I’m off on a four-day weekend to Ndumo, abandoning the kids.
Leaving for school today Tom spots we’re alone, no-one in earshot.
Gives me a big hug, leans his head against my chest, “I’m going to miss you Daddy. Don’t get hurt.”
Then he looks me in the eye with a grin, “Don’t get drunk, don’t get high, don’t get the munchies” he says and saunters off to school.
Ndumo was great. Dry but lots of birds around camp and the pans walks beautiful as always.
Special sights: Skeins of gyppos and spurwing overhead; A thermal of pelicans soaring; Retz’s & white helmetshrikes, nicators, tinkers, honeyguides and honeybirds, a trogon, robins, apalii, ‘peckers, spoonbills wading, glossy ibis, lots of others.
A glimpse of a suni in the sand forest was special too. Lots of crocs, heard the hippos but didn’t see them.
There are seven huts at Ndumo and there were 14 people plus me, so friends Charles and Chris moved an extra bed into their bungalow, shipped their wives off to the next door chalet and there I was, the newly-minted pensioner among the established pensioners. And probly the best-behaved. This lot had known each other for far too long and were teenagers all over again. Dermott Beck from Bergville in the 50’s knew the Reitz’s and had been operated on under chloroform by Dr Frank Reitz in Harrismith – as had I some 12yrs later!
Luckily a lone lady camping in a pup tent on her way to Mocambique joined us – making me only the 2nd-youngest in camp.