Why Rhulani Safari Lodge?
It has been a very long time since we have visited Madikwe and this is by far one of our favourite locations to visit, so a return visit was long overdue.
Previously we have stayed on the eastern side of the reserve at Thakadu River Camp and Madikwe River Lodge, so it was time to move west and see if that side of the reserve, and it’s lodges, live up to our expectations for this spectacular part of the world.
Access to Rhulani Safari Lodge is easy and a mere 4-4,5 hours from Johannesburg. The access roads are good and once in the reserve, just a few minutes drive will have you at Rhulani where staff with beaming smiles wave you in.
The lodge location is beautiful and the communal areas overlook a waterhole. The layout of the lodge is excellent and the rooms offer privacy unrivaled by any lodge we have visited before this.
There are some minor maintenance tasks that are required; minor wood rot on the doors around the dining area for example, but nothing major at all.
The rooms are comfortable and as mentioned above, incredibly private. The only sign of any other nearby rooms are the lightning conductors sticking up above the bush.
The decor is a bit dated and amenities could be improved, especially by five star lodge standards. For example, the kettle was a horrible, cheap white thing that we had no intention of using.
The rooms offer ample light and the deck is spacious with your own private plunge pool. This pool received good use from us and even I, with my height of 195cm, was able to stand in it and have my shoulders covered.
The outside shower is excellent, however the layout of the bathroom could be a little more comfortable; the toilet, for example, was cramped.
Rhulani has big game fencing around the lodge to prevent elephants and the likes from entering the premesis, however, predators can access the lodge and as such, after dark, you need an escort to your room.
The food at Rhulani Safari Lodge was excellent. The meals are delicious and well presented. They took great care to comply with dietary requests and when something was prepared that did not conform, they would prepare a separate portion specifically for that person.
One night we requested a private meal at our room and it was a real treat. The tables were laid out on the deck looking into the bush and even though our room was the furthest one at Rhulani, the food arrived promptly and was piping hot.
My only fault with the food is no matter how you order your eggs, they will arrive overcooked. This was true for poached, scrambled and fried eggs in our case.
The self-service section of the breakfast hall was not up to the standards we expect for this kind of lodge. That portion of the room needs to be overhauled completely.
Staff and Activities at Rhulani
Staff at Rhulani Safari Lodge are excellent, they are incredibly friendly and you never need to look for anyone as there is always someone around.
The game drives with Riaan were fantastic. Even when sightings were slow (perfectly normal after the abundance of rain recently) there was always something to look at, talk about or track. Riaan was very attentive to the guests and their needs and without making it obvious, he would go out of his way to try and find a sighting that satisfied everyone on the vehicle.
We had a wonderful time at Rhulani and even extended our stay by a night. We have very little to complain about and the remarks we have are minor and in no way impacted our overall stay.
We will definitely be back and we are so happy to say that the western part of the reserve, and Rhulani, met our expectations for the quality of service we have received from the other lodges.
Have you been to Rhulani Safari Lodge before? Let us know in the comments how your stay compared to ours.