Mashatu

The morning we arrived in Mashatu it was 43 C. The next day it was maybe 20 C with a low ceiling and gusty winds. The landscape driving to the lodge was sun blasted and sere, dead looking vegetation and a kind of moonscape of sand with basalt rocks strewn all over the place. Fortunately after driving for 45 minutes the landscape changed to something more hospitable – still incredibly hot though. The lodge was a very pleasant relevation, a little oasis of green where impala does come to give birth safe from predators. We had little groomed paths to our solid walled cabins, separate bathrooms and generally upscale accommodations. the Hanks were smart in starting us at Haina and working their way up.
We did some rearranging of the land rovers so that all the serious photographers were in one vehicle with Louis, Joe our ranger and Edward our tracker. Not surprisingly the other none photo bugs were getting a little tired of our endless prattle about f-stops, and colour saturation and apertures and angles and….so forth. Turned out to be a great arrangement all around. First though we had to survive the “vomit vehicle” as Gordon so kindly put it. While we were freezing and driving around Sharon was quite sick to her stomach and then twenty minutes later so was I! Now I have to be REALLY sick to throw up but Sharon is recovering from a serious neck injury and thought that perhaps that was why she was sick. It turned out to be some sort of 24 hour bug, fever, nausea and romancing the throne. Barbara was a trouper looking after me and no one else got it which was a blessing? If you have to be sick, Mashatu was a good place and that was a good day to do so.
Poor Louis though, with the weather socked in and the ceiling at about 1000 ft. His girlfriend wasn’t able to fly in, so no proposal! Now he has to come up with a new romantic scenario! We all volunteered to help him plan it but I think he very sensibly turned us down!!
Joe our ranger has had a number of his photographs published so he was perfect at positioning us for the best light and angles for our shots and we saw all sorts of animals. I’m going to depend on Sharon’s note keeping to sort out where I saw what as the animals were so prolific.

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