Madikwe is the fourth largest game reserve made up of 75000 hectares (about 185000 acres)of bush. The reserve has all of the "big five" which are elephants, rhinos, cape buffalo, lions and leopards plus wild dog and cheetahs which are sometimes added to the big five to make up the big seven. With the reserves we have visited, we have been able to see all of the seven except the leopard. Madikwe also has hundreds of species of beautiful birds--they say about 340 species. We were lucky to be in a cabin that overlooked a small watering hole where the birds would congregate in masses. During a two night stay, we were able to go on four long game drives and saw many, many animals.
We saw the lions that we were hoping to see--a male and a female at different times. We weren't able to see a leopard, but they are so evasive that some people who have been to many game reserves have never seen one. Another guide had spotted a small female leopard not far from where we were but she had just made a kill and every time a vehicle would get near her, she would run, leaving her meal. They don't like to interfere with the feeding of the animals, so no one else approached. We were lucky enough, though, to watch four cheetahs for about half an hour who didn't seem to be disturbed by our presence at all. In fact, as you can see they very obligingly posed for us.
Inside--Frank is relaxing
The bathroom sink--a regular toilet inside, but flushed with a bucket.
The luxury shower--water was heated in a "donkey boiler."
A nice common area
Male lion--he had been injured by a competing male so he allowed the vehicle to get pretty close
A herd of about 100 water buffalo came to drink quickly and then disappeared back into the bush
Hard to tell the scale on this little guy. He's about seven, which is still small for an elephant--they grow slowly. We saw a really small one, but his mama wasn't allowing any photo ops.
The four cheetahs busy marking territory that allowed us to photograph for quite a while
We saw quite a few rhinos--white rhinos meaning wide mouth rhinos that graze rather than browse like the black rhinos (they are all actually the same gray color)
A mama rhino with an adolescent and a baby
A mama lion who was out hunting; she was waiting quietly in the grass for an unsuspecting victim.
And us on one of the morning game drives.
A lilac breasted roller--probably one of the prettiest birds anywhere.
I forget what these are, but they were so colorful and cute
They were several different colors--blue, yellow, red, violet.
And there were lots of them, probably 50 or so in the trees at a time. They all landed,
dropped and flew away together.
This shrike has an amazingly red breast.
A shot with a hornbill and a shrike in the tree at the same time.