By Bert Duplessis, Fish Eagle Safaris

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From the Kgotla, we were driven back to Mashatu Main Camp with a short trip inspection at Limpopo Horse Safaris en route.  We did a quick walk-through of the stables (very impressive, lots of room), the tack room and the reception area, and afterwards we went to see the horses.  Beautiful they were too!  We tried to get a photograph with a very tall black horse with massive hooves, but he was not too friendly.  An equally good-looking white horse turned out to be much more obliging.

Apparently the horses work for a week (going on safari with riders out in the bush), followed by a week of rest and then a week of training.

Over the next three days at Mashatu Main Camp, we experienced some of the best game-viewing ever, superb guiding, unrivalled hospitality and catering, retiring each night to a comfortable yet not overly luxurious or ostentatious room.

Mashatu offers in my opinion the ideal mix for several days on safari.  The game-viewing is reliably good to excellent: if you don’t see leopard on a 3-night stay at Mashatu, you might consider yourself unlucky or jinxed.  We enjoyed 3 different sightings of leopards while there:  one at night on an impala kill, a young female at point blank range during the day, and yet another female walking briskly through the woodland, on our last morning.

Since my last visit to Mashatu the lion population has mushroomed: we saw several lions every day, including a couple of female with 9 cubs of varying ages between them, four other females and a mating ‘three-some’ of lions (2 males and a female), possibly one of the females mentioned previously.

On our last game drive one of the two males (a set of brothers), and his concubine put up quite a show for us, right in front of another Mashatu vehicle.  I captured a few particularly good images – and so did Kathy.

Mashatu is more than predators though:  we had some of our best views ever of eland, and spending a few hours in a hide with professional photographer Mike Dexter proved to be fun and educational.  I captured a few good bird photographs and missed one potentially excellent one (a missing wing-tip) and I would recommend booking a few hours with Mike or one of his colleagues on any trip to Mashatu.  Whether you are a rank beginner, have a new camera or just need to take your photography to a different level, there are few places better to do this than at Mashatu.

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