Trip Report: Madikwe last minute safari

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Before I delve into the actual report, here’s my conversation with Jono which shows just how ‘last minute’ this safari to Nkurru Game Lodge was…

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Right, now for the good stuff!

We arrived at Nkurru Game Lodge on Friday 24 Oct and after being greeted by the friendliest staff on the planet, we were soon settled in and ready for action.

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Just another dazzle of zebras.

Madikwe was still very dry and in need of a heavy rain, which allowed for some good sightings throughout the trip as most of the game congregated around the waterholes. With Grant Marcus, our very likable and knowledgeable guide, in the drivers seat, we felt in safe hands.

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Tlou Dam is always a highlight.

Days one and two treated us to some amazing elephant and lion photo opportunities around Tlou Dam, as well as an unreal leopard sighting from our balcony at the lodge’s waterhole  just after dinner.

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This small pride made light work of their wildebeest kill.

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A close encounter with the world’s largest land mammal  is always special.

One of the major highlights we shared was being able to spend time with a pair of Lilac-breasted Rollers feeding their young in a hollow in an old Leadwood tree. Every few minutes, the parents would disappear into the bush only to return with another unfortunate Red Roman (which are in abundance this time of year).

Being able to find a comfortable spot in the shade of the vehicle while we waited for mom and dad to play Mr. Delivery was priceless.

I really hope they use the same nest next year.

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The wildlife paparazzi.

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Grant got us in the best possible position to capture the adults as they fed their chicks.

The last three days provided some of the most amazing big cat experiences I’ve witnessed.

Grant’s tracking abilities were put to the test as he tried to locate a pair of mating lions who had been spotted earlier that day. After following their spoor for a few minutes on foot, they finally popped out of the long grass only a few meters from where he was standing. The next two hours were followed by a lot of growling, snarling, biting, awkward moments and great images.

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This good looking boy was looking over at his brother who was nearby, as if to say “back off, she’s mine”.

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Grant cracks a nervous smile after successfully finding the cats.

Leopard are relatively common around the reserve, but finding this good-looking male is particularly rewarding. Samson, Madikwe’s most relaxed male ‘spotty’ put on a fantastic show for two days.

We found him relaxing in an enormous Marula tree with an Impala carcass dangling on a nearby branch on Sunday evening, only to find him again in the same tree the following morning confronting a Brown Hyena who was passing through.

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Samson in all his glory.

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A ‘Spotty’ and ‘Brownie’ interaction.

There is nothing like experiencing the bush on foot. Here, we are tracking a pack of Wild Dogs that were spotted around the lodge a few hours earlier. Although we didn’t find them in the end, we had a blast getting to know the surroundings of the lodge.

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It’s all about the small things whilst on foot.

The Lodge

If ever there was a masterpiece of a lodge it would be this one. Even Mr Buffey describes it as his “happy place”. Boasting scenic views and a very tranquil environment, what more could you ask for? Run by Grant and his wife, Monique, you can be sure that every dietary and comfort requirement you have will be taken care of.

The game viewing doesn’t stop when back at camp. Each room has a stunning view of the waterhole where we managed to tick off a wide variety of wildlife coming down to drink, including  four of the Big Five.

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Best seat in the house.

The guide

As field guides go, this man is one of the best. Relaxed, knowledgeable and accommodating, Grant and his wife have lived in the reserve for over ten years and it really shows. Being a wildlife photographer himself, he knows what we expect and he’ll try his utmost to get us there. Kudos to you, Sir!

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Tracking the dogs.

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Madikwe day spa.

To sum it all up, after getting to experience what the lodge had to offer, I really do feel like we’ve chosen the right location to play host to our new product offering that we will be launching next year.

Big shout out to ‘The Crew’- Ben, Charles, Margaruitte, Bessie and Claire, thanks for the memorable trip and we hope to see you again next year!

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The crew.

Keep your eyes glued to our blog and our 2015 calender for more info regarding this exciting new trip!

Everyone’s images:

Ben

Charles

Margaruitte

 

Claire

Grant

 

Until next time!

Chad Wright

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