IN AWE OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Sue Wallace is given VIP access to South Africa’s extraordinary wildlife during an elegant safari experience in Madikwe Game Reserve.
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