Madikwe absolutely surpassed my expectations. I didn’t think that going on a safari would be as good as this.
Madikwe Game Reserve is located one hour’s flight north-west of Johannesburg, capital of South Africa. It is on the border with Botswana.
Safaris normally occur early in the morning and late in the afternoon when animals are at their most active. On our very first safari, after seeing two of the big 5, water buffalo and elephant, plus lots of other animals, it was starting to get dark and we found to male lions who had hunted and killed a zebra. They had eaten their fill and were quite mellow relaxing as they digested their meals.
We were so close and could almost touch them. They weren’t bothered by us and just lay there yawning away. It was a simply fantastic experience, which my memory has re-lived many times since.
Early the next morning we were out again, this time to participate in a Rhino Conservation Project. Sadly, poachers still hunt rhinos for their horn, and the object was to stun an unmarked rhino, mark it, study it, take DNA samples, and microchip it for the database.
This was an exciting adventure involving a helicopter undertaking quite intense manoeuvres, a team to quickly do their work on the rhino, and the vet to inject the rhino to get her on her feet as quickly and safely as possible. The rhino was a young, beautiful female who weighed about 1.4 tonnes, but was quite dainty.
These were but two of the incredible adventures I had in Madikwe Game Reserve, but I shall never forget them.
Our accommodation at Jaci’s Lodge, which was built like a treehouse, was very comfortable too. My room was spacious and well furnished so that you felt you were on safari. Meals and hospitality were wonderful. We were surprised on our last night when we were taken straight from our safari to a braai (barbecue) under the stars out in the veldt. This was yet another brilliant experience and such a great way to spend our last night in Madikwe.
During the three days I was there we saw loads of animals up close. You could never take such a great opportunity for granted. This is not a zoo, it is pristine country and all of the beasts are wild so live their lives naturally. Most of the animals were herbivores, but the predators were certainly out there hunting.
Here is a podcast of my regular Travel Bug segment on Perth Tonight with Chris Ilsley which is broadcast each Friday night on Radio 6PR, Perth, Western Australia. You can definitely hear how excited I was.