I apologise in advance for this blog post as for once food was not upmost in my mind when on our intrepid safari adventure. Most unusually food took a back step and allowed the spectacular wildlife to take centre stage. At times what we experienced left us so completely awestruck that we just sat silently feeling quite emotional. I hope this post does the magic justice. I will of course include some food commentary but forgive me if this food blog turns into a wildlife blog!
Madikwe is a game reserve that is on the South African border with Botswana. This means it is malaria free and ideal for us with Aadi who is seven. Impodimo is a fabulous lodge consisting of nine glass fronted chalets. It is an unfenced lodge (as most are) which meant that animals were able to wander around the lodge areas. We stayed in suite number one which had a huge terrace overlooking a waterhole. There are two game drives a day – morning & evening. You are accompanied on all game drives by a guide/driver and a tracker. What Declan and Lots didn’t know about the reserve wasn’t worth knowing. We felt safe in their very capable hands and learned so much about the animals.
We arrived at 15.30 after a long 5 hour car journey from Johannesburg. We were promptly checked in and shown to our suite and told that afternoon tea would soon be served and we would be going out on our 1st game drive straight after tea. No rest for the wicked! And what a first game drive it was! We saw three Rhino and were driven to a very large waterhole where we saw elephants frolicking in the water as the sun was setting. Aadi’s face when he saw these animals was an image we will remember forever. On our way back we saw a group of lionesses surrounding a mother rhino and her calf. The stand off lasted a good 20 minutes . Eventually the mummy rhino was able to escape together with her calf. We were to later learn that one rhino was not so fortunate that night. As it transpired the lions weren’t their only predators. The full moon had allowed the poachers natural light to do their evil deeds. A rhino was found slaughtered with its horn removed. Man’s greed has meant that these beautiful creatures are getting killed at an alarming rate. 1000 rhino were victims of poachers in South Africa alone last year.
Every game drive was magical and the highlights are just too numerous to detail. i hope the photos convey just what a wonderful place this was. I will however mention a few top moments! We saw the same leopard on two separate occasions, he was stunning. The second time he actually used our jeep to hide whilst he attempted to hunt impala. We saw a pride of lions and perfectly captured a cub practicing his ‘little roar’ – Simba in real life! A pair of cheetah brothers were just taking their sunset walk and strolled past us giving us the perfect photo opportunity, showing off their magnificence in the beautiful light of the setting sun. One evening we were escorted back to our suite by our guide, Declan. As we approached he peered through the trees and informed us that Dennis, the huge adult bull elephant on musth was at our waterhole. After putting Aadi to bed Pete and I poured ourselves a couple of Amarulas on ice and just sat on our terrace watching this magnificent creature until he ambled off into the darkness. Breathtaking. At times I felt like the animals were putting on a show to give us the perfect safari experience!
I will now revert back to food mode! The food at Impodimo is excellent. You never go hungry! We woke at 5.30 am to coffee and morning biscuits and cake. Upon arrival back from the morning game drive you are treated to a huge breakfast of eggs any way you want, full English or cold meats and fruit. Lunch can be prepared if you are peckish. Afternoon tea is very special with sweet treats and some hot items such as fillet steak skewers through to yummy mini burgers. Dinner was a three course affair served after the evening game drive. Bearing in mind the remoteness of the reserve and the infrequency of food deliveries the kitchen do an amazing job. I did think sometimes that they tried a bit too hard to be fine dining in the evenings when a ‘family’ style eating concept might be more welcome but that’s just a personal preference. I really enjoyed the braii, grilled lamb chops, slow cooked pork belly, salads, pap (cornmeal), grilled veg – perfect. They were very accommodating with kids too, although Aadi eats most adult things it was a welcome change for him to enjoy the odd pizza.
We departed from Impodimo after 6 glorious nights, sad that our time there had come to an end but happy that we had gained so many wonderful memories. Thank you Impodimo, Madikwe and the animals – the stars of the show! Tune in to my final South Africa blog installment which I promise will be wall to wall food! We are headed to Cape Town………..