STEVENSFORD GAME RESERVE
Long weekend and we are on our way to the Tuli Block in Botswana. A trip which should have taken us two and a half hours, nearly took 9 hours, with 6 hours out of that battling to get through the Groblersbridge Border post. Both sides. Due to the heavy flooding the area has had, all the border posts on the Limpopo were closed and some in fact are still closed and with our luck, the Groblersbridge only opened 3 days before. Hence, heavy traffic trying to get through with staff on both sides caught unprepared. However, I will not complain too much about the standing in the sun and the frustration, as I met some nice people in the que and we had many laughs, as each one had a story or stories to tell…and what the hell..we are in Africa. If we cannot get appreciate ‘African time”, we do not belong here.
At last, we were through and another 45 minutes and we were at Stevensford Game Reserve. Stevensford is about 500km from Johannesburg (and for us from our home around 225km) in the Tuli Block and is a 4500 hectares of unspoilt bush and 3km of Limpopo River. The cottages is set in camp away from the river and in the bush and for the more adventurous, a few camping spots on the banks of the river, with basic ablutions etc. The cottages are all equipped with their own little kitchen with everything you need, a little boma with braai (barbeque) and small fire pit. The bedrooms and nice, cool and beautifully clean with fresh crisp white sheets . The chalets get serviced daily and staff lit your fire each night. All you do is cook your food and relax.
When we got there, the farm manager told us there was a leopard kill not even 200m from our chalet. Unfortunately, someone or something must have scared it off and the carcass was left. Other half went to place his night camera, in case something came back to eat or scavenge. Alas, when we checked the following morning, nothing even touched the carcass and by then the maggots were already busy with their job in cleaning up the carcass.
After checking the carcass we took a leisurely walk along the Limpopo river bank. Tons of birds and this is a twitchers’ paradise. It is wonderfully quiet and cool under these huge massive trees and you get a sense of peace, which was very welcoming after the hub of city life.
We decided to go for a morning ride at the top farm and you basically cross the ‘main’ road to the other side and enter via a gate. We were the only people there and it was just great. We had great sightings of Giraffe and also some Eland. And of course some of the usual buck as well as Zebra. Unfortunately there is no Elephant in this part of the Tuli , which was a disappointment, but I understand that there is quite a lot of agriculture in this part of the Tuli there is a fence dividing this part of the Tuli from the rest.
However, this is a place of natural beauty. The ocra red of the Kalahari soil is breathtakingly against the white of the Sheppard tree’s bark, and the bright blue sky with the green of the bush. And here you will have great opportunities for photography when the light is just right in the late afternoon. It is stunningly beautiful.
For the next 3 days this little heaven was our home and we just relaxed, walked and went for short rides. You are allowed to go for self drive night drives. However, if you do, please take in consideration the little night creatures as well as the nocturnal birds as we found a Bronze Winged Courser one morning, killed by a person who went on a night drive by themselves. This is an uncommon bird to see and it was indeed very sad seeing this beautiful bird dead, because people are irresponsible.
I will recommend Stevensford as a place of relaxation and beauty and I hope we will get the opportunity to visit again.