A reserve like no other
Posted on 12 May 2015 by Part of Africa
Part of Africa is your gateway to a magical private game reserve in the Tuli Block in Botswana. Every month we ask a fellow co-owner to let us know why he or she decided to invest in this reserve. This month we had the pleasure of interviewing Mauro and Francesca, co-owners since May 2012.
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Can you tell something about who you are, where you are from and what you do in everyday life?
My name is Mauro Odolini, I am 31 years old, I am married to Francesca Negri and we have two children aged 3 and 2 years. We live in Brescia, a city near Milan in northern Italy. I work in the family business; we have a chain of supermarkets, sports shops and electronics. I’ve always been a lover of nature, travel and adventure. In my free time I also play volleyball and love skiing. My wife and I love cycling and long nature walks, and of course, it’s not always possible because we have two young girls but luckily they are slowly starting to follow this passion. I am also training to become a Safari Guide with AIEA (L’Associazione Italiana Esperti d’Africa), I have finished the theoretical course but I have yet to take the exam. Me and my wife like to prepare dinner, my wife is a great cook, and we love the company of friends!
How often have you been to Africa?
I was in Africa the first time in 2009 during my honeymoon in South Africa and the Seychelles; this has always been a dream of ours. From that trip both my wife and I fell in love with Africa and this passion only kept on growing – we were ‘bitten by the African bug’! In 2010 we visited Tanzania to see the parks of Selous and Ruaha, another wonderful experience! In 2011 we were in Kenya and we did travelled from the coast to the Kilimanjaro, passing through the Tsavo until arriving in Amboseli. Finally in 2012 I visited the reserve for the first time and in 2013 I went back again.
What is it that makes Africa unique for you?
The thing that struck me most about Africa was the ease with which it is able to convey that sense of “real” life; a lot of us have lost that feeling or maybe even have never felt it before. Being able to personally see and touch where we come from, to feel our roots as if we woke up suddenly from a long sleep, and realize that the reality is this, unvarnished. Listen to the morning dawn or in the evening at sunset the “loud silence” that only nature can give.
And what is special about Botswana and the Tuli Block?
The thing that fascinated me about the Tuli Block was the scenery, the pure natural beauty of that part of Botswana. The impact of tourism is very low and the reserve still has its authentic nature on display. And the climate is very nice and pleasant during most of the year.
How did you find out about the reserve?
I found out about the reserve thanks to my wife. During our research on Africa she found a magazine (Africa Geographic) and in the magazine we read about the reserve.
When did you decide to invest in the reserve?
I decided to invest in the reserve almost immediately, I went home to take care of the paperwork’s but the decision was made immediately after the first visit.
What was the main reason for you to invest in this reserve? Did you also visit other reserves in your search for a place/reserve to invest in?
After several trips to Africa as a ‘classic tourist’, I knew it was not enough for me anymore. We were looking for something more special, something that would allow me to do what I couldn’t do anywhere else. Being able to participate in conservation projects, start a project with the help of other shareholders joined by a single wonderful goal; to have the exclusivity of being able to live more directly and personally in the true nature and Africa. And being able to do all this without feeling the obligation or need to manage a reserve as large as our reserve by myself; unthinkable in my life situation.
After finding out about the reserve I did not feel the need to search for other similar reserves, this was it.
How often do you visit the reserve?
I visit the reserve, about once a year depending on work and the girls. As soon as they are older we are going to show them Africa. We cannot wait. We want to show them that live is a great adventure. We are engaging them already. It’s fun to think that they know wild dogs, leopards and hyenas better than the traditional farm animals!
What is your favorite spot at the reserve and why?
During all my travels to Africa I had never seen a leopard, until I went to our reserve. They are by far my most favourite animals that I’ve always try to spot! The reserve was like finding leopard paradise! The leopard-monitoring project allows you to always be up to date and to personally follow the growth of the population of this beautiful animal! I still remember the thrill of my first leopard and I must thank the reserve for this!
Can you describe your perfect day at the reserve?
My perfect day starts with waking up early in the morning; a quiet breakfast watching the river flow and then a nice walk a long the river bank watching hippos, crocodiles, fish eagles and all those animals that are usually hard to spot when you’re in a 4×4. The freedom of being able to walk around in you’re own reserve, just listening to the sound of nature – it’s a unsurpassed feeling. This is followed by a brief visit to a stakeout in front of a waterhole, observing the animals having a drink. Dining and relaxing at the lodge in the early afternoon, reading a book or maybe even having a dip in the pool to cool off. In the afternoon leaving for a safari by jeep waiting for the evening trying to find the nocturnal predators like leopards, aardwolf and all the other animals that are most active during the evening. After a bit of relaxation and a hot shower at the lodge, leaving for a dinner in the bush under the stars, watching the wonder of the Milky Way and listening to the sounds of nature. Spotting eyes hidden in the bush that reflect the light of the stars, a unique experience!
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Are you inspired by this story and do you want to read more stories like this one? Go to our Blog.
Do you want to get a real taste of what it feels like to be a co-owner of this unique reserve? Go on our digital safari.
Or go to Contact if you want to contact us to get more information.