Few tugs to Africa are as powerful as the call of the wild. This was reinforced for us a year ago when Dave and I documented a safari for Hills of Africa Travel, an extraordinary USA-based team offering customized African safari tours. Every one of their North American group was visiting this continent for the first time. All were enraptured, especially by the Madikwe Game Reserve. At 75,000 malaria free hectares, this is one of South Africa’s largest and most sought after safari destinations. It borders on Botswana, about four hours’ drive from Johannesburg. Or a shorter hop by charter plane:
That phenomenal trip led to another more recently. It’s impossible to convey the full extent of the magic with only a few photo’s, but I’ll share a taste, starting with an early morning pic at one of the dams:
This was the scene of an attempted lion kill last year. It was wonderful to encounter the same pride, with the cubs growing up:
Here are a few more views through Dave’s lens:
African wild dogs are a Madikwe specialty, since the first six were introduced in 1994. These colourful carnivores whose scientific name means “painted wolf”, flourish on the reserve. Sadly, this is isolated good news for a severely endangered species. We were treated to some spectacular sightings of them – engaging in their chittering greeting ceremony, as well as on the hunt.
Another highlight was the family of jackal pups frolicking near their den. This is one of them eyeing us out:
Although not endangered, jackals are widely misunderstood and mistreated, particularly in response to their raids on livestock. Here’s a pic of Rob Harrison-White recording them:
Exploring the bushveld typically involves soul searching – contemplation of its peace, juxtaposed with nature’s wild ways. Our human involvement adds another, complex dimension. One thing seems certain, though: no visitor ever leaves untouched. At Madikwe, philosophies tend to flow around languid sundowners, followed by restful sleep in luxurious suites:
If African safaris are your thing, then remember Madikwe. It’s a simply unique travel treat!