vanacus

1st Safari - 1st Trip Report - Madikwe, South Africa

21 posts in this topic

1st Safari - 1st Trip Report - Madikwe

I've been a lurker on SafariTalk for months, in perperation for our
trip to S.Africa, and wanted to give back to the community who have
informed, taught and inspired. The main purpose of our trip was to
visit a good friend who has recently taken a job in Johannasburg. For
the short amount of time we had for a safari our friends in the know
recommended we visit Madikwe for it's proximity to Joburg and
abundance of game. I'm a bit embarassed to write a trip report for a 2
day safari (as I've read so many amazing multi-week, multi-country
reports), but I'm hoping someone will find my report useful none the
less.

We make the 4 hour drive from Joburg to Madikwe. We opt-ed for the
cheapest lodging at the reserve which turned out to be the Mosethla
Bush Camp. This turned out to be a wonderful choice! They don't have
electricity or running water but we didn't mind one bit. The service
was warm and efficient and camp charming.

After a simple lunch we were off on our first game drive. There where
6 people in our land rover (3 couples) which was perfect since that
allowed an empty seat for a bag/blankets. Prior to our safari, my wife
and I tried to keep our expectation in check. Surely you aren't going
to see everything you dreamed of seeing. Especially in a smaller game
reserve. Especially in 2 days. But within the first half hour Johnny,
our guide, located a pride of 12 lions! 2 moma's and 10 young adults.

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One of the young females walked right towards me and plobbted down 10
feet from me. Absolutely amazing!

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And this young handsome guy.

 

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They were all just lying around and playing. One of them had to barf,
just like our cat at home. Johnny gets a call on the radio, turns to
us and says that we are going to high tail it south so hang on. Word
is there are 4 cheetahs and this will probably be our only chance to
see them.

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They lounge around for a bit until they spot a kudu. Now they are up
and we are right with them. They go into formation and communicate
with these weird clucking sounds (i'm sure I'm not describing it
correctly, but it's a sound you don't expect to hear from a predator).
It was an odd seen, 4 cheetahs in formation slowly stalking it's prey
and we in a big ass green land rover are right there with them! Surely
the kudu would see us!

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other sightings:

 

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The sun sets and the temperature dips quickly. I distinctly remember
telling my wife, "No honey I don't need a blanket. Just bring one for
yourself.". Tip: bring the blanket! I loved the night drive. The
suspense and surprise when you find something with the spotlight was
wonderful.

We spot this owl:

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We come up on a few elephants at a watering hole. The interesting part
was there was a lioness waiting in the wings for her turn to drink.
She waits patently until the elephants clear. How polite!

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...to be continued (day 2)

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Great start! Love the cheetah formation shot, that one has an almost surreal quality.

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Goes on a great safari.

Comes back with jaw dropping images.

Is embarrassed because it was a short safari.

 

 

You can pick 2 from the 3 above, vanacus! I suggest we drop that 3rd one, as it doesn't quite compute.

 

Welcome to the club.

Looking forward to more Madikwe mayhem.

 

J.

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Welcome to Safaritalk!

 

Your 'floating' owl photo is a stunning image.

 

Thanks for the TR and fantastic photos, looking forward to more.

 

 

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Welcome@@vanacus. An amazing first day on safari! Don't worry about the duration of your safari - 2 day trips usually lead to multi-week and multi-country safaris :)

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Great start!

 

I'm curious about Madikwe, as it's supposed to be a good place for wild dogs (my favourite). Looking forward to day 2- hope you saw some! Did you drive yourself there?

 

I don't think I've seen lions barfing, but my cats do it all the time- eat grass, barf on carpet.

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Posted (edited)

Vanacas, welcome to Safaritalk and thank you for posting your trip report. What a great first day of your first safari (or first day of any Safari)! Great photos - especially of the cheetah opening wide and saying "ahhh". I remember the sheer joy of seeing lions in the wild for the first time - it was really that "wow, I'm really in Africa" feeling - so cool! I hope that you get to take advantage of your friend being in Joburg and return.

Edited by PT123
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Welcome indeed @@vanacus . Not many trip reports from Madikwe: look forward to reading more and seeing the photos. What was the price per person for the safari?

 

Thanks, Matt

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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome.

 

@Matt, it was about $200. I'll post a picture of our hut later today.

 

@@PT123, you are absolutely right! When we turned the corner and I the lions in the wild for the first time in my life ... my wife and I just turned to each other with our jaws on the ground!

