Sunday, September 09, 2007

Magnificent Madikwe

Leaving Botswana behind with great memories, we crossed the border to S. Africa and took a short 45 minute drive to the Madikwe Game Reserve where we spent 3 nights at the Tuningi Safari Lodge. It was breathtaking. When the game warden asked our group what we wanted to see – we replied, “The Big 5” (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Cape Buffalo) – and by the time we left, we had seen all of them, plus so much more. The chalets were beautiful with outdoor showers, a wrap around deck, and a bedroom worthy of a movie set.

Since there were less than 18 guests, we had a chance to meet interesting people from all over the world as well as get to know the warm and friendly staff. On the afternoon drives, we would stop to watch the sun set, while having drinks and appetizers - gin and tonics have never tasted so good! In the morning, our guide would make coffee and serve freshly made muffins – we were totally spoiled and loved every minute of it.

The highlight though, was when we decided to skip the afternoon drive and relax. Roger was having a snooze and I had just had a shower and was sitting on the deck in a robe. All of a sudden I saw 2 elephants come by – I ran to tell Roger and by the time we got on the deck again, there were more than 20! We jumped into our clothes and raced down to the watering hole by the lodge where the elephants drank and rolled in the mud. Then for the next 45 minutes we were able to stay with them as they trekked to another part of the lodge where they actually drank from a swimming pool! The elephants looked like vacuum cleaners and it was incredible to see them inhale the water and interact with other members of their herd.

One other thing. After taking 500+ photos over our week in the bush, I promise never to laugh at tourists who stop on the side of the road in Banff to take pictures of bears, deer and mountain sheep!

Our last night's dinner was THE most romantic dinner we've ever had. Tables for all the guests were set up in a U-shape under a giant fig tree that was lit with hurricane lanterns. Only candlelight was used, and it was so amazing. Blankets were given to guests, but there was a roaring fire to keep us warm. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know people from all over the world and share in our experiences. It was a perfect end to our first safari at Tuningi. If you haven't already, check out their website - it truly shows what the lodge is like!

After 3 nights, we flew in a small charter plane to Johannesburg, and then took a flight to Cape Town to finish off the last leg of our holiday.


Anonymous said...

The pictures are great!


Anonymous said...

Wow your pictures are amazing. I can't believe all the wild animals you got to see. Those pictures look like they are from a nature album.
Miss you!
Mary-Lou :-)