Thu, 01 Jun 2017

Fresh footprints in Madikwe - By Steph Hornsey

The life of a Ranger can be somewhat grimy at times...

Being a new Ranger at Tau Game Lodge has been an extraordinary and challenging experience, which has built a sense of accomplishment within myself, and given me a new confidence in my abilities. My short time at Tau has only proven to me that I can achieve greatness. First days are always a bit nerve racking, but when you are being taught and driven to achieve things you never thought were possible I think it awakens your mind and soul.

I’ve been guiding here for over a month and so I have left my first footprints behind in untamed Madikwe as a Tau Ranger!

All about Madikwe scouting for game...

As most would know, Madikwe covers a vast space of land and we have approximately 1000 kilometers of road we can explore, therefore learning roads is a must!

As most will know being a ranger is a rewarding yet challenging job as we are focused on giving our guests the best experience. My first day driving a vehicle full to the brim with eager guests waiting to be blown away by the variety of animals we have situated in our reserve made me fill up with excitement and nerves – “ so many roads to choose from, so many things to see, the question is. . . what first”. As I have learnt from the other rangers it is important to have an idea of which direction you’ll be going to, but as we all know this place is untamed and anything can pop up at any time.

Profile shot of lion basking in the sun. Profile shot of lioness basking in the sun.


My head ranger Mike Rae and fellow colleague Stuart Buy joined me one afternoon so that they could teach me roads and we could do some wildlife and bird photography. We relocated a small pride of lions earlier in the drive and spent most of our time snapping away to see who could get the best shot. Daylight was running out so we decided to leave the lions to carry on working on the roads and our bird photography. It was quiet a successful birding afternoon so we decided to head back to camp as it was almost dark. We were coming down Adelaide and noticed a massive flock of Helmeted Guinea fowl. We carried on driving cause we were determined to get back to camp as the temperatures were dropping at a fast pace. Out of nowhere the Guinea fowl burst into the air like a firework and we noticed this red blur jumping almost 3 meters into the air. We all sat there not realizing that we had just witnessed a Caracal trying to take down one of the Guinea fowls. After the shell shock wore off we realized that all our cameras were still on our laps and not one photograph had been taken. We all had a good chuckle and hurried to the camp to spread the news of our sighting.

Something caught the Leopard's eye...

I have obviously experienced many amazing sighting whilst being here at Tau and if I had to type it all out I think e would be sitting here for a while. But now my first cycle has come to an end, and my last drive this morning was a absolute treat. We were lucky enough to see a leopard in a tree and sat with him for a little while until he disappeared into the long grass, just after we noticed a male lion approaching the same area, he passed our vehicle and started contact calling which sent shivers down our spines. Such an amazing way to end off a cycle I would say.

So then Dear Reader, visit us here at Tau Game Lodge so you too can leave your footprints here in Untamed Madikwe.