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Found 8 results

  1. I am just returning from a three day stay at Tuningi Lodge in the Madikwe. An interesting trip - lovely lodge, very cold (and windy at times), the first game drive on which I took no photos at all, a couple of firsts: a lion kill and an amazing waterhole. I will update as I sort my photos... (And yes @Game Warden - I will add a lodge review)
  2. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Tuningi Safari Lodge, Madikwe, South Africa 2) Website address if known: http://www.seasonsinafrica.com/lodges-in-south-africa/madikwe-game-reserve/tuningi-safari-lodge/lodge-luxury-suites/ 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). July 2017. Low season. R5500 per person per night 4) Length of stay: 3 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? A few details in my trip report. Ease of access from JNB, very comfortable lodge for a friend on first safari. Used website and TA reviews for info (no mention of it on Safaritalk!) 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Via an agent, Jacqui Sive of Lodge Trackers. It is possible to book direct via website and in doing so it appears that you can avoid the single supplement applied to 2nd and subsequent single rooms in a booking. I feel comfortable mentioning this as I continued to book via the TA but the lodge have done nothing to correct the apparent error in the two months since they were informed about it. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 6 8) To which countries? South Africa (5 times) and Kenya 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Nottens (Sabi Sands), Kambaku River Sands (Timbavati) 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? Yes. It does however have a lovely waterhole (lit at night) which provided a steady stream of good sightings. 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 4 double and 2 family (16 beds total). NB Children of any age can stay and can go on game drives. Generally OK with this but on occasions noise and running around disturbed animals at waterhole and other guests. 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Room 2. Good view over main path taken by animals to waterhole. Private. Only downside a faint hum from the generator at night. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortable. Including gas fire and Nespresso coffee machine! 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Good variety and vegetarian options. Enjoyable although the bona BBQ wasn't exceptional quality 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Available without notice. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Single tables and guides not present. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? N/A 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Open Toyota 4 WD. 3 rows for guests, 3 individual seats in each row 19) How many guests per row? 2 (unless larger family group) 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? 3 - 3,5 hours. Not very varied during my stay. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Don't think so. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? Private park (large) Comparable vehicle density with Sabi Sands 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? N/A 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Yes but relaxed and didn't feel pressured 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Lions (yes) Wild Dogs (no) general game - a bit sparse 27) How was the standard of guiding? Average. Guide only on vehicle (no tracker), tended to team up with another guide from Tuning when tracking on foot leaving guests in the vehicle. Although allowed to use the whole Madikwe we tended to drive the same small area in an (unsuccessful) search for a leopard over several days. In my opinion it would have been better to have admitted defeat earlier and concentrated on 'smaller' sightings which can be equally interesting. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? This concern didn't reach the threshold for a complaint. 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes - excellent lodge staff. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes but can't recall details. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. Like this
  3. The Return to the Hunt in Madikwe, Klaserie, and Sabi Sands We cannot eat just one potato chip nor could we convince ourselves that just one safari to Africa was enough. The safari bug had bitten us; we had the craving, so we had to return to hunt wild animals again even if our first safari was our “trip of a lifetime.” The last week of October of 2015, we returned for our second safari certain that the African bush still held surprises for us. Our first lodge was The Bush House of northwestern Madikwe chosen for the waterhole and a hide right at the edge of the front lawn. We arrived by van with a private transfer from a hotel at the airport in Johannesburg in the early afternoon after a four-hour journey. We didn’t cross much of the Madikwe Reserve before we reached The Bush House, but it was enough miles of desolate, parched land for us to appreciate the green grass of the front lawn of the lodge as a lovely, inviting oasis. We no sooner completed the paper work to sign all our legal rights away when we saw elephants at the waterhole. Nothing says Africa like elephants! Now we were in Africa! We grabbed our cameras and ran for the hide which has an underground tunnel as the entrance way so that the animals cannot see people coming. The mid-day sun was unrelenting, creating black shadows and almost silhouettes. The harsh light was the something we had to deal with every day of this safari. We had no clouds and no rain. It was supposed to be the start of the rainy season, but not this year. The viewing seemed to have turned into a staring contest and I was losing. Six pairs of eyes beat one behind a camera lens every time. About now I felt a little intimidated. I knew I was safe from being squashed, but I wondered if the elephant had ever sprayed the people clicking at him at such close range. Around the elephant’s feet were a Blacksmith Lapwing adult and a juvenile. Now they were living dangerously. Do you see that little, bright-red “V” in front of the elephant leg in the pictures above? It is a Red-Veined Darter. The Bush House is a small lodge with six rooms with only one facing the lawn and the waterhole and we had it. It was perfect! The hide at the Bush house is a very pleasant place. It comes with a small refrigerator with drinks, bean bags for under the cameras, has chairs with backs; and if one gets alarmed at something, there is a heavy grate that quickly drops down over the viewing slot. The hide was cleaned and the chairs were returned to a straight line against the railing every time I went there. The six-inch millipedes which came in to feed at night were all tossed out every morning. For our second safari I dreamed grand dreams of Kenya or Botswana, but in the end we choose twelve nights in three of the South Africa reserves, Madikwe, Klaserie, and Sabi Sands. Madikwe Reserve went our list because of the chance of seeing animals rarely or never seen in the Greater Kruger National Park such as brown hyena, black rhino, gemsbok, hartebeest, and eland. The white lions of Timbavati and Klaserie reserves had eluded us on our first hunt. Maybe a second try will be a charm. We would go back to Sabi Sands, nothing to discuss about that choice. Where else could we dream of a leopard on every game drive? For selecting the lodges, criteria number one was waterholes situated near enough to the lodge so we could observe the animals during the mid-day down time and the second was a hide that we could use any time we wished and not interfere with the time spent on game drives nor incur extra expense to use it. Our retired-educator budget does limit our choices for lodges as does our affinity for smaller lodges; we don’t need or want a spa, a gym, or a butler on safari, just wild animals and birds. Our safari was booked using Rhino Africa Safaris. I started the planning using another company, but when they gave me their proposal, it had only a small discount from the rack rates so I contacted Rhino Africa. The percentage of their discount was more in line with what I had received two years ago so we let RAS book the safari. I did all my own flights with RAS booking the transfers in addition to the lodges and the two hotel nights in Johannesburg.
