Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Monday, 22 October 2012


Milli is our host and has chosen CLOUDS as our theme. 

"Every cloud has a silver lining" 
they say, we must hope so, as we are close to the end of Multiply. 


Sorry am a bit late with this one, Sue is hosting and was kind enough to send me an invitation to join in again. I have just been so silly stupid busy........................

The theme is :


We are in full spring here, where all the flowering trees are just abundant with colours

The Jacaranda is a favourite of mine as it heralds the start of my summer in October with lovely lilac blossoms springing out all over what days before was just another boring empty tree. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012



What does this mean, you often see it, people often claim to be .........

Proudly South African. 

We wear our flag on our chest as a pin 
 and wave it at sports centres, supporting our Bokke. 

 We even wrap the flag around us and dance in the street welcoming our sports heroes home

We get together over a traditional braai and we claim only South Africans braai like this. 

All over the world, you can feel that special South African spirit, when they come together to celebrate.

But is that Proud South Africans???  Then why are they not here, why overseas? Better money? The crime here?? I have no idea and I am not going to judge them for not being here, where we need them. Need their skills that are now so in shortage, need their votes. Yes, suppose I am having a bit of a dig on our White South Africans, that have left the country, that was actually not my original intention, but it is all so interwoven in what I am trying to say here, and I will most probably be wildly unpopular yet again, in certain quarters, but so be it.

Proudly South African,"is the “buy local” campaign launched in 2001 by government, organised business, organised labour and community organisations (the constituencies represented in the National Economic Development and Labour Council – Nedlac) to boost job creation and pride in “local” by promoting South African companies and their ‘homegrown’ products and services.
Buying South African stimulates an increased demand for locally-produced products and services. This translates into the safeguarding of existing employment opportunities, economic growth, and the creation of more quality employment opportunities in our country."  

I am digressing again, but I tend to do that, when on my soap box or excited or angry about something , it gets all muddled up in my head. I really need a voice recorder, as I started this Friday early morning, just after Russell had strangely made a comment, right on the button of what I was so irritated about in the first place.

First of all, I had a nasty tin of tomatoes the other day and me being me, phoned the Consumer Line number on the tin. I told them the trouble and also stressed they should check their quality control system, whereupon I am now asked to relay some numbers on the can. While looking for that I noticed " Made in China". Now WTF is wrong with South African tomatoes ????  This is a South African  store, who makes a big hue hey in adds about Proudly South African and this is their house brand which is R 3 cheaper than the Koo and All Gold. 

Now I am angry, so I check my pantry.................well guess what, there is 2 stores to where I am not setting my foot again. Really , Mielie pips "Made in Thailand" what is wrong with our South African milie  ????? For those of you not in the know, Mielie is Maize, yellow maize pips,  sweet mielie or sweet corn also called here. 

We have thousand of acres of land that could be planted with Maize and Tomatoes , if the problem is that we do not produce enough and thousands of people out of work that could work it !!!!!

Tinned Shredded Tuna Fish , same store different brand , also cheaper by R 2-3 than John West, which is not SA anyway, but imported from England. We have Tuna here ! We have fishermen out of work, trawlers lying keel up !!!  I ask you !! 

Tinned mushrooms, bought actually to take to Zimbabwe for Michelle, "Made in China" also asparagus. I simply don't get it, I can go to Fruit and Veg City and buy mushrooms year round fresh, so why must we get tinned from China. 

I buy very little tinned or frozen foods as we can get most things fresh year round. I do buy Chinese Noodles and Soya when I want to cook a Chinese inspired meal, which is seldom, though. The kids like it, so for them at times. 

If wanting to cook an authentic Italian meal, I look for Tomatoes from Italy, they somehow taste better in the middle of our winter, but most year round we can get it all fresh , right here, grown , produced and packed in South Africa.  

Okay you get where I am coming from ??  We have a huge labour force out of work a corrupt government who is in cahoots with the Far Eastern Block. Thailand, Indonesia, China, Korea and Vietnam in particular. In 2001 , thousands of textile workers were laid off here, hundreds of factories closed, when they started bringing in Chinese clothing and fabrics. 

We have the same scenario in the Stationery business, we are in Office Supplies, so am experiencing this first hand. Several factories has closed, pencil makers, pen makers, paper suppliers, metal workings, it is cheaper to bring it in from China than making it here. To me that is not the point !!!! The quality is lousy and the control of it is bad. We sell paper folders for example, but I cannot guarantee the colour or the shade will be consistent  it varies from batch to batch, so I have attorneys and accountants who are particular about a specific shade of red or blue and what they like and I look like an idiot when I now deliver a different shade. Try to explain to them that you do not manufacture it, it does not get manufactured here anymore, you have no control over the shade, forget it. This is what they want, find it ! 

Charity starts at home, I feel and we have so many unemployed people, if they all have work , they will also spend money and our economy could right itself. Since 1994, the South African Rand has constantly weakened, our inflation rate is sky high and all our costs of basic staples has rocketed as has the petrol price. Strangely though............ Clothing, Home Appliances from an iron to a fancy television has not gone up.  Recently we did a new basic price list, most of our items had not changed since 2009, the cost was the same or lower. A lot had come down. Our overheads are up though, petrol, wages, electricity , water, vehicle maintenance etc. So how can we hold the prices, we have to though as competing against the big boys, who are working on sales figures, not profit margins. 

I digress yet again..................

