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Madikwe - Awesome time @ Buffalo Ridge with the family

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Hads

Family Safari in Madikwe

A small taste of what's to come - on our first Madikwe game drive.

 

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LarsS

Looking forward to read&see how you experienced Madikwe and Buffalo Ridge. You were there in january, weren't you?

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Atravelynn

The brown hyenas appear to be back!

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Hads

Hi @LarsS - we were there towards the end of January this year.

@Atravelynn we got lucky with the Brown Hyena.

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Hads

A couple of weeks after FIL (Father in law) and I came back from a self driving Safari in Kruger the entire family all went to Madikwe.

 

The entire family included my wife and 3 kids plus FIL & MIL (Mother in law).

Why Madikwe - the main reason is that it is Malaria free and the chances of seeing the Big 5 are good and other species I have not seen before are also possible, well like the Brown Hyena.

 

Which accommodation to choose - well that was a hard one. Obviously I was looking for a reasonable price and good reviews (Trip advisor was a good tool to help).

I contacted several lodges which came back to me with varying quotes.

 

The one in the end we chose was Buffalo Ridge for 3 reasons:

1. Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge is a Community-based Safari Lodge run by the local rural Balete people.  

2. They were running a special which the other lodges would not budge at 60% off normal prices - this was a significant saving.

3. Great reviews also of local guide Elliot - he was super and a pleasure to be with and very kid friendly.

 

We arrived on the 22 January and departed on the 25th January - before you ask yes it was HOT but coming from the hottest part of Australia we were used to the heat.

We also celebrated FIL's 80th birthday whilst at Madikwe.

 

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The pool got plenty of use and had nice views but we saw little game from the pool area.

 

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View from the pool down to the dining area.

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Mum and the kids enjoying the sunset on our first game drive.

 

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Buffalo ridge has a nice small lounge area t chill out and read.

 

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The accommodation was also very nice and a family of 5 fitted in nice and snugly :) 

 

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Map of Madikwe - we entered via Wonderboom gate.

 

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Another photo of our chalet.

 

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We were all very comfortable :) 

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Our super Guide Elliot - he was fantastic and great with the kids.

 

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The food was sensational - by the time we had dinner after the afternoon game drive the kids were pretty tired though.

 

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The staff I could not fault, they loved the kids and were super friendly and always checked on our needs.

 

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Edited by Hads

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Peter Connan

What a beautiful setting for a lodge!

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offshorebirder

Thanks for this trip report @Hads - I am looking forward to reading about your time in Madikwe.  

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LarsS

Happy to hear you appreciated the staff as well. I thought they were so friendly and attentive. It was really an extra highlight on our safari and a reason to come back.

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Hads

I must admit it was good to get into a nice Safari routine with the Family and be driven around by a guide.

How did the kids go on Safari - They were fantastic. They completed all 6 game drives ( except for the youngest who did 4 out of 6) and were never a problem getting them up around 5am in the morning.

Morning drives started about 6:15 am and we arrived back at the lodge around 9:30 am

Afternoon drives started about 4:00 pm and we arrived back at the lodge around 7:30 pm

The kids a diary of what we saw each drive, Elliot also was patient explaining things to the kids.

We shared our vehicle with a lovely couple from the Netherlands who were on Honeymoon.

 

Elliot was also mindful of photography and did his best to position you in the right spot regarding the direction of the sun.

We arrived at Madikwe around 12:30 pm via Wonderboom gate and got to Buffalo Ridge about 1:00 pm and had a very warm greeting from all the Staff.

They had lunch ready for us as well which was very nice.

We checked into our rooms and went for a swim before our first game drive.

 

Game Drive 1

We met our wonderful guide Elliot and the young Dutch couple and then off we went.

Elliot had heard across the radio about a Lion pride resting in the shade of a Marula tree. At Madikwe the guides are aloud to drive off-road.

The lions took abit of finding but we found them.

There was 2 lovely big Males and 3 ladies - it was hot so they were chilling out.

 

I-Phone photo

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I-Phone photo

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Lovely Lady

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Spot the prickle

 

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At Madikwe there is a 2-3 car maximum policy at a sighting, so after about 20 mins with the lions off we went I think in a SE direction past the airstrip scouting the edge of some open plains.

There was a scattering of plains games here and there.

