Africa, Aitch, Birds & Birding, Travel, Travel Africa

Maputaland Meander

Aitch was impressed: Luxury with Wilderness Safaris at Ndumo, grub and game drives laid on. Aitch had fun with the giraffe’s dong. So where we going next? she asks. “You’ll see”, I say. Hmm, she said, knowingly, raising one eyebrow but saying no more . . .

 

We were in a magic Isuzu Trooper kindly loaned to us by Mike & Yvonne Lello and were on a Maptuland Meander. Leaving Ndumo we drifted east to Kozi and inspected the campsites, then drove on to Kozi Bay Lodge. “I’ll just run inside and arrange things,” I said, optimistically.

So I walked into the lodge and came out and said “We’ll just camp outside the gate, I brought a tent!” Ha! You hadn’t booked! Aitch announced triumphantly. She’d known all along. She actually loved it. She didn’t really mind the roughing it and the uncertainty and she LOVED catching me out and teasing me about my disorganisation.

She says there was a bit of muttering and a few mild imprecations erecting the unfamiliar tent. OK, some cursing, she said. Loud cursing.

Borrowed Lello's tent, too

We drove to Kosi mouth:

ndumo-kosi-mabibi-isuzu-1

Then onward, southward. Where we staying tonight?, she asked sweetly. “You’ll see,” I said. Hmm, she muttered knowingly, raising one eyebrow. Well, let me just say ONE thing: We are not staying at Mabibi. The newspapers have been full of stories about bad guys at Mabibi. “Izzat so?” Yes. We can stay anywhere but Mabibi.

Well Rocktail Bay Lodge was also full and we drove on as evening approached. The fire watchtower man had knocked off and was walking home. We stopped to ask directions, then gave him a lift so he could show us the way. He settled down into the bucket seat, pushing Aitch onto the gear lever.

You’re going to Mabibi, aren’t you? said the all-knowing one. “Well, there’s nowhere else,” I mumbled. When we got there she surprised me by saying Let’s just sleep under the stars, I’m too tired to pitch the tent. So we did. My brave Aitch! Here she is next morning.

Mabibi Camp. Aitch aziz

What a lovely vehicle was that Isuzu Trooper! What magic Maputaland roads!

 

Lift! Lift! Sure! Hop on! It’s Lello’s car!

Lift!! Lift!!

One more night, in relative luxury, if the little wooden cabins at Sibaya camp can be honoured with description! and we hit the ugly highway home. A very special place Maputaland.

 

 

Africa, Family & Kids, Motorcars_Automobiles, Travel, Travel Africa, Wildlife, Game Reserves

A ‘Bhangladeshi’ Christmas

My bad. We arrived at the Mocambique border with Tommy’s passport, birth certificate, Aitch’s death certificate, my application for Tom’s unabridged birth certificate plus the receipt for same. No go. They wanted his unabridged birth certificate itself, or a letter saying we’d applied for it. “But here’s the application and the receipt”, I protested. In vain.

So its Christmas day and we’re looking for a place to stay. It felt kinda biblical. Reminded me of a story I’d heard in my youth. Everywhere we went was full. We drove on to Bhanga Nek, sandwiched between the big Kosi Bay lake and the beach. I’m in my element in a brand-new Avis rented Ford Ranger 4X4 with six forward gears and push-button 4X4 transfer case on the Maputaland Coastal Reserve’s sand roads. Kids would rather be in a different element, truth be told.

We get to the Bhanga Nek Beach Camp. Full. We drive to the Community Camp. Full, thank goodness: What an uproar! Everyone has spent their entire bonus on grog and they’ve already imbibed half of it. All are noisy, some are already staggery at noon.

Savanna & Jess on the beach at Bhanga Nek

Thulani sees me and lurches over, ice clinking in his glass. “I have a place where you can stay” he says. I ask the whereabouts and recognise it as a village we passed a couple of kms back. He hops in and guides me there. Doesn’t spill a drop of his drink on the bumpy road. He’s done this before.

Bhanga Nek Map

It’s a lovely rustic chalet. We eat and sleep. Not a single mozzie! It has been booked for that night so we’re back on those wonderful sand roads in the morning, vehicle in 4WD High Ratio second gear and easing along like a dream.

“Wow! I say, “Look at that!” Huh? What? “That view!” Oh, Yes Dad. Whatever.

Bhanga Nek Xmas
Bhanga Nek beach and cottage

The drive back was along my favourite roads in Africa, through coastal grasslands dotted with umdoni trees. Paradise. Easing along effortlessly in 4WD high ratio second gear, barely touching the accelerator, barely touching the steering wheel, the tyres guided in the twin tracks in the sand. Again, I said to the kids “Isn’t this amazing!?”

“Huh?” they said, looking up and looking around. “What?”

Pearls before swine.

Thanks, strayalongtheway.com for the beaut image

We cut through Mkhuze game reserve on the way home and see three of the youngest little warthoglets we’ve ever seen ‘on the hoof.’ Tiny little piglets running next to Ma with tails erect. “Look! They’ve got signal” the kids said enviously.

Kosi to Mkhuze map with warthoglets

A week or two later, back home, I overheard Tom mocking my organisational skills, and telling his mate “My Dad took us to Bangladesh for Christmas.”

*sigh* At least they do love their home, that’s no maybe!

Family & Kids, Home, Travel Africa

Thutty Yizz! (that’s ’30yrs’ to you)

Aitch never held my culinary skills in high regard. Her favourite meal to mock was my chicken-onion-n-potato-in-a-pot special which she described as pale and tasteless. It wasn’t. It just looked bland. With enough red wine taken internally it was fine.

She was right about my braaiing skills, though. Luckily Tom’s genes skipped back about seven generations to when burning dead animals on a naked flame was considered an advance in civilisation, not like I believe it to be: a pointless exercise now that Eskom has been invented. So he is now my braaiing stunt double.

Tom braais

To show that I’m an early adopter, I’ll have everyone know that when Aitch met me back in ’85 there was already an AEG microwave ensconced in my bachelor flat, faithfully re-heating coffee, poaching eggs and heating up the half hamburgers I would find on my chest after a good night out.

Which same microwave gave up the ghost this week. That’s correct. My AEG microwave, bought on 26 March 1984 fizzled on me on the 26th of March 2014. How’s that for hi-fidelity?

And just to show I really will avoid playing the primitive pyromaniac if I can help it, here’s a picture of me pulling my shirt to hide that same microwave behind me at Kosi Bay, Zululand ca 2002. I snuck it into the kombi knowing their campsites had Eskom power and knowing that heating up Tommy’s bottles was a fiddle without it.

microwave in Kosi Bay 2002

Update: Now I’m pissed off it packed up after only 30 years:

93-yr-old woman is pissed off her oven packed up after only 53 years!

In 1963 John F Kennedy was president of the US, the Beatles had released their first album, and Winifred Hughes of Crewe, then 39, paid £79 for an ultra-modern Belling Classic electric oven. It turned out to be an amazing bargain. Winifred,­ now 92, used it almost every day since and, she says, “it never let me down”. Sadly, just last week, the thermostat finally gave up, and Winifred says she is “heartbroken” her beloved Belling is no more.

53-yr-old stove

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Peter Brauer wrote:

“…which she described as pale and tasteless. It wasn’t. It just looked bland. With enough red wine taken internally it was fine.”

Wasn’t she talking about you??

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Terry Brauer wrote:

You truly are the nuttiest oke I know. For a greenie this is like true confessions. Nuking your food.

Go Tommy! You inherited your mother’s skills . .