Sunday, 9 November 2014

Madikwe: May 2010 (Part 1)

Hey everyone! I am carrying on my huge backlog of trip reports as and when I find the time to do so - so herewith the start of another belated adventure for you to enjoy.

Back in May 2010 my wife and I were fortunate to be invited by my friend Gerry van der Walt to spend some time in the Madikwe Game Reserve, situated in the North West province of South Africa. This was the first time we visited this interesting reserve, situated in the "Marico" bushveld of Herman Charles Bosman's lore. The entire area is malaria free and the history of the development of the reserve is quite fascinating. 

We arrived late in the afternoon, and after clearing the gate permit we drove to our home for the next few days, Nkurru Lodge. En route we encountered an elephant road block (these guys were a bit feisty and held us up for a while), a brown hyaena and a lone lion (albeit these last two were found in near-darkness walking next to the road).


Day 1
The following morning, Gerry had me up early to scout for one of the local packs of African Painted Dogs with him - this park is known for its success with these endangered predators. The prime goal of this morning's venture was to collar one of the dogs for research, a personal conservation project driven by Jono Buffey, who was also visiting Nkurru and was heading out later that day. Unbeknownst to me at the time was that a few years later I would be involved in photographic safaris with Gerry and Jono, in the form of Wild Eye!

We didn't find the dogs that morning, but we had a lovely drive and I got to see the beauty of Madikwe properly...



Later that day, we were joined by Kerry de Bruyn as well, and we set off on our afternoon drive.


A large elephant bull was our first compliant subject for the afternoon...


We spent the better part of the afternoon tracking mating lions in thick bush, we had some visual but no real photographic opportunity, and we also spent some time at the famous Tlou dam and doing some bird photography.

Day 2
The following morning we set off VERY early, heading out to an area called Madikwe Plains. I wrote a comprehensive post about this morning's events back in 2010, and you can read all about it HERE.


Following our surprise encounter with the old guy in the post above, we also found his brother (by following the answered roars in the distance) - he had a drink in front of us and then passed out like a proper lazy male lion should...


We were also treated to some springbuk rams sparring. Madikwe is one of the few places where you can see springbok and impala in the same biosphere, since it's a transition zone between bushveld and Kalahari...


A lone elephant bull and a breeding herd of elephants also provided ample entertainment on this particular drive.


A young calf in particular was chock full of attitude...


The next moment the radio crackled to life and we were notified of a sighting of the elusive Painted Dogs!! We were off, hoping they would stick around for us...


You'll have to stick around for the next episode...

Morkel Erasmus

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