Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finding Gold - Mashatu Trip Report by Isak Pretorius

Another Mashatu workshop is behind us, making us all suffer from serious withdrawal symptoms. A photo workshop with passionate guests, spectacular sightings in a wilderness area hosted at a stunning camp can not be anything but very successful! August in Mashatu is cool and dry with a landscape covered in gold with the drying mopani leaves. It's a magical time of the year!

The leopard mother with three cubs we had seen on our workshop in June delivered an even better show than the last time. Our first four game drives were dedicated just to them as the mother made an impala kill and dragged it into what I consider "the best leopard tree". A fever berry tree with a big open branch growing diagonally and then horizontally out of the ground. This made for a beautiful stage for their performance.

For most of us photography itself is a wonderful excuse to spend time in nature. At Mashatu's tent camp dinner is served in a boma that overlooks a floodlit waterhole. This is always exciting. One evening we were treated to a show of at least 30 elephants coming for drink and entertaining us during our dinner.

After seriously branching out on our leopard portfolios we decided to look for a greater variety of subjects during the rest of our game drives. Some of the highlights included spending time with hyenas at their den, baboons, breeding herds of elephants, zebra in the golden mopani bushes, and fighting giraffe! As always during a Mashatu workshop one evening was dedicated to doing starscapes and startrails at a baobab tree near our camp.

Each season at Mashatu has it's own magic. For me, the winter months is extra special! Thanks to everyone who made this such a great trip! Enjoy the photos taken by our guests!