We came across a nice herd of buffalo's with some calves.

 

Lilac Breasted Roller


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Dagga Boy

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Not long after the buffalo's we had our first ever sighting of a BROWN HYENA - "look Elliot what's that over there" this guy was on the move and in no mood for a photo shoot but we did have a nice sighting of him. We were all very excited - especially me , I explained to the kids how lucky we were to see the hyena.

 

 

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His ears seemed to have skin off, maybe some sort of disease?

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Spurfowls love to pose though!

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Edited by Hads

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Hads

Full of excitement we continued on our way and next up was an awesome sighting of a Rhino in the dusty light.

 

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Beautiful light.....

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Off to find a midden.

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Got it......

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You wouldn't believe it a few hundred metres away was Mum and Bub which enjoyed a mud bath.

How special to be sitting with 2 Rhino's having a Mudbath with the whole family - amazing stuff.

 

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This looks good.

 

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This is how you do it son :) 

 

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I wonder what she is thinking about.....

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I asked Elliot if they have experienced much poaching in Madikwe - of course his answer was Yes, he said they have even had poachers come in via parachute - these poachers must have some money behind them :(.

 

On a brighter note it was sun-downer time.

It does not get much better having an ice cold beer in the bush on Safari with all your loved ones watching the sunset.

Madikwe has welcomed us with open arms on our first day.

 

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Owl ID help please - Spotted eagle owl or Verreaux Eagle owl???

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Spotted Hyena closer to camp

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And that ends a sensational introduction to Madikwe, Thanks Elliot.

Edited by Hads

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pomkiwi

Enjoying the report - great to see the kids enjoying as much as the grown-ups. I always love the sense of excitement and wonder they often have.

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LarsS

A brown hyena, very exciting! Have never seen one before. Interesting close up of his ears too, you can really see the details of the damaged edges of his ears. Hopefully not a disease or at least not a bad one.

 

What age are you other two kids? I think 4/6 gamedrives for a 4yr old is quite impressive. A few people have asked me if you can go on safari with kids in the assumption it's impossible unless they're aged 12 or older. However I have no kids myself, so can't speak out of experience.

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Hads

Hi @LarsS - I have 3 kids aged 12, 9 and 7. The eldest 2 did every game drive and loved it.

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LarsS
1 hour ago, Hads said:

Hi @LarsS - I have 3 kids aged 12, 9 and 7. The eldest 2 did every game drive and loved it.

Oh sorry, I took the number of 4 from the amount of gamedrives the youngest went on as an age apparantly. Good to know that 9 can be a good age for children. We're thinking of a trip to SA with my wife's family, but wondered about the suitable age for our nieces (now 8 and 10). They're very keen on going, so we might not have to wait too long. Thanks!

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offshorebirder

@Hads - based on the yellow eyes and barred underparts, I would say it is a Spotted Eagle Owl.

 

Congrats on the Brown Hyena - that is a choice sighting!

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Big_Dog

Brown hyaena? Trip made if you ask me! Great shots of it - and of everything else too!

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Atravelynn

Lucky kids, and not just because of the brown hyena.  You had some mystic rhino (backlit) and some muddy rhino.

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Hads

@LarsS it is great to sow the seed early for the kids teaching about wildlife and conservation - 8_10 years of age is perfect.

@offshorebirder thanks very much for the Owl ID.

@Big_Dog & @Atravelynn the Brown Hyena was definitely a highlight for me and also seeing Rhino's up close and being in there presence is very special. In regards to the Brown Hyena "watch this space".

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TonyQ

Great to see the Brown Hyena and the Rhino. What a wonderful experience for your children (and the adults!)

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Hads

Game Drive 2:

We got our wake up call around 5am. I rallied the team to get up, the youngest struggled abit but we soon had him convinced.

A quick coffee and rusk in the dining area and then we were off.

The morning was beautiful with the Golden light - Elliot seemed to know where to stop for the best photo opportunities

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Zebra with foal drinking in the background

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Red Billed oxpecker circling

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Impala active early

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The light and dust make for nice photo's.

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We headed near a small hide and waterhole and Elliot found pride from yesterday with only 1 Male around.

First up this handsome guy.

