Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On safari at Madikwe ~ part 1

Since we had such a long weekend, with lots of activities, game drives and other adventures I will write this posting in 2 days. So come back tomorrow for the other half ;-)
We drove to Madikwe game reserve, it is about 3 1/2 hour drive from Johannesburg, so easy to do. When we arrived at this beautiful lodge the people of Thakadu River Camp were waiting for us in the parking lot to welcome us. They all were so friendly and introduced themselves to us. You could tell from that moment, that each person working there was well intended and to give you the greatest time on earth! So nice!!

After a welcome drink and some more meeting staff, we were brought to our tent. The tents are as beautiful as on the website, just amazing! Sleeping in this georgous tents with huge deck overlooking the Marico river with little monkeys playing in the trees just above where we are sitting! I couldn't imagine having a nicer lodge than this. We had time to relax, enjoy the surroundings and before we knew it we were off ot our first game drive.
It started off quite good, immediately we saw an old giraffe right next to our jeep, he was so relaxed eating from the trees and just giving us the opportunity to take some close-ups. Good start, what we didn't know was that this would be a very adventurous drive!
We came about a spot where there were 3 lioness's laying in the shade, since we couldn't see much Tsolo our ranger took us more into the bush to see if we could find a spot where we could come closer to the 3 lioness. This is officially not aloud but he did it anyway...lucky for us. We came really close and took some great pictures, and then when we drove back we had to back up....the jeep got stuck in the bush, we were trying and trying to get out of there and the jeep almost tilted over while we were backing up. Everybody sat so still in this jeep hoping and praying we wouldn't flip over, because these lioness's were ready to eat us!! Just as we managed to get out of there, the lioness's started walking towards us but really relaxed and started drinking from the river that was there. We even had some more amazing shots of the 3 drinking water, while we were right there. This is a moment that not many people see on a game drive, so Tsolo our ranger did a very good job here!!

We drove a bit further and saw some more giraffes walking on the side, this was a young female close up to us. Look at these eyelashes, that's how you recognize, the lashes and the little bit more hair around the horns. The lighter the spots the younger they are. We learned a lot about all the animals!

We saw some zebra's, impalas, many magnificent birds, which we called with this special bird caller. One of the other guests on the jeep had this little device that he could play the bird sounds with. So whenever we saw a bird, he would call it with his device. Amazing to see how the birds were looking like: 'Where is this new bird?' They would look around and tjirp or call back, really neat device, great to have somebody on your drive with a bird caller, we saw and HEARD such a great birds that way!

After a while it was time for a sundowner, Tsolo our ranger came out with beer, wine, amarulla's (an African liqueur) gin and tonics and some snacks like nuts, dried fruit and Biltong a dried meat, like beef jerky but more delicious and it can be made from beef but also game (ostrich or kudu).
The 2 other couples we met at our game drive turned out to be really great people so we decided to eat dinner together and for the rest of the stay we sat with them and had a great time!

After the sun got down we drove back and the staff of Thakadu was waiting for us with a fresh towel and some sherry to chuck back before we started our 4-course dinner. What a first day, this promised to be a really grand weekend!! The girls were brought to bed after their kiddy dinner by one of the staff, Charmaine, she would be the girl's baby sitter for the weekend and we enjoyed our divine dinner and chatted with our new made friends Debbi, Ross, Ashley and David. What a wonderful time we had on our first day.

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