  4. This report relates a trip made in July 2003. It began with a twelve days self-driving expedition, in Botswana, followed by eight days in South Africa, in Welgevonden and Madikwe. At Maun’s airport, someone welcomed us (my wife was with me on this trip) and drove us to Audi Camp where we would meet our travel companions : cousins, friends and friends of friends. This was in total, we included, a group of fourteen people, nine men and five women. The others had, a few days before, taken up, in Johannesburg, the four vehicles. In the meanwhile, they had spent a couple of days in the Okavango. They arrived in the afternoon. This trip had been organized by Bruno, a good friend of mine, who is also the person who sets up all my African travels for over twenty years. Bruno and his brother, who was also with us, are born in Africa where they spent their entire youth. Bruno was severely wounded by gunfire, together with someone that is closely related to me, four years ago, in the northeast of Ethiopia, close to the Erythrean border, on the Erta Ale volcano, but this is another story that I might tell later in a specific topic. Despite his large experience of Africa, he had hired a guide. That was his only mistake. Without being nasty, I would say that he was not good at all. For this reason, I will not mention his name. In fact, he was only very active during the meals. The next day, after a first night in the tents on the cars’ roof and after shopping, mainly food for a few days, we took the road to CKGR. At the vet fence, the police was controlling the cars, especially those registered in South Africa, in search of raw meat. When we told them that we were not South Africans and that we were continuing our way along the fence, on the track to the right, they did not search the vehicles. Several people, to prevent the confiscation of the meat discovered in their vehicle, were busy cooking it along the road. After some kilometers on the track, we loose one spare wheel. I explain, to have a bigger cruising range, Bruno had asked, to the renting company to fix an additional fuel tank. It was mounted on the rear underside in place of the spare wheel and the wheel was fixed under the tank. The wheel was therefore closest to the ground and the weight of the combination did certainly not help the situation. What was not a problem on a tarred road became one on rough tracks. We decided to transfer the spare wheels inside the vehicles, which was not easy because they were already pretty well filled. We also somehow consolidated the additional tank mounting points. Obviously, it was enough because we no longer have encountered additional problems. We drove about hundred kilometers along the fence to get to where we needed to go on the other side. It was a small check point, only two controllers. They looked very pleased to see us. Perhaps, were we their first cars of the day. They searched two cars without having to report anything. Then they asked to have a look at the one that contained the fridge but impossible to open the back door. We gave them the key so they can try themselves and they did not succeed. Eventually, they did not insist and let us go. At the end of the afternoon, we arrived at the campsite which we had been assigned to, nearby the Sunday Pans. We eventually managed to open the car with the fridge. It was in fact very easy, one had to brake hard in order to slightly move forward the vehicle's contents. We all prepared dinner, which was great : leaks/onions/celeries soup followed by a grilled leg of goat and stir fried vegetables. As the nights in the Kalahari are extremely cold in July, some went to sleep with gloves, socks and even a wool cap.
  5. Hi all I have been looking at destinations for trip #6 to Africa. It is a photography-based trip, solo. I just had an interesting itinerary suggested that hits two desitantions I have not yet been-Madikwe, which I have been wanting to visit, and Mashatu in the Tuli block, which I am just learning about. (Including on these forums!) I know SA in late June is good for game and weather but I dont know much about Tuli and I need to turn around an answer quite quickly. Madikwe might be Bush House with a few photogs but Mashatu in Tuli would be solo with a private photog/guide who I know quite alot about. Any thoughts on these two places as a combo? Nice compliment? Very similar? And end of June timeframe for game in the Tuli area? And please correct me if I am wrong about Madikwe in June-I have always thought it was a good time to visit SA? Many thanks as usual. NJ
  6. An article published in South Africa's News 24 on 11 Nov trumpeted the success of anti poaching efforts in Madikwe Game Reserve. http://www.news24.com/Green/News/Tide-turns-in-war-against-rhino-poachers-20131111 I quote>>>> Since April, Madikwe rangers previously so under-equipped that they lacked even boots, have been undergoing military training overseen by a former British special forces soldier. They have been kitted out with state-of-the-art gear provided by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, a charity that supports anti-poaching initiatives on the African continent. The numbers suggest this strategy is working. "Since the training started in April, we have not lost a rhino that we know of," said Declan Hofmeyr, chief of operations at Madikwe. <<<<<< Not lost a rhino that we know of ... Should we assume then that you do not know about the black rhino killed by poachers in October about 300 metres from the Park HQ? Strange, everyone else seems to know about it Declan.
  7. Here's the link to Day 2 of my recent safari in Madikwe Game Reserve Wild Dogs, Lions and Cheetahs – Madikwe Safari Diary – Day 2
  8. Here's the link to the third day of my recent safari in Madikwe Game Reserve It’s all happening at the waterhole – Madikwe Safari Diary – Day 3

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