Family & Kids, Food

Can’t Stand Prosperity

Trader Horn spoke of a fellow down-and-out in the Joburg doss house – a traveller who “made good money but couldn’t stand prosperity”. Whenever he made a commission, he’d go and get foolishly inebriated.

My TomTom has a problem with prosperity. Jess will hoard her pocket money but Tom must spend his with urgency. But how lucky am I that his idea of a splurge is to take his Monday pocket money and walk to the shops and return with a thick steak, fresh herbs and rocket, a brick of butter and coarse salt? He’ll hurry home with his loot, cook up a storm and sit down and eat it happily. He may not finish it and he definitely won’t eat our supper after that, but he’s happy as larry.

This time it was pasta with a freshly-made herb and tomato sauce.

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Life, Motorcars_Automobiles

Did You Got a Licence?

Dad, asks TomTom, When does this licence expire?

We’re sitting outside a nightclub at 11pm and he’s asking while we’re waiting for the last of the boys so we take home all eleven that we brought (yes, ELEVEN).

Dunno, let’s check, I say. I know he’s interested as we were once bust in Lesotho for an expired licence and he doesn’t want that to happen again. Those okes with guns made him nervous. Me too. Soon after that they had their 2014 coup!

September 2015, I sigh.

So I’m in the queue for my licence for the third time. The first time I sat next to an old toppie. He musta been 60 if he was a day. He was timing the transactions. Average seven minutes per person and there were 17 ahead of me, so I would have been late for work, so I left. The second time I was making good progress when I overheard from the counter “where’s your proof of address”, so I left.

This third time I have all three papers. For the bakkie, the trailer and Jessie’s scooter – those two expired in 2014! And I have my proof of address, my ID card and money.

But not enough. I had R430 and the bakkie alone is R620 so I’ll be back a fourth time with more cash.

Hell is going to be like this. Queues.

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pic of a more recent disk added later

Family & Kids, Travel, Travel Africa

(Adult eyes only) A Holiday Not to be Repeated

Take a 5-star hotel. Fill it to the brim: Every bed occupied – 2700 people. Add 760 staff.

Then lock the doors. Lock all the exits.

They call it a luxury cruise, and people queue up to go on one. They queue and they queue.

Queue to get through customs; Queue to present your ticket to get aboard; Queue to change your money to their money; Queue for meals; Queue for drinks at the bars.

Hell will be like this.

But the kids enjoyed it.

Family & Kids, Home

Oh Dear, What can the matter be?

Two teenagers got locked in the lavatory

They were there from Monday to Saturday (well, Monday 8pm to 9pm anyway).

Jess and Jordie went to the bathroom together (don’t ask – teenagers) and that was it. With Aitch-like burglar guards the window was out of the question. I tried all sorts of levering and hammering and twisting and shoving and what-have-you but no go: Had to phone the locksmith.

He came in and smashed out the innards of the lock by brute force and levered it open with a curly-shaped hook. Took him three minutes.

Everybody knew they were there (they hollered!).

Birds & Birding, Family & Kids, Travel, Travel Africa, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Hluhluwe again

Flying ants, black rhino, wild dogs and a magic unidentified raptor.

Plus impressive thunderstorms, pelting rain, dry stream beds that ended up running merrily. The Hluhluwe river changed from dry sandy bed to quite a brown torrent between Friday night and Sunday morning.

I thought ‘Augur Buzzard’ as I stopped the car just outside the reserve cattle grid gate on the main road. Three raptors were soaring in the wind welling up from a little ridge on the north of the road, right overhead.

Pale leading edge, rust-coloured trailing edge, black ‘fingers’; A falcon-like head pattern (yet not quite) and the size of a YBK or a marsh harrier). Soaring and diving spectacularly. Saw the underside mainly. Upperside I think brown-ish. Forgot to take a photo!! Foolish!

A coucal bubbling in the rain, then listening intently till his mate or rival called then immediately hunching and bobbing into his call (The girls said “Look Dad: he’s laughing!”.

Yep, three teen girls. Who were most impressed by the buffet breakfast and most unimpressed by the massive thunderclap that banged right overhead in the wee dark hours of Saturday. “Dad, I thought the thatch was going to catch fire!” says Jess. And by the lack of wifi.

Samango and vervet monkeys with babies, bushbuck, nyala, duiker, impala, zebra, francolin, longclaws, lots of buffalo, a dozen white rhino; Two eles right at the roadside each munching a tree for breakfast; Baboon; a hippo out of water; a few giraffe.

