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pedro maia

Awesome Mashatu

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pedro maia

To finish another perfect game drive, we saw the female leopard that was feeding on the impala the day before

 

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And, in a nearby tree, another female leopard, probably sister of the other one

 

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We could´n really ask for more...

 

When we arrived at camp, Bellamy and the othercouple that went with us onthe game drive all came to our room to check on the impala carcass, with the torchlights we could see that it was still there.

 

My plan was to check it from time to time, I went to have a much neede shower but when I check again the carcass was gone, we spotted the area with the torchlight, not a very strong one, but the only thing we saw was a pair of eyes a little further away, so the mistery of which animal took the carcass was theme for a very pleasant dinner by the boma, with the guides and al the guest (6, us included).

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pedro maia

Our last morning in Mashatu was dedicated to a different activity, as it was mentioned here before, in Mashatu there are a few activities that you can choose to do, although for an extra price, one of those activities is the photo hide, those activities are concessioned to third parties, the manager of the hide is the enthusiastic Mags Vorster, whose husband, Wim, runs the photo vehicule, another extra activity you can buy at Mashatu.

 

Anyway, my wife wanted to try the photo hide, where there´s a professional photographer that gives you a few tips and helps you with the camera settings if you need, which is great for total ignorants like us.

 

I was a bit skeptical because we would miss one game drive an would have to pay the extra price, but truth is it would be very difficult to have much better sightings than those we had during the game drives and also if it was something that was going to please my wife that was a perfect reason to do it.

 

The drive to the hide took around 30m, in the distance, by the river bed, we saw a hyena who passed really close to a steembock, even stopped a few meters from it but the steembock was in perfect control of the situation and the hyena just followed it´s path.

 

When we arrive to the hide, around 6:30,  Mags was there, just like another couple, the only thing we got to know about them was that it wasn´t their first time at the hide but I don´t remember hearing the voice of any of them.

 

There was tea, coffee, water, some rusk, and bean bags and supports for the smartphones, Mags took care of our camera settings, gave us some ideas and tips and then it was time to see which animals would visit the hide and take pictures.

 

I´ll start with some birds, I´m sure there were other birds that would make birders very happy but I just chose the pictures I prefer, I must say I made an effort to try to identify them.

 

Helmeted guinea fowls don´t count as an id, they are very common and I never as many guinea fowls as in Mashatu, they are everywhere.

 

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Red billed quelea, also an easy pick

 

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This one I tried (not too hard) but couldn´t id it

 

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Cape Turtle Dove

 

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Meyer´s Parrot

 

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Grey Lowrie

 

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Natal Francolin in the middle, I think, the other bird I don´t know what it is, but the idea was to take a picture of the squirrel

 

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Edited by pedro maia

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CDL111

The photographs of the birds from the hide are excellent, especially like the ones of the quelea in flight. Cannot help on the naming of the birds as l do not have a book on birds of that country.

Edited by CDL111

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xelas

The yellow buff bird is Dark-capped Bulbul. Nice photos from the water level.

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pedro maia
3 hours ago, xelas said:

The yellow buff bird is Dark-capped Bulbul. Nice photos from the water level.

 

Thanks for the ID.

 

The fact that in the hide we would be at water level and a couple of meters from the waterhole was probably the main factor of the decision to go to there, I´ve been to a couple of hides before but never to one with such caracteristics.

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Big_Dog

More great pics, especially of the cheetah banquet. Photos crisp enough to see the hoard of flies buzzing around it!

Nice ones from the famous Mashatu hide as well. I really like the parrot, never seen one still long enough to get a pic!

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pedro maia
52 minutes ago, Big_Dog said:

More great pics, especially of the cheetah banquet. Photos crisp enough to see the hoard of flies buzzing around it!

Nice ones from the famous Mashatu hide as well. I really like the parrot, never seen one still long enough to get a pic!

 

Thanks for the comments, it wasn´t easy to take a decently focused picture of the parrot but I think that one was ok.

