Friday, June 10, 2011

Etali Safari Lodge - Madikwe Game Reserve

Our drive to Etali Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve, took us 45 mins driving inside the park and saw us arrive at Etali in time for lunch, whilst sitting on the deck enjoying our lunch, there was some excitement as a herd of elephant came down to drink from the waterhole in front of the lodge, after Lunch we went back to our room to settle in. For the 2 nights we were at Etali Safari Lodge we stayed in 2 different unit types, the first unit was the family unit, these rooms are slightly smaller than the normal suites and are 2 rooms back to back, each with 2 single beds/1 double bed, a fireplace, bath, shower and separate toilet, they also share a large deck & pool. a few Pictures of the Family units are below.

High Tea at Etali is served at 15h00, we departed for our afternoon game drive in Madikwe Game Reserve at 15h30 and arrived back at the lodge at approximately 19h00. Our afternoon drive was quite eventful as we found a large herd of Elephant with so many babies (possibly even the same herd that was drinking in front of the lodge during Lunch & High Tea), Rhino, Giraffe, on the large open plains we saw herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala, Springbok and even a Kori Bustard flying off – the largest flying bird, then as we were driving through some rather dense bush we even spotted an extremely Elusive Leopard! We followed her into the bush as she seemed to be stalking some guinea fowl we could see off in the distance, but unfortunately we soon lost her as the bush became too thick to navigate, we were then back to the lodge for a wonderful boma dinner under the stars.

The next day wake up call was at 06h15 and we departed for our morning game drive with hot water bottles and blankets at 06h45 and were back at the lodge by 09h30/10h00, the morning saw us find a huge herd of Buffalo, the sound of them moving through the bush was amazing, as all you could hear were the branches snapping and the occasional call, also on our sightings list that morning were Rhino, Zebra, Springbok, Warthog etc. it was then back to Etali for a Continental followed by a full English breakfast, after we had eaten our fill we were shown to our new room where our bags were already waiting for us.

Our 2nd Night in Madikwe Game Reservewas spent in the normal Etali Suites which are larger and consist of 2 single beds/1 double bed, a little lounge area with a fireplace, tea & coffee facilities with a minibar, bath, indoor and outdoor showers, separate toilet, a private deck and plunge pool. below are a few Pictures of the Suites:

After our siesta & Lunch it was time for high tea and then back on the vehicle for our Afternoon Game Drive where we saw Zebra, Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu, Buffalo, Rhino, another Kori Bustard, Lion and then when it was dark we even came across a Brown Hyena who we watched for a while till he/she moved off into the thicker bush but the most memorable moment was when we came across the Elephant herd, they were quite relaxed, just munching their way through the bush and there were quite a few babies with the 2 large females we could see, as we drove past the one youngster stuck his ears out to try make himself look bigger, not knowing what to make of us or what to do, we then realised that he was actually trying to protect his younger sibling, the little elephant was so tiny that we hadn't seen her at first and it was so sweet to watch the little one testing out her surroundings as she still didn't have full dexterity of her trunk, eventually her older - although not much bigger - sibling moved her off back towards the safety of mom. It was then back to the lodge for a huge dinner and some sleep.

The Next morning we decided to have breakfast and get on the road early and I'm glad we did as our drive back from Madikwe to Johannesburg Airport took us approximately 5 hours from Camp to Airport as it takes a good 45 mins to reach the Gate from Etali Safari Lodge.

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