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Dream Trips | 2008

A South African Safari

For an otherwordly experience, there's nothing like a game drive in the African wild. The 185,000-acre Madikwe Private Game Reserve, in the northwestern corner of South Africa, is part Kalahari desert, part bush country. It's also ideal for spotting giraffes and elephants, as well as rare wild dogs and furry tree-dwelling primates known as bush babies—all without seeing another person for miles.

Where to Stay

Rustic-chic Madikwe Safari Lodge (Suites from $868, double, all-inclusive) is a three-camp lodge wedged between the slopes of two rolling hills. The 20 suites are done up in thatch and stone, offset by such modern design touches as private plunge pools; the bedrooms are filled with antique Bauer travel chests and baskets from the local Tswana tribes. For the most privacy, book a room in the smaller, four-suite West Camp and watch animals on the plains while soaking in a bronze-plated tub.

Where to Eat

You can choose to join the group for dinner around the open-air fire pit, or arrange a lantern-lit meal on the deck of your suite. The Pan-African menu includes Afrikaner dishes like potjie—a traditional slow-cooked stew of game meat braised in a cast-iron soup pot. Don't miss the malva pudding—sticky-toffee cake covered in butterscotch sauce.

What to Do

Schedule a morning game drive in an open-top Jeep. If you're lucky, you'll come across the Big Five, plus hard-to-spot cheetahs. On evening drives, guests are served glasses of iced mampoer, a fruit-based Afrikaner eau-de-vie, while viewing the sun setting behind the Marico River.

Insider Tip

Chef Lavuis Tlhagwane offers private cooking lessons upon request, where you can learn to make African tamales with local corn and a sweet potato filling. —Douglas Rogers

From the article Dream Trips | 2008.

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