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Published: April 25th 2011
what happened to the "R?"
We crossed the tropic on our drive north
Just 2 days after the wonderful wedding, 17 of us set off in 4 cars on a 5 hour drive to Botswana and Mashatu Game Reserve where we were to spend almost 5 days of the most unforgettable experiences we have had in our lives.
It was so difficult restricting the number of photographs as we went on 8 game drives and saw all the game Mashatu had to offer.
A typical day began with a wake up call from the ranger outside our tent at 5.30am, followed by a light breakfast then into one of 3 open Toyota Landcruisers with a guide/driver and a spotter high in the back.
Each drive was about 3 1/2 hours with a short break for tea in the morning and sundowners in the evening.
After the morning drive we returned to shower and freshen up before a full brunch buffet served in the open sided dining room under a thatched roof - then we usually wandered off for a swim in the pool, or explored the grounds (surrounded by an electrified fence to keep out elephants) - there was a concealed hide looking over a water hole where we could
crossing the Limpopo
the Limpopo river forms the border between South Africa and Botswana - there is no bridge so we crossed with our gear in these small cable cars
observe the animals safely -or we could read or nap.
At around 3.30 we came back together (we were the only guests in camp) for high tea - climbed back aboard, then went off again for the evening drive - returning after dark to a sumptuous 4 course dinner under the stars in a glorius setting.
So many highlights!
Our first sighting of 10 or so giraffe grazing in the treetops.
A night encounter with a herd of elephant - one made a mock charge at the vehicle - the guide kept his cool and we skirted him. (Jonathan had just finished telling us about a jeep load of people being rolled over by an irate elephant!)
We had just finished admiring a wart hog family with Mum & Dad & 2 almost cute kids, when the kids became lion lunch!
On our way to dinner in the dark we heard grunting nearby and assumed it was the warthog family we had seen around camp earlier in the day (the electrified fence we were told kept out ONLY the elephants) - when we arrived at the dining area one of the staff said anxioùsly
before the first drive we were told of all the do's and don'ts ...for our own safety - after that what we saw was totally unpredictable
"Àren't you worried about the leopard...!"
The skills of the guides were amazing - they followed tracks, spotted distant animals and got us in so close we almost wished they would back off a little.
WE still have trouble comprehending that we were among wild, free animals in their own environment - what an experience!
A reminder - the best way to view the photos is to click on the first one - then you can view each full size with comments below.
Next stop - Cape Town.
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