CHRIS MOERDYK shows a bit of cheek at Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge
There is no greater feeling of contentment than standing stark naked on your own private deck surveying an unbroken vista of pristine Africa, following an early morning skinny dip in your private plunge pool and an invigorating outside shower. It is the ultimate in communing with nature even if it terrifies myriad animals and birdlife.
I love the bush. Nothing de-stresses me quicker than Mother Africa at her natural best. I don’t want to share Ma Africa with strangers. I want her all to myself. When we happen on lion next to the road, leopard in a tree, or a kill, I get miffed when dozens of game vehicles, cars and campervans surround us with frenetic pointing and shouting.
I fell in love with Madikwe Game Reserve in the middle of Herman Charles Bosman’s Marico territory because of its management. Game rangers keep out of each other’s way. Their rule that no more than three game vehicles may gather in any one place should be applied everywhere.
The five-star Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge is set against a wooded hill with the lodge raised to about mid thorn tree height and joined by wooden walkways. Built around rocks and trees, every suite resembles a luxurious family holiday home.
Our huge lounge, bedroom, dressing room and bathroom was all glass fronted with views over the acacia-studded plains. Our front deck incorporated a plunge pool at a temperature that allowed for a refreshing dip without making your testicles contract to somewhere near your backbone.
But my favourite feature was the brass outdoor shower. Protected from public view, I could commune with nature in the raw – and get a little sun on my lily-white bum, even though it scared the animals. On our last morning a young bull elephant no more than 50 metres from the deck watched me shower. He stared for a bit, waved his trunk fairly suggestively I thought, then wandered off shaking his head. I think he was laughing.
On our game drives we saw lion, white rhino, black rhino, elephant and buffalo. My wife and I revelled inall the birds, but seeing a rare yellow Crimson Breasted Shrike – something most birders only dream of – gave us the most joy.
Equally exciting was having a young male black rhino mock-charge us. The video I took is now one of the most prized in my wildlife collection.
It was the mating season in Madikwe and we saw bonking baboons, rutting impala, turtle doves and lions at it as well as amorous white rhino males being rebuffed by females trying to have a mud-bath.
Watching the male rhinos being given the cold shoulder, it occurred to me that whenever I paraded about our deck in the raw, my wife would lock herself in the bathroom …