Tau Game Lodge Blog

Tau Game Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve

Summers last punch- by Michael Rae


                                   

As some may know Madikwe Game Reserve has struggled for the last four years with below average rainfall and every drop from the heavens has been celebrated with much hope for more. On the 16th and 17th of March our patience was rewarded and the flood gates had finally opened upon our dusty arid reserve. Well over 200mm fell over the course of those two days and filled the waterhole to the breaking point. Late afternoon early evening of the 17th the heavy thump and gushing rapids of the wall breaking was heard by a few staff members at the staff village. Unbelievable amounts of water with uncontrollable force! Four of the large dams in the reserve breached including our waterhole. Seems to me all of Madikwe’s prayers for rain were answered at once.

                                       

With much excitement I’m pleased to announce that our Pinda coalition of Cheetah males has been released. This is the second coalition to be released onto Madikwe replacing the “Famous Four”. I’ve had two great sightings of the new cats and they are well habituated to the vehicles, gorgeous specimens! I had a wonderful sighting of the Sable Ranch coalition in the beautiful open plains in our concession and it must have been one of the best I’ve ever had. The sight of their fiery orange eyes floating through a thick green haze in the early morning light has in some way haunted my thoughts this past week. I feel privileged to be able to gaze at these fine creatures in a landscape filled with colour and splendour time and time again! I hope you too will come and be mesmerized by these graceful beasts.

 

   

                                  

March came with the return of my repeat guests and good friends the Perrymans. Ryan, Charlotte and Ted stayed for a Jam packed thrilling five nights; ten game drives produced an unbelievable variety of game from Leopard and Caracal to Cheetah and Serval. Countless Elephant and Lion sightings, both black and white Rhino, Spotted and Brown Hyena and a vast array of healthy plains game. And to top it all of I had the best co-pilot accompany me in the front seat on every drive. Ted is so enthusiastic about the bushveld and every element of it, he gave me loads of laughs as we discussed percentages of luck and how much we used up depending on the sighting. I can’t wait to have Ted in the front seat again next year.

 

Thank you for reading but make it reality, come and see this amazing reserve and lodge for yourself, we’re waiting!

News from The Bush - February 2016

                                             


Firstly, we would like to announce that the famous Tau live webcam is finally back up and running. 

We apologise for the delay - anyone that has visited the bush before will know that time is somewhat elastic, and things can take a little longer, especially electrical repairs, but it is now back up and running. If you would like to watch our waterhole, please click here. http://www.taugamelodge.co.za/WebCams.asp The feed is not controlled by us here at the lodge, but there are remote viewers who control that camera and try to capture all the best action. I can confirm that its authenticity has been verified by myself several times, and while it runs around 45seconds behind real time, it is indeed a live feed - keep your eyes peeled!

      

Early on in the month, I had some guests, Catherine and Alan return to Tau after visiting around the same time in 2015. We often have people fall in love with both the lodge and Madikwe, and return many times. This time, Catherine bought her parents Peter and Sylvia with her to share the delights of the lodge. We had some fantastic sightings which included cheetah hunting wildebeest, elephants swimming and various different lions on several occasions. Peter also celebrated his birthday with us, and the couple also celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! That is a long time.....! Often as a guide people get on your vehicle as guests, but leave a few days later as friends. How lovely that I was able to join them in their very special family celebrations. All photos on this blog are taken by Alan - thank you for allowing us to share.

         

Other news at Tau - there has been a few changes to our guiding team - below is a team photo that was taken on 3rd March. Guides often have lots of jobs to do, washing cruisers, fixing the never ending stream of punctures, while also studying to keep all of their bush knowledge up to date. Getting ten out of eleven guides together in one place was a rarity (Ernest is the only one missing and was not at work at the time)

From Left to right: Dylan, Reggi, Jesse, Murray, Derek, Kelly, Obakeng (OB) Mike, Mark and Ignatius (Iggy)

We embrace all shapes and sizes here at Tau. If you have not met us yet, we hope you will come and visit us soon. 

If you have, we look forward to you returning as friends.

