This is the final blog from Mashatu - hope you've enjoyed the photos and information.
Remember to view the photos in large format by clicking on the first one and using arrow keys to scroll down to notes and to progress. Cheers from Jan & Garry
In the Botswannan BushOur very comfortable tent was also well separated from others. It offered a sense of privacy as well as being out there in the African bush.
Final MorningReady to head out on our final morning drive - these vehicles took us through some really rough, off road territory - especially when crossing dry creek beds where we bottomed out on rock often. The engine was always turned off when close to game - that's when you felt vulnerable!
ElandOur final day meeting with eland was the best - like the warthogs, eland usually nicked off if you tried to come within 100m. This group was far more cooperative. Sadly, in Cape Town I found char grilled eland skewers delicious!
Brave ... behind a RiflePhotographed with Tim (from Canada) - the high powered, single shot rifles that were carried at the front of each vehicle were never considered as necessary while we were there - though a mock charge from the male lion raised heart rates, but our ranger just smiled - again.
Elephant TrainAnother highlight of our final morning drive - having morning coffee high on a safe ridge - the main elephant herd filed past our vantage point heading for their morning drink. Trumpeting, from some jittery males, a bit of push 'n shove as they got closer - when they disappeared into the greenery around the river, we followed.
Elephants at WaterOur vehicle's driver took us around the water hole to view from the opposite side - others parked right next to the elephants as they drank & showered, seeming to have a pretty good time.
Guess who's the BOSSAfter 3 days of failed attempts to local the major male in the area, bingo. Fresh tracks were found that included 3 youngsters, 2 femals & the male. Within 10 min our 3 vehicles were parked next to the group as they relaxed in the morning sun. Notice eye cataract.
Family TimeThe cubs were always playful and at times mischievous ie. trying to bite mum's tail as it wagged temptingly at them.
But, Dad was boss - he 'dismissed' one lioness when she tried to get a share of a warthog kill that the cubs were munching on! She left the scene after the reprimand.
Eagle with Guinea Fowl ChickWhile driving through a bushy area near the water hole we heard an incredible din - birds - came into a clearing to see an eagle on the ground with something in its talons - as it flew up to this branch our ranger said it was a guinea fowl chick (they were running in all directions - good logic)
Rangers & TrackersOur team of ranger/drivers and trackers for the 4 days. Wonderful knowledge of the area & everything that moved on the ground and in the air. Their calmness & confidence was reassuring, especially when parked next to a pride of lions or within a herd of elephants.
Awesome SunsetsEach evening drive involved a sunset so the 3 vehicles usually met on a ridge top for 'sunset drinks' - so serene, but so dangerous.
Tropic Of What?Travelling back to Johannesburg from Mashatu we wanted to stop at the Tropic sign, but queried the spelling - perhaps Afrikaans?