The Bush House - exclusive private game lodge in malaria free Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa - Game viewing drives to see the Big 5

The Bush House

Ranger's Letter

Folks some of you that have been here this past January/February would probably remember that we had a lot of rain which made it impossible to drive some roads, and to make our work more difficult and frustrating, some of the roads have been closed by the Reserve Management. This was so that we do not damage the roads amongst other reasons, but nevertheless, we had some good animal sightings, Wild dogs, Cheetahs, and even the" illusive at times" Baboons...


I have been asked a lot of times if Madikwe has any Baboons, well the answer is yes. This troop of baboons were spotted on the tar road near the Park Management offices relaxing in the middle of the road...not bothered by any vehicles ...We also have one troop that stays just behind the Bush House Lodge which is often seen at the waterhole.

A Baboon troop size can range anything between 8-200 individuals, but average size is between 30-40 individuals in a troop. Baboons can be a nuisance, they have been classified as "The number one pest on the Agricultural list of pests" as they eat almost everything and anything (omnivorous) which is why some agricultural farmers do not like them, and will shoot at them without any hesitation. They are very clever and learn fast...The saying "monkey see, monkey do" comes to mind...And I have a few stories but too little space to share with you now...




I think the five Cheetahs that Madikwe has, are at the moment and probably still is a lot of guests and guides' favourite animal, though we do not see them often, everybody wants to see them as much as possible, that is why I have included once again a photo of the four brothers in this issue of our newsletter.


cheetahs 2


On one afternoon drive we set out to mainly see if we can locate the Wild dogs and while on our way to the area they spotted the dogs earlier that day, we passed a big dam called "TLOU DAM".As we got closer to the dam, we got the 4 Cheetah brothers lying on the wall- which I almost ran over with the vehicle until someone informed me that there were four" rolled up carpets" lying on the wall a few meters in front of us! We stopped, took some photos, watched how they were just "scanning" the area for any danger or "competition" and then we eventually left the brothers to keep on relaxing and headed off in search of the Wild dogs...




Talking about Wild dogs...We were surprised by some visitors the one afternoon on our drink stop by three Wild dogs... I was busy unpacking all the drinks, snacks and table and suddenly one guest screams out loud "Hyenas" I froze in my shoes looked around and saw these three dogs about 20-30 meters away from us. They approached us, and went to lie down about 20 meters in front of us, just looking at us and "modelling" for photos. The one dog went to our left (eastern) side on its way to the top of the hill, while the other two were just "posing" for us. They lay there for about 10 minutes, we got back in the vehicle and approached them slowly to get an even closer look at these beautiful animals for an even better photo and from a safe vantage point! After about 5 minutes of "posing" next to our vehicle, they decided to get up and move swiftly through the bush unable for us to follow them. What an amazing experience folks!




Another rare and special animal that we do not see often, but would like to...a Caracal! The name CARACAL means black ear and is derived from Turkish which refers to the long black ear tufts. For those who do not know, it is almost like a Lynx. These cats can be very ferocious and should literally not be handled without gloves if you were so lucky to "pick" one up....a wild one that is! It is our heaviest small African cats, it weighs about 20kg. It is also an animal that a lot of farmers do not like, because they can also be a problem in catching their sheep, goats etc.

These cats are very good and agile climbers and is not unusual to see them sometimes in trees just like a Leopard! So keep your eyes open!



Another rare animal to encounter is a Leopard Tortoise. Also known as a moving rock! Which can easily even scare Elephants sometimes! You have to look very carefully to spot these animals otherwise you might miss it or even run it over with a vehicle! Leopard Tortoises are our biggest tortoise, it can easily weigh over 40 kg, approx.30-45 cm long. The Afrikaans name for them is "Berg skilpad" which means "Mountain tortoise" not because it lives in or prefers mountains, it is because it is the biggest tortoise that we have. It is part of what we call "the small five" only because of its colouration of the shell-looking like a leopard's coat. It is not dangerous at all!




And don't you just love spectacular African sunsets?! This was taken just behind the lodge were we have a birds' -eye -view over the North/ North Western side of the Reserve. A beautiful ending to another great day in the African bush!





Well that is all from me now folks hope to see you soon or maybe again in the near future!

Thomas and the Bush House family


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