Sue Wal­lace is given VIP ac­cess to South Africa’s ex­tra­or­di­nary wildlife dur­ing an el­e­gant sa­fari ex­pe­ri­ence in Madikwe Game Re­serve.

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Destination South Africa -

I’m spy­ing on a herd of hefty ele­phants hav­ing the time of their lives in the muddy wa­ters of the shal­low Marico River, spray­ing them­selves with wa­ter one minute and rolling in the mud the next.

It’s all hap­pen­ing just out­side my suite at the Sanc­tu­ary Makanyane Sa­fari Lodge in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Re­serve. Af­ter a proper dous­ing, one lum­bers across the river and climbs the bank and just when I think he may well join me in the suite, our eyes meet and he re­turns to his mates.

It is one of those ‘pre­cious’ mo­ments, one you want to re­mem­ber al­ways, and many more are in store as I am in­tro­duced to the wild an­i­mal king­dom at my back door.

Crea­tures both big and small, from lofty gi­raffes, chunky rhi­nos and re­gal lions to tiny dung bee­tles that never stop work­ing, are sim­ply fas­ci­nat­ing to watch. The park is home to the Big Five – lion, leop­ard, ele­phant, buf­falo and rhino – and it doesn’t take long to spot them all, thanks to our guide Dar­ryn Mur­ray, who shares his knowl­edge with guests from all over the world. He loves the malaria-free Madikwe, which he says is dif­fer­ent from the larger Sabi Sabi and Kruger Na­tional Parks.

“It is smaller and there are more an­i­mals in con­cen­trated ar­eas – it is like

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