My family and I were fortunate enough to recently travel to South Africa and spend 5 nights on safari at Makanyane in the Madikwe Game Reserve. The 75000 hectares of African bushland is home to all the “Big 5” African animals that wildlife eco tourists love to see.
Though I have been on safari before in Tanzania, the experience on this occasion was completely different. The sheer numbers of animals and the access to them at close range was at times confronting, but always amazing.
We never tired of seeing families of Elephants, Rhino, Wilder beasts and Impalas. A variety of antelope species were there in abundance and we even managed to see the elusive and rare African Wild Dogs hunting feeding on an impala.
We encountered Lions, Cheetah, Giraffes, Zebra, Hippopotomas, Wart Hogs and Birds. Many of the species are however endangered, and we were shocked to learn that some, such as the white Rhino, will possibly be extinct in the wild within years.
The beauty and serenity of the African landscape, especially when seen at sunset was at times breath-taking. At dusk, the tranquil splashing of families of elephants enjoying a refreshing swim to recover from the heat of the day was a regular occurrence.
Though I have been fortunate enough to travel before, this holiday will go down as one of my truly life-changing experiences. To encounter these magnificent creatures in their own untamed environment makes you realise that we are just a small part of a wider world ecosystem and it is vital that each and every one of us to do what we can to preserve our fragile natural world. Not only for us but for the generations who follow us.
Organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) are concerned with the preservation of the natural environment in our rare and beautiful planet. I urge you all to get involved, before it’s too late.
*A note from Dr Mark Hanikeri
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