„This is like watching National Geographic”. That was one if the first sentences our guide Dennis said on the evening game drive through Madikwe Wildlife Reserve.
We were watching a lioness sitting in the dust. It was quite obvious that she was looking at something but we could not see what had caught her attention. But one second later she started a sprint, we heard hectic screams and then we saw that she hunted down a warthog. Everything went extremely fast and the warthog seemed like a little snack for tea time for the lioness. I had never before witnessed a lion hunting live but in Madikwe everything was possible. 5 minutes later another warthog got killed by a second lion at exactly the same spot. It felt like watching a lions “drive in” at a Burger Restaurant.
Madikwe lies close to the Botswana/South Africa Border and in a certain way felt like the most African wildlife reserve on this trip. You are surrounded by the well known red soil of Africa, which leaves you immediately with a melancholic and romantic state of mind.
The Thakadu River Camp is like an oasis in the bush. The main building is absolutely fantastic. The pool area is located with an excellent view on the river bed just like all the luxury tents. When you arrive at a place like this, your brain is really busy trying to process all the impressions and an elephant herd of about 30 animals with a huge number of babies about 10 meters away doesn’t make this easier. The tents were luxurious and the view on the river was exquisite. We had elephant visitors on a regular basis but other visitors came by more often. We got a hint concerning this fact during lunch when an Austrian girl rushed in and screamed “ Tante Lisl, wir hob’n a Affen im Zimmer” which means “Aunt Elisabeth, we have is a monkey in our tent”. I almost choked on a potato. The whole restaurant bubbled over with laughter.
Madikwe is pure magic. The animal herds are amazing to watch. They have several cool waterholes where you can just watch and relax. That is what we did one evening. We were standing at a one of these waterholes watching several white rhinos. At one moment we heard horrible sounds coming from the bush. Dennis got really nervous and did not stop asking “Are you done with taking pictures?” When everybody was ready, he just hit the gas and then we knew what the sound was.
A pack of lions took a buffalo down and it was screaming like hell while one lion tried to suffocate the buffalo and the other lion started feeding on it by opening the animal alive from behind.
A kiss of death.
On the same day we saw a pack of cheetahs with a waterbuck kill and several other lions with kill. It felt like wonderland for predators.
Madikwe was very different from all the other nature reserves but the combination of cruel and bloody wildlife mixed with the rough landscape and the luxury accommodation made it an excellent end of this South Africa trip.
Unfortunately this is the last part of Katja's review which we hope you enjoyed as much as we did. I guess we would have to wait for her next holiday with us for more spectacular pictures paired with entertaining texts...
Once more a very big Thank You!