusively. Schedules are designed entirely to suit your group’s fancy.

Morukuru not only welcomes children, it caters to them specifically. I love the attention to detail, like backpacks stuffed with age-appropriate bush swag waiting on the kids’ beds upon arrival. Each unit comes equipped with a dedicated staff – a chef, a butler, a maid and a nanny if necessary – plus its own ranger and tracker team commanding a private 10-seat open-air safari vehicle, which gives you the flexibility of when to go on game drives and for how long.

{“type”:”headline”,”text”:”Morukuru Lodge”} Combining stylish, modern African decor with yesteryear’s hospitality, Morukuru Lodge has a lived-in yet posh ambience, complete with an outdoor living area and enough bedrooms to accommodate six adults and four children. I especially love the elegant bathrooms, which come equipped with an outdoor shower and private balconies for wildlife viewing.{“type”:”img-inline”,”src”:”/static/images/product/properties/editorialreviews/10355/pgal-27306-1300469974-full.jpg”,”width”:”275″,”caption”:”The Morukuru Lodge sleeps six adults and four children.”}

Arrange for a candle- and starlit dinner on the infinity pool’s broad deck, which is poised over the swift-moving Marico River. Take a siesta in one of the comfortable loungers surrounding the pool, then wake up with a bush shower in one of the quiet nooks along the veranda that runs around the lodge’s perimeter.

{“type”:”headline”,”text”:”Owner’s House”} Shaded by a mighty morukuru tree, the pride and joy of the Morukuru Family epitomizes the elegant lodge of colonial South Africa. It’s a charming sleeping choice for up to four.

{“type”:”img-inline”,”src”:”/static/images/product/properties/editorialreviews/10355/pgal-89704-1300469975-full.jpg”,”width”:”275″,”caption”:”The Owner’s Lodge is more intimate; it sleeps up to four.”}Separated by a central living area, the two spacious en-suite bedrooms are kitted out with modern decor and private balconies. Featuring up-to-date digital entertainment and Internet access, it is full of decorations crafted by the local community. There’s a formal receiving lounge and an elegant dining room.

Hide out under the whispering green canopy of the tree and listen to the call of birds in one of the designated R&R zones. Two terraced balconies provide the perfect place to create Out of Africa–esque dining, an experience that comes with crystal stemware, crisp linens, candles and silver cutlery.

{“type”:”headline”,”text”:”Farm House”} Lush green landscaping with soulful wide open views and a mod, earth-friendly design are hallmarks of the Morukuru Family’s latest addition: the old-turned-new Farm House, which is on a private reserve abutting Madikwe proper.

{“type”:”img-inline”,”src”:”/static/images/product/properties/editorialreviews/10355/pgal-67566-1300469974-full.jpg”,”width”:”275″,”caption”:”The Farm House has five spacious bedrooms for 10 travelers.”}The trendy haven is 15 minutes and one hill away from its sister properties, so you’ll enjoy total seclusion — it’s like having your own game lodge. The house sleeps up to 10 people in five rooms that boast bushveld views through giant windows. This is the kind of place where butlers serve made-to-order cocktails beside the infinity pool in between customized game drives. Taking your dinner in the bush boma is highly encouraged (although it depends on the weather).

How to Get There

Morukuru
Madikwe Game Reserve
North West Province, 00000 South Africa

Reviews

5.0 Excellent 426 Reviews
Wonderful first Safari
Reviewed 10 hours ago

As we landed on the eastern Landing strip in Madikwe on our small 12 seater propeller plane that had brought us in from Lanseria airport outside of Johannesburg, we saw a couple of Jeeps parked next to a small building at the end of the runway. It was about 1pm and the haze caused by the 40 degree temperature was fizzing off the asphalt.
We were met by Andrew (our Guide) and Godfrey (our Tracker). After unloading the bags from below the plane and putting them in the back of Godfrey’s pickup truck, we were each given an Aluminium Water bottle with our names on and told to get on the Jeep. We had a 40 minute drive to get to the Lodge and this will be our first short Jeep drive.
It was wonderful. As we exited the gates of the air strip, we turned the first corner on the well-used dirt track and were confronted with 2 Giraffes standing about 10 meters in front of us munching at the green leaves on the top of a tall tree. If this was an example of what was to come, and after a mere 3 minutes of driving, it should be a great 4 days, here in Madikwe.
As we slowly made our way towards the Morukuru estate, we saw Impala hiding in the bushes and a small Steenbok bounced over road. We saw a large number of green trees up ahead and were told that this was the river. We were going to cross the river at into the Morukuru property. What happened next was phenomenal. As we approached the narrow concrete bridge that connected the 2 sides of the river, a group of about 15 elephants arrived. We held back and let them go down for a drink and a swim. There were a number of large females, a few youngsters (including a very young baby) and a few young males who had yet to leave home. For 20 minutes we watched them squirting each other, play, and drink, until eventually, they made there way across the bridge and up the other side of the embankment and back off to the trees to look for more food.
We drove for 5 minutes more and got to the gate of the Morukuru estate. As we pulled up outside the River House, there were 8 people standing there singing and welcoming us. There were cool damp towels for washing our faces, fruit juice to drink and smiles all round.
Our bags were taken in and we were introduced to the workers and the house.
The place was amazing. There were 3 large double bedrooms with en-suite Bathrooms (including internal and external showers), there was a 4th small bedroom with 2 single beds and a TV/ WII and satellite box.

