Mfolosi Day Trip

A drizzly day, not much to report. I was learning about the new little Canon pocket camera. Haven’t worked it out yet. When we got home I saw it took video all the time we thought we were just focusing for still shots!

So aiming for this:

Cape (glossy) Starling

We got this (except much longer):

Martial Eagle and Common (steppe) Buzzard

Also, I lost my tracker! Jess is normally heads-up, spotting everything and saying “What’s that?” and all I have to do is ID what she’s spotted. Today her head was firmly down, eyes glued to her cellphone. “Dad, there’s no signal!” and “Omigod! I got two bars! Oh, they’re gone!”

There’s a boyfriend, see.

Bummer. That’s why I made the feature pic an Impala bum.

Mfolosi day trip Jan 2019

Ah! Now I see: I had the camera on Hybrid Auto mode, “whereby 2-4 seconds of video is captured before each still image and later combined into a 720p digest movie chronicling your day.” That’s what I saw and wondered where it came from!

Wilderness Walk – Mfolosi: The Gentle Art of Lurking

Our two walks in the wilderness with the Taylors, Foggs, Janice Hallot and Gayle Adlam blur into one and I have got the photos all mixed up, so here are some more memories from 1999 or 2005.

On the drier of our two walks there was little surface water about, so around the campfire one night . .

Supper, great food, great wine, comfy chairs.       Story (and snory) time now

. . when my companions were suitably lubricated, I put one of my (many) pet theories to them. Tomorrow, instead of walking about scaring the animals, let’s go to that waterhole we saw where a stream joins the Mfolosi river and get comfortable and simply lurk there till lunchtime! Let the animals come to us. Who’s in favour?

To my surprise and delight they were all so mellow and agreeable they voted in favour and we did just that. It was wonderful! We got comfortable a nice distance from the water and watched as all sorts of birds and animals came to drink. My idea of heaven: Lurking with telescope, binoculars and books!Mfolosi Wilderness walk 1999 & 2005.jpg

These were slackpacking walks, so our kit was carried to the outlying camp by these handy bongolos. Here you can see Dizzi looking for her luggage, saying “Where’s my bongolo? Why don’t they have number plates?”

Dizzi seeks HER bongolo

On the wetter walk it got hot one day and we asked our Rangers if we could swim. They said they knew just the spot. Miles later we got to the river at their swimming hole. But it was occupied:

Mfolosi Wilderness walk 1999 & 2005 waterhole collage

Two buffs, an ele and a lioness had all had the same idea. We didn’t argue with them, we trudged on. Miles later we crossed the river again, and had a swim. Sort of. Luckily no pictures were taken. These were of a shoes-off river crossing, footwear and footprints:

Wading the Mfolosi

The walks end with a last night back at base camp. We had left celebration supplies there in anticipation.

Mfolosi Wilderness walk 1999 & 2005-002

Then a champagne breakfast kombi drive before we left the park.

Champagne all round! And there's a shot of Aitch the photographer at last!
At last photographer Trish is in a photo – behind Jon’s champagne glass


imbongolo – donkey

Denyse took most of the lovely animal photos

Nature Red in Tooth and Claw

Memory is a Dodgy Business. I remembered the scene so clearly. Standing next to a fresh buffalo carcase red with blood; looking around, nervous that the lions who had obviously recently killed it might come back and be annoyed with us for putting our feet on its lunch.

We were on a walk in the beautiful wilderness area of Mfolosi game reserve; no roads and restricted access; accompanied by our two armed Rangers we weren’t in any specific danger, but the feeling of ‘we’d better be careful’ was there, and I kept scanning the area around us.

Or that’s how I remembered it over the years. An actual picture painted a different picture! Photographic evidence of how dodgy one’s memory can be and how the years can enhance it! The top picture was sort of my memory; Here’s the actual carcase: No lion would want to look at it! Nor a hyena, nor a vulture! Only detritivores would still be interested in those horns n bones!

NOT Jonathan's picture - his was film-less

Aitch took the picture with her point-and-shoot Nikon. Our group photographer is the colonial Tarzan-like oke on the left. He had the penis-substitute camera and bossed us around and lined us up and made us pose (poeseer, he said), and fiddled with his f-stop. A purist, he was still deeply into film and darkroom development theory. So where’s his picture?

He’d forgotten to put film in the camera. We have not let Taylor forget it.


Here’s the moth that will get to those horns in time:

Ceratophaga vastella

and whose larvae will make them look like this:


Mfolosi Again

Friday, December 20, 2013, pete swanepoel wrote:

Went back to Mfolosi today. Kids were mad keen, especially Jess. Determined to see a lion.

So we did. A lovely big male. I thought that’ll keep her quiet for a while. Only to find out later that dear old silent-one Jess couldn’t see it but didn’t say anything at the time!! There was a car blocking her view and she didn’t say a word! Had a quiet drizz in my arms at the picnic spot afterwards! Ai! Die Kinders! (Tom would have raised hell if HE couldn’t see it).

To my embarrassment I notice I took 44 pics – and not one of the kids!


Mfolozi Thurs-004

Steve wrote:
Haai. Next trip make sure Jess is in the front seat and has charge of the binoculars!

Wendy’s sister Gail (remember she used to be a bit of a princess Di lookalike)’s younger son Keenan works as a cadet ranger at a game farm near Hoedspruit way up north. Takes pictures of the wildlife and enjoying it.

My Jessie had choice of seat, being the oldest, and has her own binoculars. All she needed to do was squawk and we could have edged forward by a metre or so but she froze. As she does. The good thing is now we’ll have to go back!

It gets hot but nothing Sahara. I don’t use aircon in the bush. We drove north in October, which the Zims call suicide month, without once switching the aircon on. All windows down is all. When it gets too stinking hot wet towels work amazingly well.

My godson Gary Hill worked as a ranger at Mala Mala for a couple years. Also had a ball, took lots of pics and ran their blog. Loved it, but has moved on. They pay shit and prospects are few, so after a while its comes time to move on.
Find his swansong here:

Brauer wrote:

Lyin’ and dandelion??

Surely they don’t qualify as communities. It’s a collective noun and don’t they only apply when there are more than five of them? (The kids had said ‘Dad! Don’t stop here!’ I asked why not. ‘Too many “communities” Dad!’ What?! Look at the “communities,” Dad!’ they said, pointing at the local people. I shook my head and asked them when they last looked in a mirror!!! Pests!).

“WE sang rap”?? Must have been THEY and then the old toppie serenading them with a bit of Mama Mia accompanied by eyerolling.


Hey, WE sing: 

I woke up in a noo Bughatti

I woke up in a noo Bughatti

I woke up in a noo Bughatti

I woke up in a noo Bughatti

I woke up in a noo Bughatti

I woke up in a noo Bughatti


My nigger, bad nigger , my nig nig nigger
My nigger, bad nigger , my nig nig nigger
My nigger, bad nigger , my nig nig nigger
My nigger, bad nigger , my nig nig nigger
My nigger, bad nigger , my nig nig nigger

I gonna PICK the world up and gonna drop it on yo fuckin head

What? You don’t know the classics?

Mfolozi Thurs


PS: Later Jess told me she HAD seen the lion but just not as well as she’d have liked to!

PPS: My favourite sighting was the meadows full of flowers. They were amazing!


Pics of my “communities” on other trips:

Hlu Feb'14 (52)

Hlu Feb'14 (68)