Our stay at a five-star game lodge (with a toddler)

November 28, 2018

I recently published a post on our stay at Tau Game Lodge at Madikwe Game Reserve (you can read the post here). I wanted to write a second post on the kids’ offerings because they are so standout, and because they’re one of the many reasons Tau is such an attraction.

So first up, let me answer some of the common questions that have been asked:

Did you take malaria pills?

No – Madikwe is malaria free, so no need for pills. Yaaay!

How was the car drive? Wasn’t it tough with a toddler?

The drive took us around five hours, with two stops (one was a fairly long stop). The actual drive from Joburg is straightforward, and it went easily, with the help of some Spotify nursery rhyme playlists.

Are there babysitters? 

Yes! Our babysitter looked after Rebecca every day when we were there – for early-morning game drives, and afternoon/evening game drives. They are experienced and awesome, and within two minutes of Rebecca meeting her, she was playing and content. You do pay an hourly fee for the service.

Is there a swimming pool?

Yes – two, in fact!

Are children free with their parents?

Children aged 0-2 years sharing with parents stay free and baby-sitting services are on offer at an extra charge.

What’s on offer for preschoolers?

Children aged three to five become members of the Tau Cubz Club, which is great fun and works best over school holidays,. It includes a short game drive after breakfast just for the kids. After their game drive, children are entertained with treasure hunts, and arts and crafts activities. The children are provided with their own Cubz Club backpacks, which are filled with a wildlife activity booklet, which includes an animal sticker checklist, a deputy ranger sticker badge and certificate, (which is signed off by their personal ranger) as well as a Tau T-shirt.

A playroom is also reserved for children’s arts and crafts and other supervised activities. The chef offers additional child-friendly food to complement the adult meals, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Children between six and 11 can join the adult game drives. They will also be issued with a special Cubz Club activity booklet and are welcome to join their siblings during the Cubz club activities.

Our experience

At most hotels/establishments, the grownups are the “important” ones and the kids secondary. At Tau, kids are treated with as much respect and friendliness as adults, which was something special to experience. From warm welcomes when we arrived from game drives, to high fives from our ranger Damian, to exceptional care from our babysitters, and welcome presents, they were treated as special guests and people.

While Rebecca was too young to go on the main game drives, we were accommodated after breakfast one morning on our own game drive, where my son asked tens of questions, and Rebecca got to experience a ride through Big Five territory with the wind blowing her wild blonde hair.

Max learnt so much, and I believe game experiences like these foster and strengthen a love of and respect for nature. A game ranger at Tau not only spots and finds the animals, but gives information, anecdotes and tips, and this for me is one of the most valuable and special things about a game lodge like this.

On our way to find some cheetah (look at the wind in his hair!)

Like with any getaway, it was an opportunity to relax, and connect with each other, and the setting just begged for this, whether bonding and having fun together on game drives, swimming while watching the animals right by the fence, or long and relaxed meals while seeing who will pop up to drink at the waterhole – we saw many rhino, antelope and elephants.

We still talk a lot about our weekend at Tau… “Remember you drank Amarula in your coffee, Mom”… “Remember how it started raining on the game drive and we saw a lion?”… “Remember the monkey stole an apple right out of Rebecca’s hand?”…”Remember Damian teaching us about elephant poo!”.

And this is what holidays are I guess. Building on our learnings, relationships and experiences, and establishing a repository of precious memories. Our repository is full from this trip, and we are so much the richer for it.

For more information, go the Tau website here, or follow them on Facebook. 

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