The Mara, Mashatu, and Meerkats
Sue Bryan Leece
Saturday, 01 October 2022
Shem, Karen, and the rest of the C4 team pulled it off again! Our 4th foray into Africa, our second adventure with C4 and our first time revisiting a place we’d been to before. A 3-week trip that took us from the Maasai Mara with Shem, and Jonathan and Angie Scott, to C4 guided trips to the photohide in Mashatu, Botswana, and a private visit with Meerkats in Tswalu, South Africa. And C4 managed the travel, multiple border crossings and other logistics seamlessly leaving us to simply revel in the wonder that is Africa.
This was our second trip to the Maasai-Mara with Shem and C4. Having Jonathan and Angie Scott along as guides simply added to the magic of the Mara. Travelling with people who love the Mara and know it intimately gave us a different look at what is already a stunning place to visit. Shem, Jonathan, and Angie the Dream Team shared their vast knowledge of the area, animal behaviour and wildlife photography with understated grace, happily encouraging us to expand our comfort zone with new photo techniques, thoughts on composition and, when time allowed, post-processing. Thanks to them we came away with a deeper appreciation of the Mara and its wildlife and the challenges it faces.
From the Mara, we ventured to Mashatu, Botswana, to spend time in the waterhole photo hide. This included a 6-hour land transfer from Johannesburg to Mashatu, with Herman, who was such a wealth of information on the drive that the time simply flew by. Our C4 photoguide Aubrey, was excellent and very patiently helped us through camera settings for the hide, and made it possible to capture the types of images we’d dreamed of getting, but never figured we could. Rogers and Abel our guide and tracker were also amazing, spotting things we’d never have seen, and finding everything we’d hoped to see. We can’t thank them, or the staff at Mashatu Lodge, enough for being so welcoming and making us feel at home from the moment we arrived until we left and headed for the Kalahari.
Our final stop on this odyssey was a stay at Tswalu in the Kalahari. In planning this trip, we told Shem that we wanted to see meerkats, and right away he recommended Tswalu and he was, as usual, bang on. Nic and Hans, our guide and tracker were wonderful and more than accommodating, sometimes going to considerable effort to track and locate animals we’d hoped to see, and usually were able to find what we were looking for. And meerkats! Nic and Hans were great at making sure we had time with meerkats on a couple of occasions. And not just fleeting glimpses, but real time, up close and personal for almost three hours on one visit. As with the Mara and Mashatu, we can’t say enough about the staff at Tswalu. We felt at-home there as well, nothing was too much trouble for them. We can’t thank them enough.
Thanks to Shem, Jonathan and Angie in the Mara, Aubrey, Rogers and Abel in Mashatu. and Nic and Hans in Tswalu, we had a simply glorious time and we’ve come home with a bucket-full of images to sort and process, that will keep us in the moment for months to come!