South Africa, Part Two: Madikwe Game Reserve

Time for our Africa recap part two! Our time in Madikwe reserve. We went back and forth for a while about where to do our safari, and ended up and Madikwe as a recommendation from the travel agency we used, and honestly, I don't think we could have made a better decision. We talked to quite a lot of people and heard about multiple safari experiences, and I truly think that we could not have made a better decision for what we wanted. The things that were most important to us? One: Seeing lots of animals, close up, in their natural environment. Two: Staying somewhere NICE. Three: Not having to worry about finding the animals ourselves, and learning something in the process. Four: Just having a good time. 

As a little side note, we only had ONE thing go wrong on this trip.... me getting bitten by a CRAZY roided up spider. It started as a quarter sized bite on my foot that slowly expanded to take up my ENTIRE foot and then a rash over basically my entire body. Luckily it wasn't too too bad until two days before we left, but once I googled "spider bite South Africa" in my down time and read about amputation and skin grafts I started to get a SMIDGE worried. I also have the craziest skin ever (allergic reactions to the sun and cold among other things) so I decided to not think too much about it until I got home. So I went strait to my doctor after getting off the plane (where I needed to hide my ailment to avoid being thrown into ebola quarantine), who made a point not to touch me and looked up rashes on the CDC website which was UBER comforting. Then he proceeded to bring in two other doctors to look at the medical weido, but they decided it was no biggie, gave me some meds and I was on my way. So that's all cleared up now which is GREAT. Compared to other things that could go wrong when traveling, I'm ok with how it all played out! OK.... now on to all the fun fun details!

One of the awesome things about Madikwe is that it is a reserve with ONLY guided tours from the lodges within  the reserve. Which means that its organized and well run, only three cars are allowed at a sighting at a time, which means you get VERY close and because all the cars are in contact with each other, you are pretty much guaranteed to see something amazing. Our drivers were truly amazing, they take you around, telling you all sorts of interesting things, and even take some time out of your drive to feed you and ply you with alcohol if you want it! We did two drives a day, 3 hours or so each, one early in the morning, and one in the evening (which turns into a night drive for the last hour). We saw EVERYTHING we wanted to, as you can see from the photos, plus some really crazy things we never would have expected. For instance: A pride of lions, eating a pregnant zebra, one of them eating just the fetus, with the jackals skirting around trying to steal scraps, when a herd of elephants comes up all pissed and scares the lions away, taking down trees and all sorts of other things in the process. It's just crazy amazing. 

a slideshow, because there are too many pics!

We stayed at two different lodges on the reserve. Tau Game Lodge was first. It was the bigger of the two lodges, we had a little "hut" though I use that term lightly because it's REALLY nice. We got to our room to find a little monkey peaking in our windows (SO CUTE, but apparently they'll shit all over your bed and tear your room to shreds if you don't lock your doors, smart little buggers). We had a SUPER fun time there, we were with paired with a group from Texas for our game drive and they were REALLY fun. One of our favorite parts of this trip was all the people we hung out with, it's really what made this our favorite vacation yet. Tau had a fun bar area and pool tables and other social spaces which really encourages the guests to hang out and have fun, which we definitely did! Our next reserve, Impodimo Game Lodge,  was a little smaller and a little more geared towards relaxation. Our room there was even better than the one at Tau and overlooked a watering hole that was always PACKED with animals, we could just sit on our deck and watch elephants, baboons, kudu, warthogs, you name it, come up and get a drink and hang out. Impodimo wasn't fenced in though, so you needed to get escorted to your room after dinner with someone with a rifle to avoid getting eaten by a lion, better safe than sorry right? eek. So that kind of made late night drinking and socializing not so likely. Despite that, I still liked that lodge as much if not more than Tau. But really you couldn't go wrong with either! The food was AMAZING at both, I ate wildebeest, and other weird things, all of which were delicious. Both lodges were all inclusive, which we really liked and really made the whole thing stress free and relaxing. So yeah, I could go on forever about all the details, but I'm going to let the pics speak for themselves, and say that I am already dying to go back and do it all and more all over again! 

P.S. Check in later this week for an AWESOME new save the date that just went out!!!