 

@stokelygirl, Mosethla provided 2 drives a day for us. We did drive from the parks front gate to the camp. Which took around an hour, so I'll count that as a self drive. It was so fun to be sitting in our rental VW and drive up on an elephant!

 

@@africapurohit, we have already started talking about bringing our single 70 year-old mothers on safari next year. They would absolutely love it!

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Well done and welcome to ST, superb photographs, wait till you see my efforts then you will know how good yours are. I think writing a trip report just makes the safari come to life again, and they are good to read over and over if you feel the need, which I do regularly! Looking forward to part 2. When are you going again?

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Hello All,

Thanks for following along.

All our family and friends were eagerly awaiting postings of pictures
on Facebook; as I'm sure this is the case for everyone on this forum.
We decided to have a little fun with this and planned a little photo
shoot. We posted these 2 photos with tongue and cheek captions:

"What a stunningly graceful AND awkward animal. I've only seen
giraffes in captivity, so to see one in the wild; peaking it's head
over the trees and roaming freely was such a treat. Little known fact
(ok, at least to me). Giraffes prefer to be solitary."

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"I warned Alex that there was a chance we would see this. And what do
you know, on our very first drive we do. A vicious lion kill of a
zebra. Poor zebra never had a chance. Nature is so beautiful and
equally brutal. Such is the circle of life."

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We let these pics marinate for a few days online before posting the real pics.



Onward! We get back from our night drive to we warming greeted by one
of the camps owners. We have a hearty beef stew for dinner along with
pleasent conversation with other campers. What I found really
enjoyable was we where the only 2 Americans. There where Dutch,
English, Croatian, Tanazian and of course S. Africians. I'm not very
worldly, so I got a kick out of it. Did you know EU folks get 35
vacation days!!! And if you get sick while you are on vacation they
will credit you for it!! After dinner I take a shot of our hut:

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Another charming attribute about staying at the BushCamp was bed pans.
Since the camp isn't fenced they prefer you don't walk to the
bathrooms. It was different, and fun. I joked that we should get one
when we get home.

Wake up call is at 5:30 and we hit the road by 6am. We drive along for
a bit until we hit an expansive grassy area. Plains more then bush.
There are a gathering of wildebeast on one end and impala on the
other. We spot a lioness and her 2 clubs strolling through.

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We both agreed that what happends next was our favorite sighting of
the safari. Our guide spots a male lion (one of only 2 in the park, we
hear) by the tree line. He is but a dot with the naked eye but already
everyone knows he's there. He stands there for a few moments then
saunters across the field (right towards us). He couldn't have walked
any slower! Everyone else starts to get nervous and the sea basicly
parts. The King makes his entrance! It was majestic.

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Other sightings:

 

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...to be continued

 

 

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Those low DOF shots are magical!

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The inflatable wildlife made me laugh :lol: - you could make a children's book.

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Set the bar pretty high for a two day safari, lovely photos and I like your sense of humour with the plastic inflatables.

 

Oh, and welcome to Safaritalk. :)

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Love the photos and the inflatable ones with their descriptions are hilarious! I've been interested in Madikwe too - one reason being the wild dogs, as mentioned by @@stokeygirl mentioned - interested to hear if you saw any also. The photo at night with the stars is so beautiful! And the lilac-breasted roller one is gorgeous. Welcome!

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Love your pictures!

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What an action packed couple of days with some lovely images. I have now put this camp on my possible 3 to 4 day respite while working in SA in a couple of weeks. Thank you for sharing this.

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I'm a bit late for the welcoming committee, but hey, welcome anyway! Great report, excellent pictures - thanks for sharing! Madikwe is obviously well worth a visit :)

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Nothing wrong with a 2-day report. I did a 3-hour tour report once. And Madikwe is a destination I want to find out more about.

 

You get the comedian award for the blowup toys. Absolutely hilarious! :lol: You audience anticipating your reports from the bush must have cracked up. How exciting to see 4 cheetah. Maybe that means there will be more in the future. Great photos in your 2 days and there is more yet to come. Hopefully you could cozy up with your wife and share the blanket on the cold night drive in romantic safari fashion.

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Any brown hyena sightings or info from your Madikwe stay?

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~ @@vanacus

 

What superb safari photographs!

Reading your trip report, your photos captured my full attention — BEAUTIFUL !!!

It was very nice of you to have shared this Madikwe information on Safaritalk.

Thank you!

Tom K.

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