Ever woken up to a strange sound? I woke up to an unfamiliar bird call this morning. It takes me a while when on an excursion to realize I am not in my home.
Last night I drifted off to sleep to an unfamiliar sound, too. Of spotted hyena whooping. Not a common sound, even in Southern Africa. I am fortunate to have this authentic and exclusive South African Wildlife experience on the Botswana border.
Location for that Authentic African Wildlife Experience
Madikwe Game Reserve spans South Africa’s North West Province. The Reserve is a rarity in that it was set up based on the most appropriate and sustainable land use for the area.
The 75000 hectares of bushveld, open woodlands and grasslands lies within 150km of electrified boundary fencing. In fact, Madikwe partly borders Botswana and is easily accessible by road or charter aircraft, specifically only 3 hours’ drive from Johannesburg,
Authentic African Wildlife
I was fortunate to view very many of Africa’s game up close in the foreground from my vehicle. This should not come as a surprise since Madikwe is of South Africa’s biggest game reserves. Moreover, it is home to all of the Big Five and 66 mammal species.
The leopard occurs naturally in Madikwe and is an absolute must-see to fully appreciate Africa’s spotted cat. Safari game drives form part and parcel of the accommodation package. Game drives open up the opportunity of up-close wild encounters.
They furthermore provide the added advantage of a professional game ranger as a guide. With 8000 reintroduced animals across 28 species, I was not disappointed with my game viewing.
Ornithologists are, furthermore, more than accommodated within Madikwe. The reserve proudly homes some 360 individual species of African and migrant birds. Birdwatchers who are fans of The Lion King’s Zazu are sure to see and hear the endearingly uptight red-billed hornbill. They will also almost certainly get to hear the distinct call of the kwêvoël, named so because of its cry.
Hearing the kwêvoël call always transports my mind to Jamie Uys’ movie, The Gods Must Be Crazy. A scene amusingly depicts the ever-vigilant go-away bird warning the targeted Kalahari prey of the hungry bushman’s presence. This is how the grey lourie earned its Afrikaans name.
The kwêvoël settles in a treetop above the hunter (of any species) and cries out ‘go away’ or ‘kwê’ to scatter unaware would-be prey.
The sounds of Africa come in many forms and the hearing will never fail to transport me to time and place. I guarantee you will likewise forever remember the sounds after time spent on an African safari.
Fun under the African Sun
The Marula trees, locally known as the Elephant tree or Marriage Tree, are readying themselves for their summer fruitage. As the marula fruit drops and the season progresses, the animals eagerly begin to feast.
The party starts if the fruit over-ripens or ferments under the African sun. This is when the animals verily become drunk on the abundance. The marula fruit-loving residents will not often leave the harvest uneaten long enough to drop or ferment. The scene is set for the resident baboons and elephants, but indeed not limited to just these enthusiastic partakers.
Visitors lucky enough to be guests of one of the Utopian lodges can count themselves uniquely fortunate. Another advantage is sipping South Africa’s Amarula cream liqueur at sunset, after a day among the Marula trees which bore the fruit. Besides Amarula, the benefits of enjoying time in a lodge are abundant in themselves.
Truly, an authentic and exclusive South African Wildlife experience of royal proportions in the African Wildlife Kingdom.