My First Madikwe Experience

Marlon duToit All Authors, Marlon 2 Comments

There’s very little that compares to that FIRST experience, that initial encounter with a new place.

The new smells, sights and the entire atmosphere all merge into a beautiful flavour, a taste unique to Madikwe. This taste is what I recall when I think back to my first encounter.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

 

Whenever I travel to a new destination, I do so without a preconceived idea, with any expectation. If you go anywhere with massive unreal expectations (often the norm nowadays), you will be thoroughly disappointed.

Madikwe offered a pleasant change. It was refreshing to experience a place so wild, yet so close to the busy business capital of South Africa. Only four hours away from Johannesburg, I now can see why it has always proved so popular!

Not much rain has fallen this year, and Madikwe forms a part of the great Kalahari Desert. The veld was dry dust would flood the sky at any sign of disturbance. This is great for wildlife photographers, dust and soft sunlight sets the stage for spectacular imagary. For the local wildlife this is slightly alarming. The rainy season however is not done just yet, and I am sure the earth will be soaked by life-giving rain before the on set of the approaching dry season.

I hosted a Wild Eye Madikwe Bootcamp with Penny Robartes.

The nature of this safari is great because a great deal of time was spent on getting the basics right. Penny took charge and helped guests with everything from Lightroom imports to getting the shot right in the field! Together we challenged creativity in the field, and all in all everyone enjoyed it tremendously!

I wanted to share a few images with you captured on my 5 day bootcamp safari.

 

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

Our first afternoon out was incredible and well rewarded with a stunning sunset, and elephants drinking from a scenic waterhole.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

The sun setting as a backdrop at this waterhole is phenomenal, allowing you incredibly moody photographic opportunities.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

With a sun set like this, who can ever complain? Pure magic from Madikwe!

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

We spent a quality morning with a coalition of 4 male cheetah’s. They provided some great entertainment but with that said, gave us a hard time to capture great shots of them. Here I used a 1.4x converter on my 400 f/2.8, eventually photographing at 560mm. This allowed me to isolate them beautifully!

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

At some point during our encounter with the coalition of 4 cheetahs, something grabbed their attention, allowing for a great image of 3 of them.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

To capture a great moody images with two of Africa’s largest land mammals is a great privilege.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

An elephant dusting itself during the last light of day made for a great photographic setting.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

The waterhole right in front of the lodge made for great photo opportunities while sipping away at your ice-cold drink.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

General game was plentiful. It is not always about the lions and cheetahs, but with a little patience you can capture great images of often-seen wildlife.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

The light on this lion was rather harsh, but the stunning red soils grabbed my attention!

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

As Madikwe heats up elephant flock to any source of water. Here, the dam wall made for the perfect setting as elephants gathered below a dead Leadwood.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

Another image captured from the comfort of the lodge itself. The waterhole not twenty meters from the pool deck proved rather busy as wave after wave of elephant herd moved in for a drink during the midday hours.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

On our last afternoon we went in search of great moody conditions. I think we found what we were looking for.

madikwe, marlon du toit, wild eye, photo safari, south africa

The evenings in camp are very special. We saw Black and White rhino, plenty elephant, buffalo and even leopard coming down for a drink.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share in my Madikwe experience.

I will be back there this coming weekend and sincerely look forward to experiencing it all over again, and more.

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About the Author

Marlon duToit

Passion, enthusiasm and an unquenchable thirst to explore and introduce you to our natural world’s wildlife perfectly sums up my ambitions. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Through my African adventures I kept my photographic passion alive. Behind a camera aimed at a lion or a leopard is where I am most at home, my heart skipping a beat at the mere thought of it. My intention has never been solely for recognition but for the plight of what’s left of our natural recourses. Using my love and understanding of wildlife I am able to convey to the viewer more than an image or a fleeting moment. I aim to tell a story, to bring that moment alive to you and to capture your heart through it.

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