Jaci´s Tree Lodge


Jaci’s Tree Lodge and its sister, the Safari Lodge, are located in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, a four hours’ drive or one hour flight from Johannesburg. The reserve is highly regarded by safari connoisseurs.


With a size of circa 75,000 hectares, Madikwe is one of the largest private game reserves in Africa. Moreover, it boast the “Top Ten” of African wildlife: wild dogs, both the black and the white rhinoceros, hippopotamus, lions, leopards, spotted and brown hyenas, cheetahs, read more » giraffes, buffalos and more than 400 elephants.


Needless to say, that countless other species inhabit the Madikwe. Large herds of eland and oryx antelopes, springboks, red gnus and more than 340 bird species call the Madikwe Reserve home.


The friendly couple Jan und Jaci van Heteren have fulfilled themselves their African dream: They opened two luxurious, but heart-warming and unpretentious lodges in the Madikwe Game Reserve, the Safari Lodge and the Tree Lodge.


Opened in 2002, the Tree Lodge changes your perspective: perched at a height of six meters above the ground, eight luxurious tree houses were built in between the branches of Tambotie and Leadwood trees.


Lodged at the heart of nature, admire the African night sky from your private terrace, the soundtrack being provided by the wilderness all around. Take a refreshing bath in the forest pool or stroll down the boardwalk to the banks of the Marico River, where the main building is located.


The spacious lounge opens to all sides. A cosy bar invites guests to enjoy a refreshing drink while sharing safari adventures around the large fireplace. The open kitchen allows you to observe the chefs working their magic. The cosmopolitan specialities are served on the restaurant’s elevated open-air terrace.


Listen to the evening symphony and enjoy the unforgettable starry sky - welcome to Jaci’s Tree Lodge – in the middle of the African Bush!



Jaci's "Children Safari Programme“


What makes both of Jaci’s lodges so unique is the Children Safari Programme. One of the few lodges in South Africa to offer such a service, children are not only highly welcome at Jaci’s but may even participate in a specially designed safari programme.


Both the special location and the tailored programme ensure an entertaining and educative safari that is thoroughly enjoyed by both kids and their parents.


Children under the age of twelve share a room with their parents, sleeping on a comfortable extra bed. The special children’s package includes a day-care service and the participation in a Jungle Adventure.


Animal observations for children up to the age of seven are conducted with a personal guide. The Jungle Drive is especially designed to meet the interests, the age and the concentration span of the young guests.


Kids between eight and twelve and twelve are encouraged to take part in the regular safari activities with their parents.


Dinner for children up to twelve is served at 6 pm. The young ones are taken care of by a babysitter, allowing mummy and daddy to set off on an exciting night safari.


The little ones fast asleep, the parents may enjoy their dinner at the “childfree” boma. Additionally, Jaci’s offers tailored safari-programmes for children between three and twelve at an extra charge and a minimum of two participating children.


Specially trained guides teach the children traditional handicrafts, show them how to track animals and play detective games, intensifying the children’s knowledge of the African Bush – a unique opportunity in South Africa!


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Being accommodated in a Jaci’s tree house is an adventure. The spacious units were built with finest rosewood and reed, creating a natural flair and comfortable ambiance with a wonderful view of the read more » surrounding bushland.


Elegant materials and quality wood dominate the interior of the spacious tree houses, which proudly showcase the vibrant colours and unique arts and crafts found only in Southern Africa.


Silk cushions, colourful linen and a décor playing on contrasts create a modern African feeling. Enjoy the splendour of the open bathroom equipped with a large rock tub and an open-air “jungle-shower”.


A highlight of your tree suite is the wide open terrace: It is the perfect place to unwind, relishing the fantastic view of the surroundings. Settle down with a good book and a refreshing drink, your eyes flying to the wilderness panorama.


At night, leave the doors and windows wide open to let the sounds of the bush drift into your suite amongst the tree tops. An unusual lullaby, nod off with lions roaring in the far distance.


Incidentally, those who cannot make up their minds whether to stay at the Tree or the Safari Lodge may, of course, combine the two gracious Jaci’s lodges. You will feel truly comfortable at both – promised!


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Life at Jaci’s revolves around the safaris, which are of the highest standard and participant numbers are always kept low. Guides, rangers and trackers are all very well trained and turn your safari read more » into a memorable experience.


Enjoy a refreshing and relaxing dip in the swimming pool before setting off on an afternoon game drive. The swimming pool commands a good view of the river bed, enabling guests to observe the wildlife even while cooling off.


Or simply chill out in a hammock while reading a good book, nipping at a cold drink or watching the colourful birds around you. Let your thoughts fly and your spirit run free. Any holiday at this magical place is special!



Info on Madikwe & Jaci’s


In the 1940s, as a consequence of overgrazing and long-lasting droughts, the agriculture of the Marico district was severely affected and the remaining farmers faced an existential crisis.


Traditionally, Marico had been the poorest area of the province. With future perspectives dropping to an all-time low, the Madikwe Game Reserve was created by the local authorities. By protecting endangered flora and fauna, the government aimed to provide the local population with a stabilised environment.


“Operation Phoenix” describes the probably largest resettlement of animal species since Noah’s Arc. 10,000 wild animals of more than 27 species were relocated to live in the newly fenced-off area protected within the Madikwe Reserve.


The first pioneers who recognised the potential created by the newly founded reserve were Jan van Heteren and Eric Chapmann, who invested big money into the creation of the Madikwe River Lodge.


Jan’s charismatic personality, his entrepreneurial skills and great gastronomic talent were perfectly complemented by his wife Jaci’s organisational talent and great decorative taste. In no time, the Madikwe River Lodge became widely known and a popular holiday destination.


After selling their shares of the Madikwe River Lodge, the couple felt a rekindled desire to invest into the Madikwe Reserve by building their own lodge. The idea of Jaci’s Safari Lodge was born.


After three long years of negotiating and planning with the park administration, they were finally able to put their plans into action. Jan was able to draw upon the help of contacts made through a restaurant project in Pretoria and Jaci had experience managing a lodge in Mozambique.


Work started and despite some heavy rainfalls that occurred in the initial building phase, Jaci’s Safari Lodge managed to open by April 2000. Today, a motivated team offers guests top-class service, superb cuisine and a well-stocked wine cellar – all in a stunningly beautiful setting where wildlife abounds.


The result speaks for itself and the success can be measured in the number or returning guests, often in the company of friends. In reaction to the increasing demand, the total bed number was almost doubled in December 2002 by opening Jaci’s extravagant Tree Lodge.


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