Buffalo Ridge Trip Report

buffalo ridge safari lodge sign

Leaving home around 5am, we arrived at Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge around 10.30am as we took a nice slow drive while enjoying the lay of the land.

The western side of the park is extremely dry, they have not had much rain this summer and we could feel and see that they badly needed rain. The temperature peaked each day at around 39 degrees centigrade, so it was very hot, especially for March!

On arrival we were welcomed by Gabriel and Pracilla. It was like coming home - we had last visited the lodge in 2015.

Buffalo Ridge receptionReception area
Buffalo ridge safari lodge loungeLounge

We had a refreshing welcome drink and then shown to our chalet.

Buffalo Ridge chaletOne of the eight suites photographed from the bottom of the ridge

The main lodge is spectacularly located on two tiers of the ridge, accessed via a wooden bridge that crosses a ravine surrounded by rock figs.

Buffalo Ridge bridgeThe bridge joining the two ridges - suite ridge to main lodge ridge

The lodge has 8 suites, each with their own viewing deck, decorated in natural hues of colour and texture, offering a very private and luxurious experience.

Buffalo Ridge view from deckView from our deck at suite #3

The thatched suites, with sliding doors from the bedroom and shower allows guests to experience a oneness with the bushveld.

Buffalo Ridge bedroom2Our bedroom
Buffalo Ridge bedroomThe view from our bedroom

The lodge is situated at a prime site in the west of the Madikwe Game Reserve, straddling the Tweedepoort Ridge and each chalet has expansive views across the northern plains and Inselbergs.

Buffalo Ridge view over the plainsThe view from outside our suite - looking north towards the inselbergs

Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge is unfenced so there is the possibility of experiencing the big-five animals that's why you are escorted back to your rooms after dinner.

We saw the following wildlife while at the lodge...  

Boboon in the rafters at Buffalo RidgeBaboon in the rafters at the main lodge
Jenny shooting klipspringer outside the chaletJenny photographing one of the klipspringers in front of the suite
Klipspringer at the bridge Klipspringer in front of the bridge
Stick insect at nightStick insect on the path to the suites

Lunch would be served at 2pm each day and on the day we arrived, lunch was a lovely grilled sole with salad and dessert was a meringue nest with berries and ice-cream.

We had a nice cold rock shandy to go with it.

Buffalo Ridge grilled sole lunchGrilled sole for lunch!

Buffalo Ridge trip report - afternoon game drive

And then at 4pm it was time for our game drive. Israel, our guide, was a gem! 

Israel and JennyIsrael - our fantastic field guide with Jenny

He took us to Tlou dam for a fantastic sunset. We were not looking for animals, we just wanted a nice sunset at the dam.

Tlou dam at sunset with elephantsSunset at Tlou Dam with elephant silhouettes
Tlou dam sunset Tlou Dam provides many photo opportunities, especially as the sun dips lower in the sky
Tlou dam sunset with elephantsTlou dam with super reflections in the water
Tlou dam sunset 'painting'Painterly effect of Tlou Dam.

Of course we also got some elephants and spotted hyenas at the dam...

elephants at Tlou dam Elephants at Tlou Dam
Spotted hyena at Tlou damSpotted hyena at Tlou Dam
elephants at Tlou dam2 The elephnats come from all directions to quench their thirst.

Dinner was a butternut soup with homemade bread rolls, steak medallion cooked to perfection with grilled vegetables and finished off with a chocolate mousse.

Buffalo Ridge fillet steak medallions dinnerFillet steak medallions!

Buffalo Ridge trip report - morning game drive

Israel took us down south for our morning game drive. We went past Nkwe pan and got to see a beautiful pink sky.

Nkwe pan sunriseSunrise at Nkwe Pan

The field guide is the key to you enjoying your African safari and we have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly. Israel is one of the best as he understood we were not chasing the big five and he planned his routes accordingly.

