My daughter has fallen in love with Africa and is still depressed at having to come back from what she describes as “the most amazing holiday I have ever been on! I have the most unbelievable memories of a truly magical place, with stunning sunsets and that African red dust”.
She hasn’t stopped talking about it since her return and certainly my attempts at producing decent meals have been a massive disappointment to her given the standards of culinary expertise she experienced at Makanyane. “We had the most AMAZING food – from wildebeast to curries to delicious salads and raspberry soufflé – you just can’t say no to any of the food – there was SO much of it, I didn’t stop eating the entire time I was there and all the staff made us feel like family – so welcoming and lovely – they are the kindest people EVER” she said and “I would love to go and live there”.
“OMG mum, the animals were incredible” she gushed, wide eyed “being able to spend time watching the elephants was fantastic and we saw the incredibly beautiful cheetahs and watched lion cubs playing and chasing each other. We also saw black mambas and other snakes, hippos where I had a near death experience when we practically bumped into one blocking our path and had to slowly walk backwards and into another room, we also saw buffalo, rhino, giraffes, crocodiles, zebra, impala, hyena, dung beetles….” (dung beetles??).
She was staying in one of South Africa’s premier game-viewing destinations, the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve which is home to the “Big 5” (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard), the rare African wild dog (called “Makanyane” in the Tswana language) as well as cheetah, giraffe, hyena, and a host of other game species. The birdlife is also spectacular, with over 360 bird species being found in the reserve. This beautiful and diverse African wilderness encompasses 75,000 hectares of widely varying terrain. From rocky peaks, across open grasslands, to verdant valleys, each area, with its own distinctive inhabitants and it provides visitors with an unforgettable safari experience. Ideally situated in South Africa’s North West Province, access to the reserve is simple and direct. They drove a mere 3.5 hour Johannesburg, but the alternative is to get a 45 minute flight there.
Here is a selection of her best photographs – I can hardly bear to post these, I’m so jealous, but oh well – she took some good snaps, I have to give her that:-
My best lion shots:-
My mum’s favourite animals:-
Established in 1991, Madikwe Game Reserve was developed as a three-way partnership between the South African government, local communities and the private sector. Prior to the establishment of the park, the region was used for cattle farming and agriculture. However over the decades, much of the vegetation had been extensively degraded and the outlook for the area was pessimistic. A land feasibility study was carried out and it was found that wildlife based tourism would be the most viable (both economically and environmentally) form of land use in the region.
The primary objective of Madikwe Game Reserve is to stimulate ecologically sustainable economic activity in the vicinity, thereby benefiting the local communities through employment and business opportunities. A direct result of this objective is the conservation of biodiversity in the area.
“The ROOMS were STUNNING, with the most beautiful views – this was our room”:-
“…they have eight suites hidden away in the forest surrounding the lodge and each is decorated so that they blend in perfectly with their surroundings AND for a night of your stay at Makanyane, (if you are able to forego the luxury of your suite), you get to spend a night in their Star View Sleep-out Hide – where you can sleep under the stars. You get the thrilling experience of falling asleep surrounded only by flickering lanterns and listening to a lullaby of roaring lions, crying jackals and laughing hyenas. The enclosed first level of the hide has a covered lounge area and a balcony. The upper level is open to the sky and it is here that soft, warm beds are made up under mosquito nets for a night spent beneath a canopy of a million stars.There is a really lovely pool we sat around during the day between drives and even a gym and a conference room!”
I understand how she feels, I’m just delighted she’s picked up the Africa bug (here’s one of the summary posts I wrote about my trip to Zambia where I write about stars and magic and the red dust). *Sigh.