A winter stay at Watatunga!

by | Jan 13, 2024 | Watatunga Blog

We have visited Watatunga nine times since October 2020.  Our hobby is wildlife and bird photography so Watatunga is perfect for us and we were very excited when we first discovered it, just after it opened.  We always rent one of their holiday lodges which includes the use of a buggy so that we can drive ourselves around the reserve during daylight hours.  This allows us to spend as long as we want to observing the animals and birds and photographing them in different situations.  We have stayed in both Major’s Lodge and Stables Cottage and often invite other family members and friends to enjoy the experience with us.  They eagerly await the invitation to join us.

Nilgai by Phil Stone
Nile and Kafue Flats Lechwe by Phil Stone

Over the 3+ years we have stayed at Watatunga we have visited in May, June (30 degrees C), September and October, mostly for a week at a time.  We decided to make our tenth visit this January (3 degrees C) to experience the reserve in the winter.

Whatever the time of year, at whatever the time of day, every drive around the reserve is different.  We never know what we are going to see.  We hold our breath in anticipation when we drive round a bend or over the top of a hill.  We always ask ourselves – what will we be lucky enough to see today?

White Faced Whistling Duck by Phil Stone

Our winter trip was very rewarding and we are so pleased that we did it.  We knew it would be cold out on the reserve so we dressed in multiple layers and also took flasks of coffee to help us keep warm on our drives.  It was much easier to spot the animals in the winter because the trees had lost all their leaves.  The reserve was flooded after all the recent rain but we were still able to access all the areas.  It was surreal and exciting to be the only visitors in the reserve with all the animals.  We also enjoyed our interactions with members of staff when we saw them feeding the animals and at other times.

White Lipped Deer by Phil Stone
Blesbok by Phil Stone

We stayed in Major’s Lodge this time. It had everything we needed for a comfortable stay and unlike on previous occasions there was just the two of us this time. It was lovely to return after the morning and afternoon drives around the reserve into the warm house. It was so quiet at night, and it was very exciting to wake up in the morning and look out of the window to see many of the animals which live on the reserve walking past the garden fence. 

Visit number eleven has already been booked for May 2024.  We thoroughly recommend that you visit the reserve too.  You will not regret it. 

Roe Deer by Phil Stone

Written by Phil and Diana Stone
Major’s Lodge guests

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