100%
Members Recommend
5.0
Excellent 432 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 432 Reviews
Consistently exceeded expectations
Reviewed 1 month ago

So these reviews of Morukuru are kind of boring because almost without exception - everyone has had a tremendous time.

Well sorry to say our family is no different - we L O V E D it!

We had a four night stay in December - we are two families for a total of 8 people.

Our stay in Madikwe was the first of our two week stay in Southern Africa, and we spent most of the rest of the trip wishing for a bit more Morukuru goodness.

The good:
Well first of all we stayed at the farm house and were well looked after by Jenna - who was our host for this stay.

I don't have the right spelling but Shaddy the barman / lead service man was tremendous, serving up a "Shaddy special" combination of juices for the kids whenever required.

The Chef and his crew again - the food was something super special. I think we tried every combination of Antelope possible.

But the biggest shout out has to go to Warick our guide and his offsider Bugsy our tracker. It's not easy providing commentary on 8 hours of Safari driving per day but somehow you blokes did it and we were never without something to talk about or see.

The rooms at the Farmhouse are super comfy and we couldn't have asked for more.

What would I improve?
It might be nice to explore the greater Madikwe area if you have the time, we barely scratched the surface.

It's also never far from your mind that you are in a fenced game reserve rather than the wild open spaces of Botswana or Kenya, for instance, but that's part of the unique character of the place and you know that on the way in.

So, thanks to the Morukuru crew for a tremendous holiday, we couldn't have asked for more and have already recommended you to several friends!

