My Bucket List Runneth Over!!

      14/9/2022       Next-->

For many years we had been determined to visit Nottingham Citrus Estates in Beitbridge to view the incredible Elephant Encounter!! A phenomena where hundreds of Elephant walk many miles every night to join in the citrus banquet at Nottingham Estates.

Brain child of the amazing entrepreneurs Keith and Wendy Knott, this is quite the most amazing secret corner of Zimbabwe.

In the heart of the Beitbridge desert, rises an oasis of lush green grass and verdantly wooded landscape. One can take boat rides on a fabulous irrigation dam, fish to one's hearts content, visit the Estate's orange packaging plant and the juicing plant, and tour the hundreds of acres of fragrant citrus orchards.

At 4.30 pm the rumble of tractors and trailers is heard as several tons of oranges leave the packing plant en route to the 'Fly Camp'.
Set amidst a most fascinating landscape of exotic sandstone rock formations, a giant thatched shelter has been built overlooking a valley, which is already almost overrun by Eland, Baboons and Elephant waiting eagerly in anticipation of the arrival of tonight's smorgasbord.

The elephant are courteous and gracious, patiently waiting their turn, the eland lurk on the periphery knowing there is plenty for everyone, but the baboons run amok, oranges tucked everywhere, scrambling, bickering and screaming in delight as they claim their amber prizes.

There are literally tons of oranges, those rejected by the eagle eyed ladies at the sorting table. Those oranges that did not quite meet the very high standards for export to far flung countries, are brought here during the harvest season to supplement the diet of these precious animals.

A sumptuous dinner is served to the onlookers as well as to the creatures down below, as the sun sets dramatically across the kaleidoscope of colour in the sandstone. The giant geological outcrops flame violently in tones of taupe, terracotta, magenta and aureate and then settle into a magnificent golden fusion of beauty. The baboons give up their squabbling and nimbly nip up the cliff face, finding their own nooks and crannies in which to spend the night.

It doesn't take long for giant mounds of oranges to disappear into the tummies of the elephant. Trunks expertly manoeuvring each delicate morsel into dripping mouths, pretty selective in their choice of fruit to start with!!

The babies are not quite so dexterous, but they have fun rolling in the giant orange piles, and kicking the fruit around in delight. Families of Warthog run squealing between the legs of the mammoths, mouths dripping with the delicious fruit.

The eland have decided to eat on the periphery where its not too busy, and even a lone male kudu has found his way to the table.

By morning Nothing ! The elephant have departed to the shade, the eland can be seen lying down in the next door valley, only a herd of Impala is foraging in the sweet mud delicately lifting the remaining pieces of fruit and pith left behind from the main dinner guests.

It was indeed a night to remember.
Facebook : Nottingham Estate Resorts, Beitbridge Zimbabwe


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