Just like at home, the#IBMCSC work week is packed with IBM deliverables, but the weekend (or the majority of the weekend) is personal time. We took advantage of this opportunity to explore the North West province and arranged a weekend safari. The well known park in South Africa is Kruger on the northeastern side of the country. But in the center of the country on the Northern border with Botswana is a growing and wonderful park — Madikwe Game Reserve. Compared to Kruger, it’s a baby at only 20-25 years old. But it boasts the Big 5, countless other animals, multiple private lodges to choose from and is in a Malaria Free zone. It was a 2-3 hour bus ride from Mafikeng so it seemed like the perfect weekend getaway.
The University helped arrange a bus to take 13 of us from Mafikeng to Madikwe Friday afternoon, arriving around 7:15 pm. The Tau Game Lodge was our home for the weekend and they delivered big! We were welcomed with drinks and the best dinner (in my opinion) we’ve had so far. I enjoyed Biltong souffle (dried meat, like jerky), eland filet, and malva pudding (a new favorite!) We all buddied up and shared rooms — Effie was my partner for the weekend — and while it was really cold when the sun was down, the individual cottages had wonderfully heated beds and an outdoor shower where you could watch the animals gather at the watering hole nearby.
The safari experience itself is unparalleled. I created a movie of it, below, followed by a slideshow of highlight pics. As you can imagine, we have hundreds of pictures from the weekend, but of course, the best are from our Belgian colleague Wouter, who truly has a gift for photos.