We encourage all guests to experience the beauty of floating down the Matlabas River on our Miss Mara water safari, so that they get to enjoy a wildlife experience that is different to a game drive.
While on Miss Mara, we tend to focus more on bird and aquatic life, as opposed to the game that we see when on a drive.
However, we are often able to combine all of the above.
On a particularly warm winter’s day, field guide Mauritz, along with his 4 guests, was scheduled to be taking Miss Mara down the river in the afternoon. Having heard various different elephant calls on the radio, Mauritz and I made a plan to bring the regular boat time forward in an attempt to try and see the elephants swimming, or enjoying a nice refreshing drink.
After some time at Marataba, us guides are able to collate our knowledge of animal behaviour and monitor patterns in order to understand specific animal movements in the reserve. It was instinctive to Mauritz that the elephants would most likely be swimming somewhere along the river as the day was so hot.
Luckily, we were not let down by the animals and within 10 minutes of being on Miss Mara, we found elephants fully submerged and swimming in the river. It was fantastic to see different herds of all shapes and sizes come down to drink and play in the river over an hour and a half period.
After an amazing time spent with what we estimate to be approximately 80 elephants down by the river, we turned and headed back to the dock, where we were then treated to one of Marataba’s famous sunsets.
As the golden orange sky reflected off of the water we, quite literally, sailed off into the sunset.
Words and images: Oliver Rendell