Back Seat: A Lux­ury Week­end Away with Lions

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Inside Issue11 - Words: KRISTIE OMAR | PHOTOGRAGH: MORUKURU FAM­ILY

Madikwe Game Re­serve in the North West Prov­ince is fast be­com­ing one of South Africa’s prime sa­fari des­ti­na­tions. As one of the largest game re­serves in South Africa, it of­fers Big 5 game view­ing in a malaria free zone. Since I hadn’t been up that side of the coun­try be­fore, I fig­ured I would take a week­end to visit.

abad choice of flight left me very lit­tle time to col­lect my hired car and race out of Johannesburg city be­fore the af­ter­noon peak traf­fic con­ges­tion. Slip­ping out just as the con­ges­tion started, I had 3 ½ hours easy drive on good tarred road to get to the western en­trance to Madikwe Game Re­serve at Won­der­boom gate. My late ar­rival meant I missed the af­ter­noon game drive and sun­downer drinks in the bush. All game lodges are booked on an allinclu­sive ba­sis, in­clud­ing all meals, two game drives per day and some lodges in­clude drinks. My pre-din­ner drinks were en­joyed on the bal­cony over­look­ing the open plains of wood­land and grass­land be­low. A pop­u­lar wa­ter­hole near the lodge kept us en­ter­tained as game strolled in to drink. A de­li­cious din­ner was en­joyed in a tra­di­tional boma, our din­ner ta­bles placed around a roar­ing bon fire un­der the clear African sky. The un­fenced camp meant that I re­quired an es­cort to my room by an armed game ranger. What lux­ury! I felt like a real lady! My lux­ury suite had its own pri­vate deck look­ing onto the open game area, a large colour­ful four-poster dou­ble bed draped with mos­quito net­ting, a beau­ti­ful bath­room and a great out­door shower. An early morn­ing wakeup call had me jump­ing up in ex­cite­ment. It had been years since I was last in the bushveld sur­rounded by game. I was look­ing for­ward to the open ve­hi­cle game drive. We en­joyed a hot cup of cof­fee and some de­li­cious snacks be­fore head­ing out on the drive. Roddy, our chatty game ranger, en­sured that we en­joyed a great gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with spot­tings of lion, ele­phant, hyena, black rhino, black backed jackal and nu­mer­ous very colour­ful bird species. We re­turned to the lodge to en­joy a full buf­fet break­fast at­trac­tively ar­ranged in the bar area at the swim­ming pool. As we sat down with our first serv­ing, a small herd of ele­phants strolled up to the swim­ming pool just a few me­tres away from us and started drink­ing out of the pool. Wow! What an en­counter! Who needs a game drive, when you can sit in comfort at the lodge and watch the game come to you? I de­cided to vary my stay in Madikwe by in­clud­ing two dif­fer­ent lodges to stay at. Af­ter break­fast at Im­podimo and a bit of time with the el­lies, I then made my way to Mateya Lodge, a 5-star ex­pe­ri­ence like no other! With im­mac­u­late at­ten­tion to de­tail, the lodge is in­tri­cately de­signed, has mag­nif­i­cent arts and crafts from all over Africa and of­fers 6-star ser­vice! Ex­quis­ite! On ar­rival, I was wel­comed with hot hand tow­els and an exotic cock­tail, my hired car driven to the car park and my lug­gage car­ried to my suite. I was in­vited in for lunch on the deck over­look­ing open plains and a wa­ter hole, where game roamed freely. Af­ter lunch, I was lead along a raised wooden walk­way to my pri­vate suite. It was more like a house! It was huge! The spa­cious, beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated bed­room opened up to my own pri­vate deck and plunge pool over­look­ing the open plains, where the game roamed. The bath­room, al­most the size of the bed­room, com­plete with all the lux­u­ries fit for a queen! Af­ter a quick nap in the comfort of my suite and a dip in my pri­vate plunge pool, I joined the rest of the guests at the lodge for High Tea. Aware of the five-course din­ner that awaited us in the evening and hav­ing al­ready en­joyed two large meals to­day, I strug­gled to taste some of the de­li­cious look­ing snacks at High Tea! The at­mos­phere was ig­nited with ex­cited chat­ter be­tween the game ranger, and the other guests. Equipped with binoc­u­lars, mam­mal and bird books and an ex­pe­ri­enced game ranger we set off in our open 4x4 sa­fari ve­hi­cle for our af­ter­noon drive through the re­serve. Our spot­tings were ex­cel­lent and in­cluded sight­ings of lions, ele­phants, a leop­ard on a kill, a small fam­ily of bat eared foxes and hyena. My 300-zoom lens al­lowed some good close-up pho­tos. Af­ter the drive, we all gath­ered for din­ner on the deck and shared our ex­cite­ment of our days sight­ings. The meal was ex­quis­ite and the com­pany was fun, drinks flowed un­til late in the evening.

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