Blown away by a private game reserve
Posted on 30 September 2015 by Sylvia
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 Shelley Morris and Peter from Australia, co-owners since 2014.
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Can you tell something about who you are, where you are from and what you do in everyday life?
We are semi retired farmers and we have just purchased a new farm with 1000 macadamia nut trees. On our last farm we ran a cross breeding cattle operation and had begun an avocado orchard of 400 trees. We live in northern New South Wales about 5 hours drive north of Sydney.
How often have you been to Africa?
I lived in South Africa many years ago, but it has only been recently, in the last 3 years, that we have visited again. Luckily I had never lost my love of it, and Peter was surprised that he was so hooked first time around.
What is it that makes Africa unique for you?
The amazing diversity of wildlife which is very different to ours here in Australia appealed to us. While we love our Australian bush and desert, Africa was something equally special. We also enjoy learning about the various cultures of the different countries. Africa has always held a bit of magic…
And what is special about Botswana and the Tuli Block?
We like the political and social stability of Botswana and the relative safety of travel. Botswana’s proximity to South Africa is also a great travel convenience, and there is the potential for additional travel to other destinations within Botswana like the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari – and the Motswana are so friendly and welcoming, always with a ready smile.
How did you find out about this private game reserve?
We read about this reserve in an advertisement in the hard cover version of the magazine Africa Geographic which was in our hotel room in Johannesburg in 2013. We really couldn’t believe what we read. At that stage we hadn’t even thought about becoming involved in a private game reserve, but the ad was so enticing, we had to find out more.
When did you decide to invest in this private game reserve?
It was May 2014. Can you say we were blown away? We were. Our ranger was just fabulous. On time every day, with blankets to keep us warm (it was coming onto winter) and his bird book handy, he packed our morning tea with flask and biscuits and had a different route planned for each game drive. Plus with the bonus of knowing what the other rangers were seeing, we had some fantastic sightings.
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?
We looked at some other reserves on the web, but we didn’t visit any. We were very taken with this private game reserve from the very beginning, and in particular with the opportunities of the involvement that it offered. We were, of course, very interested in their conservation ideals, the rehabilitation of the land, the protection of endangered species and the general feeling that they cared. The relative security of Botswana also gave us comfort.
How often do you visit the reserve?
We will try to visit at least once a year but we prefer twice! Basically we plan to visit as often as we can.
What is your favorite spot at the reserve and why?
Peter likes the hill and the fabulous vistas and the early morning river walk; the birds, crocodile and hippos are a real treat. I like the plains under the Baobab trees. Both of these places offer a sense of serenity. We also love the hides! Nothing better than sitting quietly with a hot cup of tea waiting for the animals and birds to arrive and then staying completely still when they do.
Can you describe your perfect day at this private game reserve?
Our perfect day would be to start early, have a light brekky and head out on a morning game drive to one of the hides near a waterhole where it would be nice to see the wild dogs playing in the water. After that on to the plains for morning tea and a biscuit. We would be happy to drive ourselves or have a ranger. It’s great to have the choice. Then meander back to the central facility, hopefully seeing a Giant Eagle Owl on the way, for a nice cappuccino and a swim. After a light lunch we would have a rest – either a read or a snooze. Out again in the afternoon maybe with friends for a beautiful drive and sundowners at one of the most stunning lookout points in the reserve. After that a night drive home. Seeing a leopard or lion or even aardvark would be an added bonus! To end the day we enjoy a braai and a glass of red around the fire at our lodge with friends and maybe a visit from a porcupine. A quick check to see if the bush buck is sleeping down under the shrubs near the river, and into bed for a good night’s sleep ready for the next day.
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