Waterberg, Madikwe and the northwest, South Africa
At a Glance
Experience sleeping out under the beautiful African night sky
Ideal for families, the children will be inspired by the Junior Tracker Training Programme
Enjoy a home from home safari experience
Swim or play tennis on their floodlit court
Indulge yourself with a relaxing massage
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The best game viewing is from May to the end of September. Summer (November to March) days can get quite warm (up to 28-32 degrees on average) but it is a dry heat. Summer rainfall, normally in the form of thunder storms are usually in the evening, however, the African climate is still always unpredictable. Fall (April to May) days can still be warm but the evenings cool down. Average day time temperature 22-28 degrees. Evenings 10-15 degrees. Winter (June to August) days are warm (temperatures in the mid-twenties) evenings and early mornings very cold with average early morning temperatures 5-12 degrees. It very rarely rains at this time when the bush is golden and dry. Spring (September, October) days start getting hotter, evenings and mornings could still be crisp but not as cold. A very slim chance of rain.
Call us on 858 345 1761 to start planning your vacation to Jembisa or take a look at our itineraries to Madikwe and the northwest
A beautiful, exclusive-use lodge in the Palala River Reserve in Limpopo Province. With five luxury en-suite rooms with private balconies and a children's bunk-room, this is perfect for a family or group of friends looking for a private African adventure.
Built originally as a family home, and still owned by the family, Jembisa has a wonderful atmosphere of relaxation and comfort. The emphasis is to make you feel ‘at home in the bush’. The lodge is built from local stone and thatch, in harmony with its surroundings. It is a beautifully designed lodge with large, spacious rooms, decorated with natural materials in an African colonial style.
Having been a family home, Jembisa also benefits from some extras not usually found at safari lodges. For example a library, reading room, games room and tennis court. The chef can prepare delicious meals for you using local produce when available. Meals are varied affairs and may include picnics in the bush, dinner under the stars, lunch on the terrace, and al fresco breakfasts and brunches.
Aside from relaxing back at the lodge and venturing out into the bush on game drives you can also go horse riding and take to the skies in a helicopter for a totally different perspective on this enchanting reserve.
Jembisa is a great option for families with a range of customized children's activities on offer and plenty to keep them occupied back at the lodge, including a complimentary babysitting service.
Jembisa offers five en-suite bedrooms and one children’s bunk room. Rooms are decorated in an Afro-colonial style and feature either king or queen size beds, mosquito nets and ceiling fans. The children's bunk room is themed with animal rugs and linen, embroidered with wildlife. There two bunk beds, sleeping up to four children.
Children of all ages are welcome at Jembisa and customized activities are offered, including the Junior Tracker Training Programme - with guided bush walks, instruction on tracking and bush lore, bug walks, slide shows and bush games, this is an extremely popular and memorable experience for children.
There are also children's books, games and wildlife videos available and a complimentary babysitting service. Children's separate mealtimes can be arranged should they be required. There are also bunk beds and cots available.
Facilities at Jembisa include a library, reading room, games room, tennis court and swimming pool. Enjoy picnics in the bush, dinner under the stars, lunch on the terrace, and al fresco breakfasts and brunches. The chef at Jembisa will be happy to prepare whatever you like and many ingredients come from the lodge's own organic garden.
Complimentary activities at Jembisa include tennis, swimming, game drives, walking, camping and exploring bushmen paintings and archaeological sites. Massages, horse riding, elephant rides and scenic helicopter flights are all charged additionally.
One of the most popular experiences is sleeping out under the stars, a fabulous and safe experience in this non Big 5 game reserve.
A short drive from Johannesburg led us to shady parking in front of Jembisa Lodge where An Van Schalkwyk and Steven and Jane Leonard, the executive staff of the property, greeted us warmly late one afternoon. From the parking area we crossed a courtyard to reach the entrance to the north facing house. After a day in the city and a flat tire on the way we were eager to get back to the bush. While An showed us around the house and gardens, we discussed our activities preferences with Steven, our guide; then they left to prepare for our evening outing and we sat down to a well anticipated late lunch.
We quickly settled down in our suites and were on our first game drive in time to catch the sunset in the amiable company of Steven and Toffee, a feisty and friendly Jack Russell terrier. We appreciated the bush setting without elephants or lions that allowed us to walk on the grounds at our leisure. Although there were leopards in the area, none had been spotted at the reserve in a while. There were white rhino and we encountered two during a morning game drive, although they were not a danger to guests we were told. At Jembisa, we were able to appreciate the bush itself including birds, plants and insects that often remain behind the scenes at Big Five properties because of the emphasis on predators and large mammals. With Steven's guidance we took time to observe butterflies, lizards, many birds and insects as well as spotting bigger species.
We throughly enjoyed our stay at this six-bedroom exclusive use home away from home in the South African bush. The stand alone house was everything we expected and more. Owned by, and the former home of, a British family for five years, Jembisa (a word created from the family names) had all the conveniences we like: pleasant rooms, spacious and varied common areas where we could relax, friendly and attentive staff, savory comfort food, thoughtful details like fresh flowers, turn down candy, scented elegant toiletries and thought provoking bush experiences. The house with three resident dogs, Toffee (the Jack Russell terrier), Fudge and Igor (a mastiff and border collie respectively), had an intangible quality that made us feel instantly at home.
Game Drives & Bush Walks
The Madikwe Game Reserve is an incredible 'Big 5' wilderness area. Lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, white and black rhino, and the critically endangered Africa wild dog are just some of the amazing sightings you can enjoy in this 75 000 hectare reserve.
Safari River Walk at Jembisa
Experience a safari river walk, the latest thing in the Madikwe at Jembisa Safari Lodge. Get up close to the wildlife during this thrilling experience and see everything from a new perspective on foot.
South African Birding
The Waterberg is home to an incredible diversity of bird species. Besides residents, migratory species move through during the rains and the escarpment cliffs are home to the world's largest breeding colony of the critically endangered Cape Vulture.
Location & directions
Waterberg, Madikwe and the northwest, South Africa
Jembisa is a bush home situated in its own private game reserve, the Palala River Reserve, named after the river that runs through it. It is located in an area in the Limpopo province in South Africa known as the Waterberg.
How to get there
11-houre 30-minute international flight to Johannesburg followed by a 1-hour charter flight Jembisa strip. Alternatively, the Waterberg Mountain area is part of the Bushveld district of the Limpopo Province, a 2-hour 30-minute drive north from Johannesburg on the N1.