Weddings, people, children, families and racing cars!
Aug 1

WEDDINGS…..A pre-wedding adventure in Botswana, Africa!

By julietlemon August 1 2013 - 09.54 PM

Greetings from Maun, a dusty safari frontier town in Ngamiland, Botswana, which is the setting for Liezl & Matt’s wedding on Friday.

They flew me out here a few days ago to come and photograph their celebration and pre-wedding adventure (and of course join in a little bit too!)

First up was the “Hen Do”, when the Bride-to-be’s super fun bunch of girlfriends packed onto a boat and cruised along the waters of the Thamalakane River in Maun.  It was a fun-filled afternoon and evening with lots of laughter, a few games, loads of bubbly, which of course was followed by great shapes being thrown on the dance floor of the Sports Bar until the very early hours.

The next day we went to rendez-vous with the “Stag” and his entourage at the tranquil tented camp, Meono a Kwena, which was a few hours drive from Maun.  Set on the banks of the Boteti River, the camp looked down to where a steady flow of zebra were coming down to the water’s edge to drink.  It was such an idyllic, peaceful setting, with only the cry of the fish eagles and the snorting and occassional whooping of the zebra breaking the silence.

It was great seeing all the boys and hearing about their “Stag Do” antics, where they were out in the wilderness doing their boy thing, although I’m certain they didn’t divulge the half of it!!

We spent the latter part of the afternoon on the floating hide, which was situated right where the zebra came down to drink.  It was absolutely magical watching these graceful creatures cautiously make their way down the arid river bank, kicking up clouds of dust, which was back lit by the setting sun……..sheer heaven for a photographer, so of course I was in my element!  We spent a good few hours at the hide and the time flew by so very quickly, with us leaving only because the mozzies started feasting.

Meono a Kwena was such a perfect setting for everyone to regroup and have a little bit of a chance to recover from the previous night’s antics, although it was short lived because the booze was soon flowing.

The following morning, after a hearty fry up, cooked on the camp fire, we set off in convoy to the next part of the adventure.  We encountered a few obstacles along the way like road crossing zebra, donkeys, goats and a cyclist from Japan (but that is part of another story, which I promise to go into detail in the next blog post), a veterinarian road block check point, a deep river without a bridge,  an unusually large aardvark, baobab trees and lots of sandy roads, which were perfect for getting cars stuck in…….pleased to report that the girlies didn’t sink their motor…….need we say more boys!!

We eventually made it to Planet Baobab, where we parked up and were driven into the Makgadikgadi Pans.  Having worked the safari world in Botswana a few years ago, it was pure magic being back.  Wilderness all around, the dusty air filled with the sweet smell of wild sage, the warm, rusty colours of the mopane leaves lining the dirt tracks and a piercing, cloudless, blue sky as the back drop… stunning!!!

A squadron of quad bikes awaited us and we had to navigate our way to our final destination of the day.  It was brilliant, opening the throttle and racing across the salt pans with the surrounding landscape seemingly not too dissimilar from that of the moon’s.  The sun was low and the warm rays lit the dust trail of the quad bikes as they zoomed across the barren terrain at high speed.  Here is  SUPER SPARKLY VIDEO CLIP of the quad bike action!!

The prize at the end of the dusty ride was a lit camp fire with dinner underway and celebratory liquid refreshment on ice……perfect!  It was an incredible evening, being able to see nothing but sky and the flats of the salt pans in every direction is worlds apart from London!

That night we slept on the salt pans, on bed rolls (or bread rolls!) under the night sky carpeted with stars above us and right down to the horizon.  Seing the Milky Way and the occassional shooting star from the comfort of a bed…….incredible, absolutely incredible and certainly an experience one will never forget.

We woke up as dawn broke to see the sky transform from a dark inky blue, getting lighter with the rising sun to a rich marine hue, and defrosted ourselves around the camp fire with warm mugs of Roiboos tea.  From there it was short quad bike ride to go hang out with some with some meerkats, yup…….eat your heart out Meerkat Manor!

So great to see the little wild but habituated crittters scurrying around and foraging for grubs, sipders, frogs and scorpions.  Got some great photos of the meerkats as well as them with the happy couple.

Back at Planet Baobab we all devoured a well deserved fry up before making our way back to Maun.

Now back in Maun, the final wedding preparations are in full swing.  The carefully planned logistics are being implemented and all hands are on deck for getting everything sorted, set up and built in time for Friday’s wedding.

Next you’ll hear from me will be after the wedding with a sneak peek of Liezl & Matt’s stunning African celebration, which I am soooooooooooo looking forward to and can’t wait to photograph it!!

J x

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