Madikwe Game Reserve


My friends and I stayed at Tau Game Lodge, which is on the Madikwe Game Reserve in northwest South Africa on the Botswana border. Everything about the trip was incredible. The lodge was amazing and the food was great. There is a watering hole that wraps around the lodge where you can watch animals such as elephants, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, Impala, and others drink throughout the day as you enjoy your meals or relax.

Our group of five was paired with a ranger named Jessie. He was actually our age and we had a great time with him as he showed us around “the bush.” We stayed at Tau for three days and six game drives, but by what we saw you would think we were there for a month.

We arrived at the lodge just in time for the afternoon game drive on Saturday. We saw a lot on the first drive, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Before sun down Jesse tracked a pair of lion brothers sleeping in the shade so we spent some time with them, along with a group of lionesses we found earlier. On the way back in the dark we saw an African Wild Cat, which is fairly rare and looks almost like a house cat. Along with the lions and wild cat, we saw a lot of elephants, zebra, wildebeest, Impala, and others.


Sunday morning came early as it was our first 5:30 wake up call. We had a great day though. First thing during the beautiful sunrise we encountered a black rhino. Black rhinos are more rare and much more aggressive than the white rhinos. This one even charged us until about 20 yards away before turning and running away. Later that morning we found a group of 8 white rhinos, which was among the most Jesse had seen in a group together. In the afternoon we stopped at a big male lion before heading on a journey to find the wild dog pupss on the property. Along the way we ran into a herd of Gemsbok, along with other plains game. We found the dogs after about an hour drive and it was awesome. The property only has one pack of wild dogs at the moment, and we saw two adults along with the nine pups that got within an arms length of us. Jesse spent some time teaching us about the wild dogs and how their stamina and endurance allows for them to have the highest kill percentage of all the African predators.


Monday was the best day of the trip, although every day was fantastic. In the morning drive we saw a lion in the mountain side before high-tailing it to an area where a leopard had reportedly been sighted. At Madikwe Leopards are quite rare to find as the land was cattle farms 30 years ago and many were hunted away while those that are alive are weary of people. We found the gorgeous leopard in a tree and it gave us a lot of action as it got up and jumped out of the tree while we were there. This was the first leopard Jesse had seen in nearly two months. In the afternoon, a lioness brought her two two month old cubs out of the cover into human sights for the first time and we were lucky enough to be some of the first to witness them. We watched them play with their mother for a while before driving all the way to the other side of the reserve in search of cheetahs. On the drive over we saw buffalo, giraffes, rhinos, and others. After the hour and half long drive, we got to watch four male cheetahs at sunset. On Sunday itself we saw the big five (leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino, elephant) and cheetahs.


Tuesday morning was our last morning and game drive and Jesse made it a relaxing one. He drove us to a lookout spot on a hill where we had a cup of coffee while watching the sun rise over the reserve. After that we witnessed a mother black rhino her calf that was stuck in the mud before the reserve patrol had to come rescue it. Then we drove to watch some lions feed on a giraffe killed two nights before (same location where the lion cubs were). Then we drove back to the lodge as we saw a few large kudu bulls along with the normal animals we had been seeing.

Check out some more photos from the Safari below: