A handful of CN&CO teamsters and friends set off to Botswana recently to enjoy a week in the splendid African bush.

The accommodation at Eagle’s Nest and game sightings in the Mashatu Game Reserve, wedged in the sticky-out bit of eastern Botswana between Zimbabwe and South Africa, were out of this world! We had the perfect group of people to enjoy laughs – and G&Ts! – aplenty. And it was a real thrill to dust off our passports after almost two years of non-use!

A big shout-out to our ranger, Justice, whose unbelievable eyes spotted the most obscure sightings, including a chameleon in a tree (in the dark) and a pearl spotted owl hidden in a bush 30 metres away.

Other noteworthy sightings included a cheetah kill, a leopard playing with an impala foetus (not for the faint-hearted), an African wildcat with her kitten, a leopard chilling with a leopard tortoise, a five-member lion pride, a close call with a juvenile leopard, a baboon catching and eating a red roman, a terrapin ménage à trois and more baby animals than you can shake a Mashatu branch at.

As the name of the reserve suggests, the area is populated by many, many Mashatu trees (pictured above), a favourite hangout spot for leopards and pythons. According to Justice, the word mashatu means “mother of snakes”, although the Internet would have one believe it means “land of giants”. Whatever it means, Mashatu is a magical place, teeming with game that seemed to be putting on a show for us around every corner.

We had some superb photographers in our number, including Tanya Briers, Michele Sparkes, Rikus Kok and Michael McCann. Here’s a selection of their pics – better than a thousand words:

If you ever visit, be sure to scratch your name onto a rock and add it to the pile on top of Disappointment Koppie. According to legend, this will ensure your safe return to Mashatu.

Oh, and here’s the obligatory #kakselfie: