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Eco Lodge Mosetlha: Authentic bush lodge in Madikwe, South Africa

Eco lodges are gaining popularity as travellers seek organisations and establishments that contribute to preserving the environment and make concerted efforts to minimise their impact on the natural environment.

Eco lodge Mosetlha Bush Camp, Madikwe Private Game Reserve

The lounge area at Mosetlha

Before I met Caroline, a leaf-eater and passionate environmentalist, I never thought I would like staying at an eco lodge! I secretly wondered why travellers would find anything down-to-earth appealing. Little did I know, shortly after meeting Caroline, that I would become a vegan and I would develop a new appreciation for eco lodges and sustainable tourism.

In this article, I introduce you to a unique safari lodge, Mosetlha, a one-of-a-kind eco lodge in one of South Africa’s prime nature reserves, Madikwe Game Reserve

I introduce you to a stalwart supporter of sustainable tourism and fantastic host named Caroline, who manages the lodge. Her parents built the lodge several years ago. Moreover her dad constructed most of the accommodation and bathroom units with the help of some of the current staff.

How I met Caroline Lucas of Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Lodge

I met Caroline a while ago when she visited my college’s office in Fourways to discuss a social media collaboration between the lodge and Travel Buddies Lifestyle.

During our first meeting, she shared some of her fondest memories of the lodge and of her parents establishing the lodge in 1995 as a training facility for aspirant game rangers. I could hear from her narratives that she is a biophilic nature enthusiast and, yes, a fascinating tree hugger of note! (In a beautiful way). 

I could see how much the lodge means to her from the smile when she shared the many photos and videos on her cellphone. I knew just then that this unique lodge was not something to read about but to be experienced.

From our in-depth conversations, I learned that guests of Mosetlha eco lodge contribute to sustainable tourism while enjoying the richness and beauty of the Madikwe Game Reserve. 

She explained why people choose to stay at their eco lodge and the adventures that await guests at Mosetlha Bush Camp.

Needless to say, she invited me to experience this authentic bush lodge to unplug (September 2023).

Here, I learned more about Caroline’s passion for nature conservation, her concern for people, and her commitment to leaving a legacy for future generations.

What is an eco lodge, and who would enjoy it?

Mosetlha private lodge in Madikwe game reserve
Although Bernie is never an early riser, photo opportunities like this made it worth while

Eco Lodge refers to accommodation that minimises the adverse effect tourism and lodging have on the environment while positively contributing to local communities and conservation efforts. 

These green lodges are environmentally friendly establishments that prioritise minimising the harm lodging could have on the environment. They also aim to make a positive difference in local communities and support conservation efforts. Therefore, they focus on renewable energy sources to power their property and use energy-efficient lighting, including water preservation initiatives. 

Green or eco tourism is a new experience for many travellers. Lodge owners and staff invite guests on a journey of appreciation for nature because guests learn about the local cultures, ways to protect the environment and how to live eco-friendly lives. Therefore, eco lodges are for anyone willing to embrace new sustainable ways of doing things.

Morning and evening game drives are the best

Where is the Madikwe Game Reserve?

Madikwe Game Reserve is in the Northwest province of South Africa. It is one of the largest game reserves in South Africa, covering 75,000 hectares. 

This remarkable private game reserve boasts lush grasslands and rocky Tshwene hills alongside Botswana. 

In this Big Five reserve, you may encounter endangered wild dogs, including 475 bird species that call Madikwe their home, from ostriches to majestic vultures and the striking Kori Bustard. 

This private game reserve is unique because no private vehicles can traverse the park. Game rangers pick guests up in safari vehicles from the several entrance gates.

If you love close elephant encounters, this game reserve is for you

What makes Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Lodge unique?

  • Although Mosetlha provides guests with rustic accommodations and unassuming meals, they are known for fostering meaningful and lasting relationships with guests. Not surprisingly, a large number of their bookings are from returning guests.
  • Mosetlha Bush Camp was featured among the world’s Top Eco Lodges in Hitesh Mehta’s (one of the world’s leading authorities and researchers on eco tourism) Authentic Eco-lodges magazine. Moreover, it is the only eco lodge in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve.
  • Chris Lucas, Caroline’s father, founded the lodge. Chris named the camp after a Mosehlta tree after he followed an elephant path to where the camp is today. 
  • The ethos of the camp is simplicity, authenticity and conservation.
  • The camp promotes sustainable tourism by relying on trusted historical methods. 
  • The environment-inspired design complements the location, ensuring minimal impact on the environment.
  • The intimated open-air lounge provides a cosy gathering spot for guests before and after game drives.
  • The bedrooms’ design is not luxurious but provides guests with the essentials. 
  • Due to the area’s warm climate, architecture has been cleverly adapted to transition easily between indoor and outdoor spaces. For example, the rooms have half-way wooden sidewalls (not giving much privacy) but are much needed in extremely high temperatures. Additionally, a canvas ‘curtain’ can be dropped behind the bed’s headboard space.  
  • The unfenced lodge provides an authentic bush veld experience.
  • Guests can be assured of the best wildlife photographic opportunities with expertly trained game rangers.
The best photo opportunities are available at Mosethla

Mosetlha: Why you should consider visiting this special eco lodge?

Embarking on new adventures is always an exciting opportunity for growth and learning. Staying at an  eco lodge offers guests a unique chance to immerse themselves in a world of sustainability and environmental preservation. 

Unlike traditional luxury accommodations, places like Mosetlha Bush Camp and Eco Lodge focus on coexisting harmoniously with nature. Guests learn about the importance of valuing local cultures, get up close with wildlife, and experience unforgettable game drives. Most importantly, guests can escape the demands of modern life and indulge in the peace and tranquillity of the bush veld. 

At Mostetlha, guests can leave behind the distractions of technology and relish in the simplicity of life without constant connectivity, running water and electricity. 

Mosetlha Bush Camp & eco-Lodge promises to give guests an eco lodge experience like no other.  

Mesethla eco lodge
You are almost guaranteed to see some wild cats on a game drive

Best features of Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco-Lodge

Johnny our game ranges with Ella an avid photographer and field guide (doing her practical experience at Mosetlha)

A typical day at Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Lodge

Guests are treated to once-in-a-lifetime, twice-daily (early morning and late afternoon) game drives with expertly trained game rangers and trackers. This is when wildlife, particularly predators such as leopards, lions, and cheetahs, is most active.

A day in the camp usually starts with an early morning wake-up call (unless you wish to sleep in). Guests can enjoy a ‘light breakfast’ before departure. A warm breakfast is usually served upon their return. 

Most guests prefer to shower after breakfast (it’s easier to prepare the shower in daily light. 

Spend the day leisurely enjoying the newly built deck, ideal for gazing at the game-filled landscape. 

Lunchtime is another opportunity to enjoy conversations with fellow guests in camp and learn about their home countries.  

After a small lunch, there is time to enjoy a siesta. Wake up late in the afternoon for some afternoon tea or coffee to refuel before departure for the late afternoon/evening game drive, departing around 16:00.

Guests return to a lamp-light camp in time for dinner around 20:00. 

The dining area in day light
The dining area at night time

What are the accommodations like at Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Lodge

The accommodation features ten thatched pine cabins on stilts with partially open sides. The cabins are arranged in adjoining family or detached cabins with twin beds. Essential bedding and towels are supplied. The ‘bathrooms’ are conveniently located near the cabins (not en-suite). 

Guests prepare their own showers by collecting heated water from the ‘donkey-boilers’. They then carrying the warm water-filled buckets to their bathrooms. Remember, eco lodges like Mosetlha pride themselves in being off-the-grid; therefore, you can expect no modern amenities like running water (although clean borehole water is available) and electricity.

wooden cabins at an eco lodge in the madikwe game reserve
Wildebeest wooden cabin
rustic single beds in a private game reserve in the bush
The single beds in the cabin
One of the newly constructed bathrooms of two units
thatch guest accommodations in the middle of the bush at madikwe game reserve
The guest wooden cabins at Mosetlha bush camp
open lounge area at Madikwe Game Reserve allowing the wildlife inside
A reading corner and some board games in the lounge area
The pit toilets
Views of the newly constructed bathrooms
The bucket water shower
Views of the newly constructed bathrooms

How to get to Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco-Lodge?

Depending on your route, Mosetlha Bush Camp and Eco Lodge are three and a half to four hours from Johannesburg (about 300 km). The lodge recommends driving the route via Rustenburg/Pilanesberg and entering Madikwe Game Reserve through the Molatedi Gate. This route is mainly on tar roads, with only the last 9.5 km before you reach the gate on gravel. 

Once you reach the Madikwe Game Reserve’s entrance gate, you will be directed to the North West Park Board’s administration offices, where you will park your car. From here you will be collected in a game-viewing vehicle and taken to Mosetlha, which is about a ten-minute drive from the administrative offices.

PRO TIP

Take a refillable water bottle, as the lodge no longer sells single-use plastic bottles. However, they sell glass bottles for R 120 each, which can be filled from their safe borehole water.

Good to Know

  • There is a reserve entrance fee of R180.00 (€9) per person once off, which the Lodge collects from you on behalf of Northwest Parks and Tourism Board.
  • Additionally, there is an R150.00 (€7.50) charge per guest per night for the Madikwe Guest Conservation Fee.
  • The lodge sells a reasonable selection of beers, wines, spirits, and soft drinks.
  • There is supposed to be a cell phone signal in the camp. However, we found it very slow and mostly intermittent.
The honesty bar with a wine selection

What we missed at Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco-Lodge

  • There were no welcoming drinks upon arrival at the lodge. You only get what you pay for additionally.
  • A fire in the ‘boma’ upon our return from evening game drives.
  • More attention to small details. For example, there was no Amarula or similar African drinks on game drives, or freshly baked cookies for morning game drives, and varieties of ‘biltong and droë wors’ or similar on game drives.
  • We missed authentic South African food and experiences such as witnessing the ‘potjie’ being prepared on the fire, or freshly baked pot bread over hot coals, traditional braai ‘broodjies’, or any authentic South African desserts prepared over hot coals. Regretably most of the meals were prepared beforehand. Meals are basic without choice or variety. The same menu has been served for the last couple of years with a weekly rotation.  
  • The bedroom, dining room and lounge area were disappointing.
  • There were no ‘bathroom’ or room amenities such as eco-friendly soaps, shampoo, etc.
Unfortunately there were no big fires in the 'boma' during our stay

How to book Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco-Lodge

Please phone Andrea at the office at +27 (0)11 444 9345 or Whatsapp message us at +27 (0)71 951 5841

Email: info@thebushcamp.com

To get a prompt and efficient response from the lodge, please include:

  • where you live,
  • for how many people and nights you would like to book,
  • your preferred dates.

Mention Travel Buddies Lifestyle to qualify for a 10% discount!

Visit Mosetlha’s website for more information.

Conclusion

A haven for landscape photographers
Travelbuddieslifestyle at Verified

Judging from the many guests who return year after year, it is evident that Mosetlha lodge is a hit with international travellers. For example, we met a lovely couple from Holland who were in awe of this lodge and a young lady and her mom on their second eight-day visit to this camp.

You will love this lodge if you don’t need luxury and don’t mind limited attention to detail.

Mosetlha Lodge offers exceptional game viewing and fun (out of the ordinary) experiences. Although Mosthla Lodge doesn’t offer delicious meals and pampering (often associated with Private Lodges), they let guests disconnect from unwanted technology to embrace eco friendly experiences. Moreover, guests are guaranteed unforgettable game drives, up-close elephants and other unique game encounters.

Herd of Elephants drinking at a waterhole in Madikwe Game Reserve
Great photo opportunities await you at Madikwe game reserve

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About Author

As a freelance travel journalist and seasoned business professional, Bernie van der Linde has made it her mission to explore the world's most unique and luxurious destinations. With a PhD in business studies from the University of South Africa, Bernie has channeled her passion for travel, web design, and writing into founding the travel blog Travel Buddies Lifestyle. Here, she shares her adventures alongside her best friend and travel business partner, Petra, who seamlessly translate and compile articles relevant to their German and European audience.

Bernie's love for exploring new places has taken her to some of the world's most exotic locations. Whether gazing out at the glittering skyline of Dubai or enjoying the tranquillity of a private beach in Mauritius, Bernie is always looking for unique experiences that will inspire and entice her readers to travel.

Through her thoughtful writing and unparalleled passion for travel, Bernie van der Linde has made a name for herself in the world of travel writing. Her knack for uncovering hidden gems and sharing her experiences with her readers has made her a trusted source of inspiration for those looking to explore the world in style.

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