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pedro maia

With everything prepared at the hide we only needed the animals to show up for a drink, and impala were the first ones (if we don´t count the birds).

 

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After a long (and quiet) while, one very wary eland approached the waterhole.

 

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It took what it seemed as an eternity for him to decide that the place was safe enough to have a couple of sips.

 

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It was fun to play with the smartphone doing time-lapses:

 

 

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pedro maia

An early morning panorama of the waterhole:

 

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CDL111

It looks from your photographs that it was well worth the extra payment.

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pedro maia

Then the eland was gone and the waterhole became empty, from time to time a few impala came, had a drink, and went away again.

 

Wewere always expecting for something special to happen, but we only had some more impala

 

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And some more eland

 

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And then not even impala nor eland, at some moments not even birds, only some bees, Björk´s song It's Oh So Quiet came to my mind, now time was passing really quickly, Mags was getting anxious because she really wanted us to see special things, we were getting a bit frustrated, ten it was 9:00, youthink you still have at least half an hour and something special will happen, but no, only the occasional impala but by then we were not realy wanting to see impala, 9:15, frustration builds on everybody and we start to realize that the visit to the hide is going to finish with a bitter taste and finally 9:30 arrive, we can´t do anything but pack our stuff, the quiet couple arefisrt to get out of the hide, so does Mags and we are the last to start to climb the stairs...

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pedro maia

In that moment Mags comes downs and says "the ellies are coming", that was the special moment we´ve been waiting for all morning, it was an adrenaline rush, time to prepare again the cameras and to enjoy that las minute surprise when we didn´t expected it anymore, although the cars were ready to take us back to the camps we stayed and had one was those moments you can´t forget.

 

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pedro maia

We´ve been close to elephants before in cars, even closer, but that ground level perspective is totally different and although I´m sure they are aware of our presence they just behave naturally, as if we aren´t there.

 

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A nice mud bath, we almost got the splashes

 

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Itchy eye

 

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mopsy

Wow great finish to your safari @pedro maia

 

Mashatu certainly delivered in spades for you!

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pedro maia

It´s coming to an end but we didn´t leave the hide until the ellies letf, and even if it can be an overload of pictures I don´t resist to put here some last sequences:

 

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Another mud bath

 

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pedro maia

The snorkeller

 

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A quiet moment

 

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Feet (or should I say, hands) and trunk

 

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Ellies contact

 

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Edited by pedro maia

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pedro maia

A few videos (Mags took control of my phone during the ellies sighting)

 

 

 

 

 

Me at the hide

 

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pedro maia

Needless to say that this was a very special sighting for us, a perfect end to our journey at Mashatu, although on our way bac to camp, for brunch, apcking and leaving, we still saw this very sleepy male cheetah:

 

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Then it was time to start the long way back home, but with the clear feeling that it was a great trip, very short in time but totally worth it, with altogether the best sightings we had on a safari, Mashatu exceeded the expectations and is a place we hope to return.

 

And that´s all.

 

 

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Peter Connan

Lovely trip and great report, thank you.

 

Please could I ask what the cost of the hide session was?

 

Thank you

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CDL111

What an excellent finish to your report, thoroughly enjoyed it.

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pedro maia
21 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

Lovely trip and great report, thank you.

 

Please could I ask what the cost of the hide session was?

 

Thank you

 

Thanks Peter Connan, I’m glad you enjoyed the TR.

 

The price for the hide session was USD 75 pp.

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pedro maia
20 hours ago, CDL111 said:

What an excellent finish to your report, thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Thanks for following and for your coments.

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Peter Connan

Thank you very much @pedro maia.

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Towlersonsafari

What an enjoyable way to spend a wet Sunday morning, reading your report @pedro maia and I really love the photo's from the hide!

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pedro maia
6 hours ago, Towlersonsafari said:

What an enjoyable way to spend a wet Sunday morning, reading your report @pedro maia and I really love the photo's from the hide!

 

Just for that it was worth it to make the report, thanks formyour coments.

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