Images & Text by Trevor Hardaker
I recently had the pleasure of spending a few days at Jaci’s Lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve as an initial attempt at a 24 hour bird race in the reserve, revolving around BirdLife South Africa’s Big Birding Day. The idea was to come in for a couple of days prior to the actual Big Day to scout around on the reserve and get a feel for the different habitats and where one could find the different birds and then have a go at the 24 hour race.
Jaci’s Lodges provided a great introduction to the reserve and what better way to get started than with the friendly welcome of the staff and the extremely comfortable accommodation in a very pleasant setting. With the units interspersed in some lush riparian woodland, a habitat that is pretty restricted on the reserve, one can get started on your bird list from the comfort of your own stoep. The continuous calling of Red-chested Cuckoos and the typical summer bushveld sound of Woodland Kingfishers churring away set the scene and, as one searches a bit more intently, you will also find things like Yellow-bellied Greenbuls, Kurrichane and Karoo Thrushes, African Paradise Flycatchers, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bush-shrikes and raucous groups of Meyer’s Parrots amongst others right around your room.