 

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Notice the branding mark on this females hindquarters - Elliot mentioned that the lions get branded in Madikwe and there are between 40-50 lions in the reserve.

 

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Some type of Myna bird family maybe??

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Nothing like a good early morning stretch.

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Elliot called this lioness the "Old Girl"

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All the lions we saw looked very healthy.

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Lilac breasted roller

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Edited by Hads

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Hads

Apologies I got sidetracked and have not finished my Game drive 2 report.

After spending time with the Lion pride we headed off in the direction of another dam, their was a Boma close by as well where they hold newly introduced animals to the reserve.

Looking into the sun I saw a silhouette of a large animal sitting down on the embankment of the Dam - I asked Elliot to drive closer.

 

The king was overlooking his kingdom - what a stunning guy he is. Elliot called him "Indoda Indala" which translates to OLD MAN. He explained he also has another Male he hangs out with and their is rumblings things are not far from getting serious with the previous sightings of the other pride Males.

The "OLD MAN' seemed to be on high alert surveying the territory - WOW what a sighting.

 

The big guy looked in very good shape for an "OLD MAN".

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He looks like he has a real presence about him.

 

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Eye Contact buddy :o

 

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Lovely Black mane!

 

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After spending some quality time with the Old man we headed off and stopped for a bush coffee and rusk.

The kids loved the hot chocolate and all the adults enjoyed the "Elephant milk" ,Amarula and Coffee.

 

Continuing on with the Journey we came across 2 stunning Pale Chanting Goshawks.

 

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Zebra coming to drink.

 

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My Daughter took the next couple of Zebra pictures. She loves taking photo's as well.

 

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Red Hartebeest 

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Young Male Kudu relaxing close to camp.

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Edited by Hads

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Hads

Game Drive 3 - Started slowly then turned into a cracker :).

 

After a well earned rest and swim with the kids, a great lunch and some board games it was time for our afternoon game drive.

It was a touch overcast but very pleasant and we headed off in a new direction - the first hour or so was a little quiet but had nice plains game and birds.

I need some help with Bird ID please - Elliot did tell me but I have forgotten.

Cape Turtle Dove

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Shaft Tailed Whydah ??

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2 Lovely Male Kudu's

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Giraffe family are always nice to see.

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Gnu which way your heading???

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Purple Roller?

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I have no idea on this bird........

 

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Edited by Hads

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Hads

Game drive 3 cont.....

Elliot got a radio call that 2 Male Cheetah have been spotted and would we like to go? Well not a hard question but he said they are quite a distance away and we can not dawdle along.

Well we headed off to search for the sleek cats, we passed a White Rhino on the side of the road - not even a photo shot.... No time for that...... It was all happening at once.

 

However he next sighting was sensational another Brown Hyena - he was also on the move but we got some OK shots before he went into thick grass. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

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Oh no he's gone

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Wait he's back out.......

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About 1km passed the Hyena we had a Rhino Road block :)  - we had come for cheetah

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They slowly moved off.

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 We finally arrived at the Cheetah in a beautiful open plains area - they were chilling out observing the surroundings. Apologies abit of Cheetah overload coming up!!

Another vehicle left and we got in close for some wonderful time with the cats.

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Slowly starting to get active.

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What's that over yonder.....

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mmmm

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Check the running gear out.......

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Beautiful brown eyes

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Nice sharp little teeth

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Time for a quick groom session

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Edited by Hads

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Hads

We enjoyed probably 20-30 mins with these beautiful boys.

They slowly got up and headed towards a Zebra family with foals.

 

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Lets play dead...

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Whats that..

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Maybe its time to move on

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Stretch the lower back first.

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Thats better

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This way bro

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Over there .......

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Oh bugger it I'm not ready for a run yet.....

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The light was starting to get dark

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But we had another pleasant surprise............Mr White

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Edited by Hads

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Hads

We still had to have our sundowner before it got too dark BUT there was one more awesome surprise to come...

 

Whats that over there???????

 

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I could not believe it - less than 5 minutes after leaving the 2 Cheetah brothers was MR BROWN - our 3rd for the trip......... Apologies again about the photo quality...Fading light and novice photographers.

 

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and off he goes......... :) 

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We then went and thoroughly enjoyed a nice cold beer and a snack - WOW what an amazing afternoon game drive. 

 

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Edited by Hads

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