Recently, as I checked into Tau Game Lodge, it was hard not to notice the contrast of the luxury of this South African safari lodge with its wild African surroundings of Madikwe Game Reserve. It is also difficult to imagine that such a seemingly wild location (in Groot Marico), boasting the big five is only a short four hour’s drive from Johannesburg!
After a generous buffet lunch taking in views across the busy waterhole complete with some waterbuck enjoying their own herbivorous lunch, it was off to our room to get settled in, and it wasn’t long before we received our prompt reminder call to the room from Ranger, Damien Fourie to come through for our first evening game drive.
We climbed onto our open safari vehicle, complete with fluffy blankets and our own hot water bottles, and chatted happily to our Ranger whilst he carefully noted what each of us would like to spot during our stay at Tau, and then we were off on the first of many drives during this luxurious stay.
“The Place of the Lion” (which is how Tau got its name), certainly lives up to its reputation and on our very first evening’s game drive, we came across a regal pride of lions, enjoying a leisurely nap whilst their playful cubs toyed with each other in full view of our group. This was the first of many wildlife sightings during this stay, and I could not have been more excited about what we had the privilege of experiencing during our twice-daily drives which come as a standard offering during your stay at Tau.
To end off our drive each evening, leisurely sundowners (complete with typically South Africa snacks) were set up for us at different locations by our Ranger, enabling us to really appreciate typically African sunsets and the surroundings to their fullest. A little cold but exhilarated from our experience during the day, we would excitedly chatter our way home discussing white rhino sightings or an inquisitive baby elephant (who had tried to befriend our open safari vehicle) and then disembark from our chariot for dinner.
When it came to food and our experience of meal times during our stay, the lodge arranged for completely different dining experiences from a traditional outdoor African Boma meal (complete with chairs and tables set up around the camp fire) to cosy, indoor meals complimented by beautifully presented dishes in the main dining room. I have found that what stood out for me during these meals was the attention to detail in each and every case as well as the sheer choice of beautifully presented dishes. Few African lodges offer a wide range of vegetarians options, but at Tau this inclusion seems to come standard and during meal times, we got the option of spending time with our Ranger, Damien Fourie, who patiently sat answering questions and providing valuable insight into what Tau is doing in terms of both their commitment to conservation and the ever-constant poacher issues.
The next morning, I decided to take a leisurely stroll through the lodge gardens and make the most of their infinity pool, complete with a private game viewing lounge area overlooking the waterhole. Some elephants grazed noisily nearby whilst Ernest, (who runs the bar there) poured me a G&T, and I soaked in the surroundings and tranquillity of what had been my luxurious “home away from home” during our stay. Summer days can quite easily be spent soaking up some sun here with a leisurely visit to their spa oasis for a treatment or two.
In true Tau style, on our last evening, we were treated to the overwhelming sound of a male lion's roar at our watering hole. Lions use several calls to communicate with each other from grunts to growls and each sound has a different meaning, but their roar has to be by far the most awe-inspiring, and falling asleep to it was like nothing else that I have ever experienced.
In summary, Tau has something for everyone and it has been a privilege to share both my unforgettable experience here and the standard of service with a smile that we came to expect during our stay at Tau.