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Rhulani is a Xitsonga word meaning Harmony.

For me, some of the best safari trips I’ve ever experienced are those lodges that either sit along a river or waterhole, allowing you to watch the wildlife move in and out, or the ones that have an underground hide which permits you to observe the wildlife up close and undisturbed, allowing you to quietly view their behaviour and interaction with each other. Rhulani safari lodge have both, a beautifully decorated and very comfortable hide leading you directly to the large waterhole, which renders you just 3 meters from the wildlife, at times even being splashed by the elephants when they shower themselves. I could sit here all day and night in anticipation of what animal may stroll up next for a drink of water.

This time of the year in South Africa, October through to January, presents loads of rain and thunderstorms. We have on numerous occassions been caught in a downpour whilst on game drives and I’ll be honest, I just love the exhilarating feeling of being outside while it’s pouring down. After being presented with the option to continue on the game drive or return back to the lodge, each guest is swiftly handed a poncho to try and keep as dry as possible, the roads quickly become muddy and tricky to navigate and the animals all tuck away under a bush to find shelter, but driving through a storm is still so much fun.

Home to the Big Five and the magnificent 7 (adding wild dog and cheetah) the magical Madikwe Game Reserve is located at the top of South Africa on the border of Botswana.

Madikwe Game Reserve is a malaria free, phenomenal 75 000 hectare safari destination, and a mere 4 hour drive from Johannesburg.

Although Madikwe is one of South Africa's youngest game reserves, it’s quickly gaining popularity and is definitely one of our favourites.

Previously we had never seen leopard in the Madikwe reserve before, as the leopards there can be quite skittish, but on this trip we managed to spot leopard 3 times and even saw a leopard on a kudu kill. It’s only a matter of time before the leopards start becoming more comfortable around the game vehicles. We also managed to track down the wild dogs and catch a glimpse of them on the hunt. Boy do they move quickly through the terrain though, but always such a special and rare sighting.

At Rhulani lodge the food is tasty and the portions are generous, we couldn’t even fit in the lunches as we were still full from breakfast. The boma dinner is always my favourite and we were spoilt with the most perfect evening under the stars.

Our room was spacious and had its own splash pool which is heated and beautifully lit up in the evenings, and we couldn’t resist the temptation to take a dip at night.

From romantic turn downs and massages on our private deck, to a magical dinner set up in our room, no amount of detail or effort was spared.

The main lodge area is comfortably laid out with outdoor and indoor lounges, a bar area and a lovely large pool which overlooks nature, and Valencia was eagerly standing by to bring us an ice cold gin and tonic.

Our ranger, Ralf, made sure he took us to incredible scenic drinks stops for sundowners overlooking the reserve and taking in the ever so vibrant sunsets, and once again we got to experience one of our favourite spots, Tlou dam, this time watching as two lionesses tried their luck at an opportunistic hunt, but were spotted by the warthog and decided to abort the mission.

Overall our experience at Rhulani was extremely enjoyable with the lodge providing everything you could ask for and we will definitely be returning with our sons to share this beautiful lodge with them too.

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