A Year In Refection: Motswari Private Game Reserve
One year, where does the time go? With the end of 2022 in sight, we’d like to take you on a trip down memory lane, catch up our new Motswari friends, and ready ourselves for 2023.
It’s hard to believe just how far we’ve come post covid and how much life at the lodge has changed in the process. Much to our surprise, business in the tourism sector picked up very swiftly and we soon found ourselves with many heads in our beds. It would seem that travel, both locally and internationally, almost instantaneously resumed once the world found itself in a somewhat normal state. Globally, people realised that there’s no better time than the present for all those bucket list adventures, and luckily for us, African safaris appeared to be at the top of many bucket lists in 2022! As such, we welcomed many new visitors to the Lowveld for the very first time, as well as hosted old familiar faces that had been visiting Motswari for years and years. We had several guests return for their 6th, 9th and even 19th time! How amazing is that? Motswari also shared in many guests’ special moments as happy couples began their new life chapters with us. The African bush really is the most heavenly place for a proposal, don’t you think?
2022 brought change in many forms, one of them being an influx of new and returning staff members, along with some sad departures too. In reaching capacity, we were fortunate to employ and re-employ several staff members back into the Motswari family. Many structural shifts and movements within the lodge meant that our team had to adapt at every turn. Even so, the dependable Motswari family stood the test and tirelessly persisted. Talk about a star team.
Motswari would like to thank each and every team member for your endurance and dedication throughout this volatile year, we are incredibly grateful.
As in our world, so the animal world also experienced exceptional change. One significant development that springs to mind is the phenomenal addition of eight young ones to our resident Western pride. As many of you may know, this pride had been struggling to reproduce, and when successful, keep their cubs alive. It’s a very tough world out there in the bush and often times prides dwindle to a few members only. Fortunately, the Nharhu male, with hip injury and all, was able to strengthen his pride. The cubs are of various ages ranging from two months to eight months old. Naturally, they face many obstacles and threats in the wild, but we remain ever hopeful that majority of them will make it to adulthood.
This year has been undoubtedly interesting, but not without its challenges. It’s often times difficult living with animals in camp, regardless it being amazing to witness. We’ve seen some trouble makers stumble through camp ripping up water pipes, breaking electric fences and generally destroying beloved trees. Enormous tuskers, one in specific named “Tussles”, found Motswari a great place to be, but caused major havoc. He’s a spectacularly beautiful boy, but a plan had to be made. The Elephants Alive Shepard’s, an organisation working to protect South Africa’s tuskers, spent several weeks trying to discourage these bulls from wandering into camp, utilising fog horns and paintballs etcetera. Needless to say, our maintenance team had a hell a of a time, but took it in their stride. A few weeks later and Tussles is back.
With hard work came time for some fun activities as well! A few staff members including Neil, Phaswane, Jeremy and Sinhle participated in a fundraising initiative, led by the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and the Tshembo Foundation, in which they cycled 30 kilometres around our Java property. The initiative, #Forwardforconservation, aimed to raise funds for the reserve anti-poaching unit, providing them with the necessary equipment and resources to successfully protect our wildlife, and rhino in particular.
Most Sundays the Motswari zebras played some friendly footie against our neighbours, Ingwelala. It’s a brilliant outlet after a hectic week at work and builds camaraderie within the team. The atmosphere on and off the soccer field is always sociable and pleasant. Time and time again, we had guests that joined in on the fun too. A truly awesome way to end off a busy week.
Another significant activity included the Elephant’s Alive team, the Umbabat Game Reserve, WildScapes veterinary & Conservation Services, and several of the Motswari guiding team. Our generous guests at the time donated a significant amount to the care of an injured bull elephant. This meant that the bull was darted, collared and treated on the ground in less than thirty minutes. Our guests were able to experience it all first hand.
All in all, 2022 has been good to us. Motswari has seen lots of growth, many challenges and ample change, but through it all we remained encouraged, positive and committed. We would like to thank all our guests for your continued support and overwhelmingly wonderful reviews. We hope your stay with us was truly memorable and magical. We look forward to welcoming you soon again. May 2023 be kind to us all.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!