The Mapungubwe Transfrontier Wildrun® – A three day trail running safari adventure through Zimbabwe, Botswana and South African game reserves.
Day 2 – Crossing the Shashe.
Coffee, rusks, curried eggs and Maltabella porridge cooked over an open fire, fuel the second day of our trail running adventure through the wilderness of the Mapungubwe Transfrontier Park.
We start out through the cracked, swampy fever forests, stumbling over loose stones ducking acacias, thorns raking our arms and legs, as Golden Orb spiders lie in ambush for us.
Over the first hill, the dry Shashe river bed and Botswana’s plains stretch out ahead.
We scramble and jump down onto the sand, aiming for an island in the river bed. Signing in through immigration, listing our mode of transport as “Feet”, we are rewarded by tea, biscuits and Niknaks, laid out by the ever present, knitting, SANParks honorary ranger stalwarts.
Elephants slip in and out of sight, giraffe gape and we increase our pace, kicking up dust across the flat expanses, breathing the bush as the sun bakes the land. Time warps and becomes irrelevant, we are here.
Back across the mighty Shashe plain, our feet sink into soft deep sand, the flood plain glare is broken by a fleet footed jackal, a donkey and a herd of elephant lazing in a far off pool.
Back into Zimbabwe and the Maramani community land, we pass huts in immaculately swept empty dirt yards, fringed by staked fences to ward off elephants and other marauders. Ilala palms, acacias and shepherd trees offer scant shade to goats and donkeys. Afternoon heat crystallises salt onto our skins and saps our energy. Maroela scrub and Baobabs fringe the road back into the reserve.
Finally into the Maramani Community Base Camp, cold showers, lunch and improvised loungers sporting beers on the beach, call us to watch the late afternoon. Day 2 is done and dusted, we celebrate.
That night we go down to the river with torches, gloating eyes float back at us from the bank, elephants cross and hyena prowl, the stars burst across the night sky.
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