The Makuleke Concession... In my opinion the most beautiful and inspiring 24 000 hectares in South Africa. There is a certain feeling one gets when you are in the wild, well if you care for it at least, it is all consuming, it is powerful, it is beautiful. There is no place that I have yet found that gives me this feeling in a stronger way than this area nestled between the Kruger National Park, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Myself and my gorgeous better half, Brittany, recently booked a 7 day birding in the bush course through Ecotraining. I had luckily been to this camp on a couple of occasions and I had always told her of the wander and beauty of the concession. Maybe I even rubbed it in every once in while. So when the chance came for us to book this course we jumped at it (We had previously wanted to use this time to travel to Thailand but when it came to it we felt we made the much better choice). Makuleke is a mecca for birders the world over. I recall once atlasing with the great Bruce Lawson and getting 104 bird species (by call and sight) within an hour of walking into the majestic fever tree forest! It is a place I find hard to describe. Imagine a place of immense heat, gorgeous open flood plains, deep secretive gorges, ridges in the backdrop, of course the fever tree forest, a labyrinth of pale green fever trees, Ann Trees, Creepers, Fig trees and the odd hidden pan of water spanning some 8km in length, and finally the mighty Limpopo River, the boarder in the north and east. It is a place you have to see for yourself. There is no "buts" and "ifs" just go - you will thank me. Our 7 days consisted of either walking or game driving around the area twice a day with lectures and talks during the day and well birding, birding to the max. I want to say sadly but it is no sad fact that Makuleke has received more than its annual rainfall over the last couple of months but this has made it, for the moment, one hell of a place to walk. The grass is long, very long. The fever tree forest is impenetrable due to 6 foot high grass and the flood plains are muddy marshes (all the better for testing those new hiking boots). The green is stunning and it comes in every shade you can imagine. The place is alive on every level, it is teaming. In the past I have only ever seen Makuleke in the sate it is usually in, dry, bare and gorgeous. It was a shock to see the change! None the less it was an absolutely magical experience, one we will not soon forget. I even used the opportunity, on the banks of the Limpopo river, looking across into Zimbabwe to get down on one knee and ask my amazingly gorgeous and wonderful lady to marry me. The silly woman said yes for some reason! We will be back Makuleke, until next time, I will miss you deeply.