Until next time.....Kelly x

                                       

Drops of Summer - January News - by Mike Rae

                                                             

The beginning of a new year arrives with much excitement and new life in Madikwe Game reserve, offspring of every species brings about a fresh atmosphere in the field. In camp, the acacias burst with colour  and our beautiful Tau Game Lodge seems to oose a bright yellow into seemingly green surroundings. The rainfall has arrived late but is always welcomed with open arms and smiles facing the clouds. The dams and drainage lines are buzzing with life as water birds, frogs and insects seem to applaud and rejoice the drops of summer. Ground Hibiscus flowers open like fireworks displaying their gentle pink pettles. This is a season when being out in nature energizes you, awakens your primitive instinctual senses and blows your back, and I’m not meaning the wind on the open vehicle.

 There is just so much to see, so much wonder and mystery in every nook and cranny. I recently had the pleasure of guiding a young newlywed couple from Sydney for three nights and on the last afternoon drive David and Nicole noticed something very interesting growing out of a termite mound. I stopped the vehicle and we went for a closer inspection. It turns out we had come across Paracol mushrooms just emerging from within a termite mound, while discussing our findings a couple green wood hoopoes landed in the tree above us, I quickly whipped out the popular Roberts bird app and played their call. The young couple were astounded at the reaction of the Hoopoes as they rhythmically tossed their tails back and forth and responded in their loud cackling call. I often feel overwhelmed by the endless amount of life all around us and every three hour game drive feels like ten minutes.

With many mixed emotions our cheetah coalition of four males has recently made way for another four males split into two coalitions. The first two males have been released and are habituating well to the vehicles and giving us great sightings. The second two males have arrived but are still in the habituation enclosure in the south of the reserve, release dates have not been confirmed. Two females will also be brought in to the reserve in the near future, this means a possible five different cheetah sightings on drive. The loss of our coalition of four definitely pulled our heart strings but the possibility of cubs in the future tips the balance and adds much excitement to the project. So a heartfelt goodbye to the four spectacular cats that brought many unbelievable sighting on drive and on foot. Such a magnificent animal! The memory of four of these vulnerable predators lying in the shade of my vehicle canopy will linger in my thoughts for years to come.

 Let us amaze and intrigue you with natures absolute splendour around every corner. Join us in our arid paradise for wildlife adventures that will capture your soul and demand your return. We’re ready and waiting… for you!


                                            

November News - finally the rain came - by Kelly Oldaker

                   

And what a lot of news we have from November here at Tau Game Lodge.

We started off November with 4 days of advanced wilderness 1st Aid training with Africa SafeT. It is always good to stay up to date with new developments in the area of 1st Aid, and all of the Rangers here at Tau are fully qualified 1st Aiders. 

On 8th November we were joined by Adriaan Louw from Cyber Tracker and spent a long, hot 6 days out in the bush being trained and assessed in the ancient art of track and sign identification and trailing animals. One of our guides is scored a perfect 100% in track and sign identification, and 99% for trailing. I can't tell you who as he gets embarrassed, but we are all really pleased with our results. One of my favourite things about the bush is you never stop learning, and we certainly all learnt plenty!

                              


As you probably already know, we have been in a bit of a drought situation here in Madikwe for some time now, there have been rain dances, and crossed fingers for rain for months now, and finally, on 20th November, the heavens opened! 

We gratefully received around 52mm of rain (and hail) which started at around 8pm, much of which fell pretty quickly. As the rain was still falling, we started to discover things that we have not seen for a long time through the dry period. We removed a delightful little Red Lipped Herald snake (harmless to humans) from our reception, rescued a young baboon spider from a puddle and also moved this fantastic scorpion from the path close to where the vechicles are parked. It is believed to be from the Buthidae family, judging by the size of the tail, which while not deadly to humans, will certainly give you a nasty sting.

                                                   


Our 1st stop the following morning was the water hole in front on Tau. WOW! what a massive difference a night can make. The noise of frogs at dawn was deafening. While Tau have maintained a small supply of water during this dry period, what greeted us that morning as we enjoyed morning coffee was truly outstanding.