This is the first time we have ever written a holiday review but it would literally be a crime not to do so.

Royal Madikwe. Where do we start? There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe this place and the experiences you will have here. Heavenly? Most definitely. Spectacular? Infinitely. Magical? No doubt. Worthy of 6 stars and the best holiday we have ever had in our lives to date? One hundred percent. The truly remarkable experience started from the moment we sent Cherie – who runs the lodge, an accommodation enquiry email. We have never received such a warm, informative and positive email back from any holiday group or company ever. Cherie has the patience of a saint – in that she answered so politely every question we had, and there were at least 15 emails from us in the strive for a ‘perfect’ holiday!

From the moment we landed on the airstrip and whisked away by Adam – our game ranger, in his very comfortable safari vehicle, we realised we were in store for a very special trip. His warmth, knowledge, attention to detail and obvious love for his job was instantly recognisable. On the short drive to the lodge we saw zebras, giraffes, impalas and kudus.

On arrival at the lodge we were greeted by a sea of smiles from Cherie, Skoko and Eva and at once were made to feel part of their safari family. The attention to detail of the main lodge and all the lodge rooms are superb. Having stayed at many 5 star boutique hotels and residences around the world, this definitely surpassed them all.

The design is African chic at its best and the space vast in size. The main pool is gorgeous, our private plunge pool deck was magnificent, the beds – the most comfortable we’ve ever slept in and being able to bath (or shower outside) whilst watching animals stroll by is something we’ll never forget. The views are spectacular overlooking the waterhole which was frequented daily by elephants, zebras, giraffes, white rhinoceros and a whole array of other animals. During meals we felt like we were watching a live version of ‘The Lion King’!

The chef – the ever-smiling Amos, we think is worthy of a Michelin star. Every single meal we ate was nothing short of exceptional. The wine list is phenomenal and yes, we managed to sample quite a few! The staff who cheerfully waited on us – Eva and Kerri were an absolute delight.

As for the reason one goes on safari – to view game, our experience was so incredible that it’s really hard to put into words. Adam’s passion, experience and desire to ensure you literally have the time of your lives and see the big five (and more) is inspiring. Every drive was an entirely different experience, whether we sat metres away from a herd of elephant or watching a lion devour his prey. His knowledge is infinite and stopping for sundowners towards the end of an afternoons drive – a very special experience.

Sharing dinner with Cherie and Adam on our last night was the perfect way to end our stay. They are such lovely, entertaining people and the perfect hosts. We really can’t encourage you enough to go and have your own life changing experience here. It is without a doubt the most magical place to stay and this is not just because of the fantastic lodge, the incredible game viewing but most definitely from the warmth and happiness of the Royal Madikwe ‘family’ – Cherie, Adam, Eva, Skoko, Amos, Kerri and anyone else we might have forgotten (apologies but we’re a little jet lagged).

We miss you all and wish we were still there! Thanks for the magical memories which will stay with us forever. We’re already planning our next trip and look forward to adding to those memories. Thank you again.