Then we carried on to a very dry Tau dam where we saw zebras, gnus and impala with the rising sun.

Tau dam sunriseSunrise at a very dry Tau Dam

We also got to see the lovely southern plains and our first gemsbok in Madikwe!

Gemsbok on Madikwe's southern plainsGemsbok on the southern plains

We bumped into Felix the male cheetah while at Kubu pan. That’s what happens – when you’re not looking for any big cats they tend to pop up in the most unexpected places!

Shooting Felix at Kubu panJenny photographing Felix
Felix the cheetah at Kubu panFelix the southern cheetah

Breakfast was a lovely, layered bowl of homemade muesli, yoghurt and fruit with cold meats, biscuits and cheese on the side followed by a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs with pork sausage (you can have anything you want), homemade bread, toast, and fruit juice.

Buffalo Ridge breakfast with a viewBreakfast with an amazing view!
Buffalo Ridge breakfastFruit, yoghurt, biscuits, cheese, cold meats and then, if you're still hungry, home-made bread, bacon, eggs, and more!

Lunch was pork ribs with thin chips and salad.  We did not have dessert – too much (good) food!

Buffalo Ridge ribs chips and saladPork ribs - delicious!

Buffalo Ridge trip report - afternoon game drive #2

On our afternoon drive we saw rhinos, 

white rhino weeing in MadikweWhite rhino spraying

another cheetah that was very full after making a kill that morning (he was under a tree digesting the impala so the images were not good), and then we then came across lions on the northern plains - four females with two cubs. 

lioness and cubs on Madikwe northern plainsThe youngsters with mom
Jenny shooting the lions on Madikwe northern plainsJenny shooting the lions
lioness and cubs on Madikwe northern plains2Family interactions

The one female is currently the oldest lion in the park, estimated to be 18 or 19. (The previous oldest lioness in the Madikwe Game Reserve, known as ‘Gogo Mika’, died at the end of 2021 just a few days before her 20th birthday).

old lioness in MadikweThe oldest lion in Madikwe - estimated to be 19 years old.

We also saw a few giraffe... 

Giraffe at sunset on Madikwe northern plainsGiraffe on the northern plains
giraffe licking power line cableGiraffe licking the power-line cable.

brown hyenas...

Brown hyena at MadikweBrown hyena following the lion pride
Ostrich on the Madikwe northern plainsOstrich with backdrop of giraffe
Kori bustard in MadikweKorrie bustard - the heaviest flying bird

Dinner at 8.30 was a tomato and basil tart starter with ostrich fillet with savoury rice and grilled veg for main course.

The Ostrich fillet was divine, the best we have had.

Buffalo ridge ostrich fillet dinnerIt was great sitting in the dark listening to the night sounds!
Buffalo ridge ostrich fillet dinner2Delicious ostrich fillet
buffalo ridge creme caramelYummy creme caramel

This was followed by a lovely creme caramel.

Buffalo Ridge trip report - morning game drive #2

On our last morning game drive, Israel found us a pride of lions eating a zebra they had killed the night before - one male, 2 females and a cub.

Male lion eating zebraMale lion munching on his breakfast

We drove past Adolf’s view and found some spotted hyenas walking and calling and one was lying in mud at the pan.

spotted hyena in panSpotted hyena chilling in the little water that was left in a pan

We had a nice coffee stop where we enjoyed our Amarula coffees! 

coffee stop at Buffalo ridgeJenny and Israel at the coffee stop
Luke's view in MadikweLuke's View makes a good stop for morning coffee or sundowners

We then found the wild dogs, one of which was badly injured. They looked like they had made a kill because some of them were full of blood.

african wild dog in MadikweAfrican wild dog

We enjoyed another super breakfast and then checked out.

We had a wonderful two days at Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge.  The staff are very accommodating, and it was sad to say farewell. We left around 11am.

For more information or to make your reservation at Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge please visit their website

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