Thursday, November 2, 2017

David Bristow's book launch in Mashatu. Botswana

Time to head North...
Botswana and the David Bristow book launch lay ahead.
The 522km ride to the Pontdrift border post would take us about 6 hours, 
with the required toilet stops along the way.

The beauty of being on a coach is that you can get to nap
without the fear of crashing!
A diverse group that included people from book shops,
 magazines, and travel writers were on board.

We discovered Nirvana!
The only problem?
It was in the opposite direction to where we were headed.
Perhaps on the return trip we can investigate?

The thriving metropolis of Alldays...
There is always a roadside  hair salon in these small towns.
After dropping us at the border, our coach driver would be returning
to stay in the interestingly named "Alldays and Onions guest House." 
It was here that one of our party would have to stay...
Why?
Because it was only when he tried to clear customs
 that he discovered that his passport had expired...in 2012!

After the long coach trip,
this game drive vehicle was a welcome sight.
Not because the ride had been uncomfortable,
but it held the promise of magical wild life sightings.
And, of course, it would be taking us to the book launch as we were to discover.

We were a large group, and as a result several vehicles had to be utilized.
This gave us the opportunity to share sightings and to see more on the way to the lodge

One of the 9 cheetah that we saw on our very first game drive!
And that included 3 on an Impala carcass.

David Bristow's book, Running Wild", tells the story of a stallion. Zulu,that joined a zebra herd.
It was therefore fitting that eventually we found this individual, 
who posed momentarily,before trotting off to join the rest of the herd.
I did wonder if he might have known Zulu, the horse about whom the book was written?

Neatly packed and waiting for the launch to begin.
This almost looks like an installation piece.

In the fading light of an African sunset,
the author shares the story behind the book with the group.
I have to say that his bird impersonations certainly had the rangers impressed.
I was able to chat to David before the launch,
and this is what he had to say:

The group were entranced by David's ability to tell a tale. 
He also shared excerpts from the book with us.

I have a suspicion that he chose this place for the launch
because he knew that there was a holder for his drink.

This was the iconic moment of the launch.
6 riders from the Limpopo Horse Safaris canter into view!
These are from the same stable as Zulu and this was their homage to him,
and to the book and author.
"Lump-in-throat" time!
A moment that will remain with all of us who where there.
They stopped a short distance away while David completed his reading.

And then they walked past the group before turning 
and galloping off into the sunset

This young leopard cub and its mother were lying close to a kill,
that we discovered on the way to the launch.

There are bout 3000 elephants in this reserve,
this is one of them.
The head belongs to out ranger, Fish. A legend.
On the morning of the launch I was able to spent some time
at the photographic hide near a small waterhole.
As I had my copy of the book with me, I decided that a product shoot was in order...

This is what was "hidden" behind the book...

And THIS is how close the ellies got to us.
Over the course of about 3 hours, approximately 300 elephants visited this waterhole.
The last time I saw such numbers was in Kruger Park back in 1966.
It was an emotional experience for those of us in the hide,
and an encounter that almost reduced us to tears when the first family group arrived.

Some of our group who took a moment to express their joy at being invited.

At this time of year, the African sunsets are truly spectacular.
With the sun dipping beneath the western horizon,
it was time to head back to the camp and dinner that awaited.

To quote from the Jacana Media press release... 
"The story of Zulu is based on the life of a real stallion that lived on the Mashatu Game Reserve. The versions of the story of Zulu are about as numerous as the people who recount them. 
The horse and the myth were at times indistinguishable. 
This account of his life has been stitched together from all those stories. 
In February 2000, tropical Cyclone Leon-Eline resulted in a storm so severe that the horses of Mashatu broke out of their enclosure and roamed wild and free for days before returning. Zulu was the only one that did not return. He was thought to be lost to the scourges of the Bushveld. Years pass before Zulu is discovered to be not only alive and well, 
but running as the lead stallion of a herd of wild zebras. 
He is recaptured and returned to the safari stables as a much bolder and wiser stallion – knowledge he passes on to the other horses as well as the humans of Limpopo Valley". 

To find out more about this very special property,
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