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Birds & Birding, Family & Kids, Travel, Travel Africa, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Softie

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.

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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.

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Telephone numbers

Charles and Barbara Mason B 071 201 7118 C 082 824 7653

Jimmy and Gill  J 079 581 3682 G 082 853 4958

Dermot Beck  084 556 5725

Ian  082 548 4944

Flick  083 377 3288

Heather  082 468 4133

Howard and Colleen H 083 284 9093 C 082 785 9303

Pete

Ben and Chris Gibson B 083 564 3075 C 082 463 7421

Chris & Liz Wade

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Pre-launch instructions

We are able to do

I finally managed to contact Ndumu main office on 035 591 0058 and spoke to Bongani as Mr Chris was off.

Also cell numbers (never answered!!!) 072 672 8508 082 799 1491

Bongani suggests that we bring our own water 5 – 10 litres per person / couple as they do not always have enough for sale – we are able to boil water for drinking if supplies run out.

We are able to do a Pongola bird walk, a pan walk to Shokwe or Njamithi, the rhino walk area has been very dry but depending on the rain situation we may be able to walk there.

Take comfortable shoes, hats, water bottle, sweets, binoculars, camera, bird, tree or flower books, reading matter

Cost of Landrover trip: R240

Cost of walks R120

Cost of trip in own vehicle with game guard +- ????

In the past we’ve tried to do at least an early morning and an evening game drive during our stay, but it is optional (usually one a day) or however many you wish to.

Enjoyable to do a walk a day.

It is also lovely to just sit in the camp and watch the birds.

Please bring your OWN TORCHES

Can stop at an Ultracity / or Mkuze for lunch if you wish on the Friday

The previous times we’ve been at Ndumu we worked in pairs overseeing the catering etc per day which enables us all to have ‘time out’.

We used to buy the food for everyone and costs were shared – but the past two times we allocated meals to the 4 people overseeing the catering per day and we all took different items. It worked well as we each have a fridge in our unit to store food.

There is a cook and washer up who are quite adequate – Jabulani and Ginger. If you prefer you could do some pre-cooking at home and the cook could do the rice / potatoes / vegetables / salad or whatever.

Those on duty need to give the cooks the meat / vegetable etc before we go off for walk or landrover trips in the afternoon. They need to be requested to make a fire on the ‘braai night’

Whoever is providing the dinner for the evening also provides the serviettes, dessert or chocolates and candles if so desired.

Lunches – simple – suggest either cold meat or tuna mayo / salad / rolls / cheese or whatever (can use ‘heat and eat’ breadrolls or ciabatta)

THANKS FOR PAYMENT RECEIVED AGES AGO

For 1 chalet for 2 people: Fri and Sat night R700 per night x 2 nights = R1400

Ditto Sun and Mon nights R560 per night x 2 nights = R1120

Total = R2520

ie per person for the 4 nights R1260 or per couple R2520

The cheaper 2 nights are with pensioners discount.

Not sure if anyone has arranged to go to Tembe Elephant Park after Ndumu or for a game drive whilst we are at Ndumu – distance from Ndumu probably 35 minutes travelling

Tel: 039 – 9732534 0826 512 868

Spoke to Claudette (Westville) 031 – 2670144 who does the accommodation bookings.

Info R35 per vehicle R30 per person if in 4 x 4 able to do a ‘self drive’ otherwise to book at least 24 hours before with Claudette –

Cost R800 for landrover / for 8 – 10 persons and R100 per person – would be met at the gate. Drive 11am – 2pm

HAVE A LOOK AT TEMBE WEBCAM OR ZULCAM ON THE INTERNET – BEST TIME BETWEEN 11AM AND 3PM WHEN THE ELEPHANTS ARE AT THE WATER HOLE.

Please – none of the above is cast in stone and we are all flexible and open to any other suggestions.

Many thanks,

Chris

Family & Kids, Life

The Urgent Impatience of Youth

. . and the Wilful Slackness of Old Toppies.

Soon after 16:44 yesterday Tom found me in Sportsman’s Warehouse.
“Dad! Why do you wait so long before you answer me? I whatsapp you and then you take AGES before you respond!”
Oh! How long about, TomTom?
“Hours! Or maybe ten minutes or more.”

Let’s check, shall we?

I show him the time sequence below: Three minutes total.

In his defence:
1- he was wanting me to check out a new speaker for his Rap Noise and it was really important and urgent – and he suspected I was going to say No! And he NEEDED it because today they’re travelling in the bus to play KES in Joburg!
2- he did look sheepish when he realised the enormous delays were in his head!

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