Open your heart to Morukuru made memories
Reviewed 1 month ago

We have just left the river house after seven truly amazing nights and after drying my own eyes and watching my mum step father mother and father in law my wife and both of my sons dry theirs I am able to reflect on the magical memories the Morukuru Family have placed in our hearts. We stayed last year in the owners house which I reviewed as perfection personified. That time was me my wife and 2 of my children and it was so amazing and emotional to leave we immediately had to book again but to bring both sets of our parents to experience what we had. This time we stayed in the river house. I won’t go into how it meets every need you can want in luxury as that is reviewed time over on other reviews. Being highly travelled in high end properties the luxury sometimes goes un noticed but what makes this such a magical experience is the amazing staff and their energy commitment and enthusiasm towards giving you an amazing stay! The staff of 8 are extremely attentive always smiling yet discreet whilst meeting every need and more. We were delighted to see boiky waiting to greet us at the gate of the reserve when we arrived my youngest boy couldn’t get out of the vehicle quick enough to give him a big hug such was the impression he had made on him. We were a little disappointed at first that shane wasn’t with him but Evan who I will mention later soon saw to that. We were hosted by Ilse this time and she was so lovely making sure everything was in hand from catering for my 8 year old up to our parents everything was perfect for us. It was great to also see my man evens again serving us as our butler with his big smile and attentive service making sure he got me my favourite wines each dinner. We had a new chef called beauty and she was adorable. Her food was as lovely as her smile. It’s difficult to cater for us as within the group of 8 we had various issues with likes and dislikes which made her role more difficult but she nailed it every time with beautiful tasty food presented perfectly. We got to eat ostrich and eland and she also made us a local dish of buboti. The house keeping team were rarely seen as they tended to things whilst you were out but it was great to see Maggie again and her loving smile. Every aspect of the house was always perfectly presented each time we returned. Now you can’t top perfect but our ranger Evan did just that. We were pleased to be able to say hello again to shane who was hosting another family but Evan soon had us glad that we had him hosting us. He is an energetic fun and infectious character whose level of knowledge for his years is simply unbelievable. My wife’s parents are into birds and he named countless species of the top of his head every time we passed one and always confirmed any that were difficult then presenting us close up images of them and information about them that was extremely educational. His knowledge of the plants and trees and the roles they play in providing for the animals in terms of food and defence mechanisms was endless. He never run out of things to tell us about the animals their surroundings and way of life. I learnt so much as a 47 year old man so you can imagine the wealth of information my children have absorbed largely due to the passionate interesting and fun way in which he put it all across. He went out of his way time and again often staying out for over 5 hours on the morning drive and covered the length and breadth of the massive reserve in our quest to see leaopard wild dogs and hippos which we didn’t get last time. We made 14 drives in our seven days he and boiky just loved being out there with you sharing their stories and showing genuine interest in ours. We had amazing sightings of lions feeding on a zebra hyenas feeeding on a zebra and one I will never forget due to the smell he told me would burn of the rotten elephant carcass being eaten by hyenas. I could go on and on about what we saw but the most magical part of the trip was the conservation work we did with the rhino notching such a vital programme to the survival of these animals and an experience I will remember for as long as I live and an experience that will be priceless to my children. The rhino was notched square 2 and we got to name him Libby after my nieces nickname who loves rhinos from her time working with them briefly in a zoo. We finally got to see a leopard all be it briefly but he wasn’t going to let me down there without trying everything he could! The sundowners were great and he even showed his culinary skills of his own cooking some kebabs up in the bush and oh my two boys were delighted to get to savour boikys hot chocolate again every morning. This time we were invited into the shop by Ilse who wanted to make sure we experienced everything where we could buy Morukuru branded attire as well as gifts so I took the opportunity to buy the full uniform and surprise Evan and boiky on a special outing where they took us to what I can only describe as an oasis of beautiful garden within their reserve for lunch where they with evans and Ilsa and one of the team whose name I didn’t get played cricket with me and rocky it was awesome. He also took us fishing which proved challenging for him as we kept catching the trees rarely getting the hooks in the water leaving him having to get more bait which Ilse kindly turned up with but after my mother in law lost a terrapin of it at the last minute Evan saved the day when he caught a fish before my youngest himself caught his first fish in the river a magical moment. Evan also took me my wife my father in law and older son on a guided bush walk it was an awesome experience that created an element of fear amongst the anticipation and yes he filled us with masses of information culminating with us safely observing an elephant on foot. Ilse also invited us to stay in the hide that they have on their land next to a watering hole me my wife and two children did it one night and I have to tell you do this if you can! The beds are as comfy as those in the lodge with all the same quality bedding and pillars. The noises make it so eery and the flash light exciting but you are protected by an electric fence surrounding it so you can enjoy your drinks provided in a cool box and flasks safe in the knowledge you will be okay and you have Evan on standby on your radio if you bottle it! Our parents tried it the following night and also loved it we all agreed hands down that the stars in the sky are something we have never seen anything remotely like before! Ilse arranged our last dinner on the mountain top where we booked the drumming experience which was great fun. This location is the best have have had the pleasure of eating a meal with my family it is simply stunning! Apologies for the long review it deserves it and we are now in the airport lounge all talking about how amazing our time was. Both sets of our parents are in awe at what they have experienced in their words the time of their lives and that sends a shiver down my spine to have been able to spend this time with them and for that I will be eternally grateful to Evan ilse boiky evens beauty Maggie and the rest of the Morukuru Family. My children are still feeling very sad but are no longer crying as we are returning next year and the year after. I can’t see us ever failing to return as long as we are fortunate to be able to do so it is that infectous the Morukuru Family magical love is filled in our hearts! We miss you already but as you say we don’t say goodbye we say see you soon! God bless all you wonderful people ❤️❤️❤️🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️❤️

Out of this world
Reviewed 2 months ago

We booked this place in May 2018 as we know this is key to our safari holiday. From the time we arrived, all the staff were at the front welcoming us with their beautiful choral voices. Such a warm start
FOOD - have you ever had a private chef cook anything you want, anytime you want? We were spoilt by Funi - he is coming back with us to Singapore with his lovely smile, hospitality and excellent meals.
RANGERS - this handsome guy Warick - and his assistant Bugs - their sharp eyes landed us cheetahs, lion enjoying a meal of impala, lionesses lazing in the sun, African wild dogs, hyena eating a poor tortoise. What’s the point of going to a safari if you don’t have eagle eyes to spot your prey?
Thanks Warick for bringing the boys fishing too
This beautiful home, and the whole crew led by dear Jenna, really made it more than home away from home. Thanks to everyone and have a blessed Christmas

Wonderful first Safari
Reviewed 2 months 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 4 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.