Off to Madikwe!

So this is what you do when you are about to head off to Madikwe, the private game reserve close to the Botswana border where every year your grown-up daughter and son-in-law and their friends go to play: you spend the morning before departure finishing your shopping; packing; buying booze; the afternoon checking your bins (binoculars), cameras, lenses, batteries and assorted other gear; and then in the evening heating through the confit duck legs you have bought at Woolies, gingerly opening and carefully decanting the 2006 Meerlust Rubicon you have kept perfectly cellared for over a decade (for those of you who are not South African, one of the iconic South African reds) and letting it breathe for two hours – pleasant upon opening, two hours later the Rubicon (which will cost you, according to Gareth, my son in law, who checked this on the internet, all of R1,135 a bottle, or over $100 Canadian, if you were to buy it now) was simply, richly, beautifully majestic.

And then you pour yourself a cognac, and settle down to watch Netflix, because you want the time to pass quickly (one more sleep!) before you hit the road, and turn up the music, and put the pedal to the metal en route to Madikwe.

Did I tell you Rob was back from Canada? You bet she is, and as keen to climb up into the Land Rover, and head off on the first of many game drives tomorrow as I am.

There will be photographs, and anecdotes – but only after we have first drunk it all in. Every minute, every breath of air, every smell of it.

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