The main lounge, and dining room easily fitted the 8 of us. Outside was a large deck. And a Swimming pool, and steps going down to a covered pergola next to the river. By the side of the pool was a large table where we could happily sit, in the shade, whilst eating a meal.
On the other side of the house was another eating area.
We were a family of 8, Grandparents, 4 kids (17, 15, 12, 9) and my wife and me. The personal service that we received was incredible. As soon as we had left for a drive the Room helpers went in and smartened up the bedrooms, we were greeted by Debbie (the Lodge Manager) and Justice with fruit juice and cool damp towels upon our return. Chef went through all of our food requests and Andrew the Guide and Godfrey the Tracker made sure that for the 6-8 hours a day that we were out in the bush were filled with adventure and safari viewing.
From that first encounter with Giraffe and Elephants on the way from the Airstrip to the amazing sight of hundreds of animals at the watering hole on the first morning or riding along a few meters away from two fully grown male lions and watching a Cheetah rip apart a bush hare, all of these will remain in our memories for ever. The night we spent sleeping in the Hide next to the small watering hole in the middle of the bush was also an experience that not everyone who has been in Africa on Safari gets the chance to have.
Yes, I was upset that I did not see Hippo or Leopard, but I guess, that just gives me an excuse to go back to Africa ( perhaps to Morukuru in Madikwe) and do it again in the future.

It was a truly wonderful 3.5 days. Recommended to all who love nature and want to see it whilst being treated by a 5 star service.

Relaxing, exciting and out of this world
Reviewed 2 months ago

My family including grandparents and 3 kids under 13 stayed at river lodge. Evan and the whole team were absolutely outstanding. Tracking and exceeding all our expectations seeing most of the big 5 on the first day but seeing them all by the 2nd. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds as we spent a lot of time off road and Evan was enthusiastic from start to finish. A very special moment was seeing 8 month brother and sister leopards snuggled up!

The time we spent at the lodge was exceptional, Ilse and all the team were fantastic. The food was outstanding and always served with the biggest smile - Sipo and Masego always smile! Everyone takes huge pride in everything they do at Morukuru Family. We slept like angels every night and awoke with excitement every day at 5 for our safari. The outdoor showers were great, especially if the monkeys were swinging from the trees at the same time!

Our bush breakfast was exceptional and a lot of fun with the team. Thank you Masego!

4 of us spent the night in the hide - there will never be an experience like it! Hugely exciting! Once in a lifetime chance to be so close to these amazing animals in their habitat.

Our fishing experience was a huge amount of fun mainly due to Evan and Gummy. They were fantastically patient and great company.

Our last dinner was incredibly emotional with the surprise candlelit venue atop a hill watching the sunset - it would be hard to ever surpass an evening like that. Our memories will be with us forever.

Many thanks everyone, we had an incredible experience thanks to you all. It just wasn’t long enough!! Hopefully we can return in the future.

Heaven on earth
Reviewed 2 months ago

We spent 3 awesome nights and days at the fabulous Morukuru Family in Madikwe. For our friends Margriet and Eddy it was their very first visit to South Africa and we all were spoilt rotten with every aspect of bush life: the people, ambiance, food, but most of all: wildlife which exceeded our expectation by far! The big five within 20 hours and bonusses like brown- and spotted hyaena, painted dogs, cheetah's. They (and so did we) had the time of their lives! Thank you so much Morukuru Family! For those looking for Paradise? Don't look any further!

Ek Hou Van Kaas Bra!!
Reviewed 3 months ago

The big 5 sightings, twice in one day .... unbelievable. We have been visiting the Morukuru family for many years and those elusive leopards have always managed to hide from view ….. but not this time! Evan and Boiky determined to meet our expectations found us not one but three leopards, plus some other animals from the big 5 family along the way. The Morukuru team at the Owners House treated us like royalty! We shared some laughs, dancing, a bit of singing and allot of food. We were very sad to say goodbye …. luckily we know that we will make it back soon!

Speechless
Reviewed 3 months ago

I took some friends to South Africa for a safari from the US and we decided to go to Madikwe instead of typically where my family goes in kruger Park.

The Morukuru family hotels have to be the best on the market. With an all inclusive experience of food, alcohol, and incredible service I felt like we underpaid for the amazing experince we had.

Your house organizer, driver, tracker, Butler, and chef all start to feel like family and go above and beyond to accommodate each and every one of your needs. We had such a magical experience we were in tears as they sang our goodbye song on the way to the airstrip.

A once in a life time trip, don’t miss it.