Madikwe: May 2010 (Part 1)

Madikwe: May 2010 (Part 1)

Hey everyone! I am carrying on my huge backlog of trip reports as and when I find the time to do so – so herewith the start of another belated adventure for you to enjoy.

Back in May 2010 my wife and I were fortunate to be invited by my friend Gerry van der Walt to spend some time in the Madikwe Game Reserve, situated in the North West province of South Africa. This was the first time we visited this interesting reserve, situated in the “Marico” bushveld of Herman Charles Bosman’s lore. The entire area is malaria free and the history of the development of the reserve is quite fascinating.

We arrived late in the afternoon, and after clearing the gate permit we drove to our home for the next few days, Nkurru Lodge. En route we encountered an elephant road block (these guys were a bit feisty and held us up for a while), a brown hyaena and a lone lion (albeit these last two were found in near-darkness walking next to the road).

elephant bull 1 Madikwe 2010
Day 1 – The following morning, Gerry had me up early to scout for one of the local packs of African Painted Dogs with him – this park is known for its success with these endangered predators. The prime goal of this morning’s venture was to collar one of the dogs for research, a personal conservation project driven by Jono Buffey, who was also visiting Nkurru and was heading out later that day. Unbeknownst to me at the time was that a few years later I would be involved in photographic safaris with Gerry and Jono, in the form of Wild Eye!

We didn’t find the dogs that morning, but we had a lovely drive and I got to see the beauty of Madikwe properly…

madikwe sunrise 1 2010


Later that day, we were joined by Kerry de Bruyn as well, and we set off on our afternoon drive.

MG 6027
A large elephant bull was our first compliant subject for the afternoon…

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We spent the better part of the afternoon tracking mating lions in thick bush, we had some visual but no real photographic opportunity, and we also spent some time at the famous Tlou dam and doing some bird photography.

Day 2 – The following morning we set off VERY early, heading out to an area called Madikwe Plains. I wrote a comprehensive post about this morning’s events back in 2010, and you can read all about it HERE.

MG 6200
Following our surprise encounter with the old guy in the post above, we also found his brother (by following the answered roars in the distance) – he had a drink in front of us and then passed out like a proper lazy male lion should…

lion wide madikwe 1 2010
We were also treated to some springbuk rams sparring. Madikwe is one of the few places where you can see springbok and impala in the same biosphere, since it’s a transition zone between bushveld and Kalahari…

MG 1106 Edit
A lone elephant bull and a breeding herd of elephants also provided ample entertainment on this particular drive.

elephant scape 1 BW Madikwe 2010
A young calf in particular was chock full of attitude…

Elephant Prayer 1 2010
The next moment the radio crackled to life and we were notified of a sighting of the elusive Painted Dogs!! We were off, hoping they would stick around for us…

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You’ll have to stick around for the next episode…

Morkel Erasmus


Morkel Erasmus

I used to relish writing these kinds of “bio” pieces and would flaunt the odd impressive word and use dashing grammar to make it sound like I am a boundary-shifting photographer. These days I prefer stating it in much simpler ways, much more relatable ways, much more believable ways… The fact of the matter is this: I love Africa. I love its people, its wild places and its wildlife. I love being immersed in these places, observing and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look. To me, nature photography is all about being in the moment, and capturing that moment in a way that can relate to someone who didn’t have the privilege of being there with me. Sometimes I am able to capture a unique vision of the scene before me, and sometimes I just capture it the way most folks would according to classical photographic guidelines. Yet I always enjoy sharing the images and experiences and imparting the knowledge I have, both in-the-field and later online or in presentations, workshops and courses. I also just simply enjoy capturing and sharing the beauty of God's creation! The greatest thing I’ve found about wildlife and nature photography in Southern Africa is the unity and familiarity of the community of people that share this passion. We come from all walks of life and all cultures and backgrounds, yet our passion for our natural heritage and our dream to see it preserved for future generations binds strangers together and fuels conversations around campfires long after other people have run out of conversation and energy. Join me on a WildEye adventure to experience this sharing community spirit and learn to anticipate that fleeting moment and be ready for it, learn to immerse yourself in the experience without losing focus of your photographic goals…and above all, learn to see Africa anew… because there are none as blind as those who look but do not see!

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Morkel Erasmus

Since picking up a DSLR camera for the first time, a little over 3 years ago, Morkel has been invigorated with an unbridled passion for the photographic art form. He has grown at a tremendous pace and put immense energy into the creation of his images. He absolutely loves spending time in the wild places of his native Southern Africa. From a young age he has been visiting legendary wildlife and outdoor locations, including the Kruger Park National Park and the Drakensberg Mountains, with his family. Now that he has found a way to share the natural beauty of his homeland with the rest of the world he is regularly out on photography trips. An Industrial Engineer by profession, and an accomplished artist in genres like music and poetry, Morkel has always enjoyed whatever allows him to express his creativity to the fullest. Photography turned out to be the perfect "marriage" between his engineering brain and artistic soul. "I hope that in some way I can raise awareness through my imagery of the plight of not only our wildlife but also the fragility of the last remaining wilderness areas that they call home.” Morkel was recently honoured for his commitment to his craft by receiving a "Highly Commended" for one of his images in the 2010 BBC Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He is based in Mpumalanga, South Africa and even though he prefers going on safari with his family and friends, Morkel also leads the odd photographic safari and has recently begun presenting workshops in post-processing techniques.

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