Now that I had that gripe, of course here comes a couple of our friends to visit, they are originally from Britain, but has lived here for years, 2 of the children are born here as well. The talk turns to Zuma and elections, don't they know , we are now on dangerous rocky ground, one of them remarks that nothing has changed the k....... are the same as always. 
M here explodes, on my soap box........... "what did you do today, to make a difference" and off we go.............why can I not just keep quiet, asks my  man later. 

I cannot understand these people , they come out here, live the good life, buy a house a car, the children go to school here, but they hold onto their British Passport for dear life. They cannot vote, as not citizens, they go HOME every year on holiday, they do not speak the language, neither Afrikaans or any of the black languages. They watch BBC news, do not know anything about what goes on in the country and is not interested either  Most food stuff is fancy imports , like we get back home, olives, cheeses, jams and  preserves. High tea is observed every afternoon ( I laugh, I cannot help myself ) Holidays are spent in the most expensive private reserves and we do the theatre and the shows when overseas performers come out. They have no clue who is Johnny Clegg or Freshly Ground and would rather die than watch Pasella or Noot vir Noot. 

 They constantly complain about the state of affairs in South Africa. How we get ripped off with out high costs of living, the lazy natives etc. ooooops, here goes M's mouth again "if it is so bad here, why don't you go back to England"...the man reckons maybe it is time for us to break up the party.

Denmark do not allow dual citizenship! When I become a South African Citizen (have now tried for years to get accepted) I will loose all Danish privileges  mind you I cannot just move back there, no, would have to apply and am not legible for a Danish pension either, I cannot vote there either, have been away for too long, so what is the point?

 I have lived here since 1975 and am not going anywhere. I am South African and the biggest gripe I have with my British friends is that they can have both and could help make a difference, come voting day! 

You know you are going crazy when the voices in your head starts arguing, right?

This whole thing is so complex I cannot make sense of it myself, so if I made no sense to you the reader either, very understandable. 

Off my soap box, back to work I go. Things to do. 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Photos of October by Bensusan Photography Museum, Newtown.

While searching for more info on my new treasures came across the museum of photography in Newtown. 

every month they post relevant old photos, thought I would share October with you. 

October is Transport Month, in which the government and other organisations aim to address issues around road safety, accessibility, public transport infrastructure, and sustainability. For this month, Museum Africa looks at some of the different early modes of transport in Johannesburg and Gauteng.

‘Parking ground, Loveday Street south, c1955’
The first motorcar to run in South Africa was a Benz Voiturette, and it received a rather lukewarm welcome. However, by the mid-1950s, Johannesburg residents had over 117,000 motorcars between them. Makes such as Austin, Hillman, Chrysler, Buick, Studebaker, Citroën and Morris would have graced the city’s roads.

'Horse tram of the ‘Toast Rack’ type, 1898'
From c1891 to February 1906, Johannesburg streets were traversed by horse-drawn trams, pulling passenger coaches on metal wheels and tracks. Two of the outer tram terminals on the service were those of Fordsburg and Bree Street. Operated by the Johannesburg City and Suburban Tramway Limited, in 1906 the tram system was converted to electrical power, thus decreasing the strain taken on the horses as they tried to negotiate the increasingly steep and windy roads of a rapidly developing and expanding Johannesburg.

'Zebra…coach, c1890'
In the nineteenth century, an inter-town mail coach service based in Pietersburg (now called Polokwane) called Zeederberg and Co. used a mixed team of zebras and mules to pull its loads from Pretoria and the Northern Transvaal across the border to Botswana and Zimbabwe. Zebras were later abandoned as transport, as they were regarded as being too difficult to discipline, and too stubborn to control.

Interesting ?????

Friday, 19 October 2012

A Smile and a Flag - repost

I got up early this morning at 6am to go down to the clinic for my half yearly blood tests, which has to be done fasting. Showered, dressed, just a bit of face cream and eye liner on, into the car and out of here by 6.30 am. .......it was cold this morning, minus 1 C the temp said and there was frost on the grass by the church when I passed. 

Going onto the main road I marvelled at the early sunrise,  just glowing over the koppie and the sun shining into the car gave me a warm feeling of happiness. 

I am always a early riser, but spoiled working from home now and do not have to get into the car and go anywhere, unless I am off to see clients, but that is usually only at about 10 am. There was a lot of traffic, but I was driving against them, they are all rushing off to get on the highway and off to the industrial areas. 

The lab had moved, so had to walk the whole way through the hospital which was bustling with early morning chores, nurses gliding back and forth, early theatre cases being wheeled up. I feel at home in the hospital and know my way around, after all worked there for 5 years, even though that seems a lifetime ago. 

The nurses at the lab is fast and professional, they never hurt me, so I don't mind going there. We even shared a  joke and a giggle. 

Coming out of the parking grounds I spotted some Hadeda Ibis and of course had to go see if Laurel might be amongst them. I will never stop looking for that ring around a leg. 

Getting back onto the main road, the hospital is really only 5 minutes away, I realised bad idea, as now we had the school traffic. Gosh and we were sitting, in 4 lanes, stop start. I looked at the faces, grim and determined, they were, swapping lanes at the slightest chance. What for I am thinking, knowing under the  highway bridge, it will crawl down to 3 lanes and then 2 and then into 1 on 14th Avenue. 

Settling in for the long haul, I again hug myself for being so lucky not to have to do this trip every day. I did for years with the children at school and working out of town, but now I am so privileged.

We are chucking along, stop start, I am watching people, drumming their fingers on the steering wheel, sighing, fighting in the car with the kids or the kids fighting..............they all look bored or irritated, tired so early in the morning......................

well let's brighten things up a bit then................I start waving and saying hello as we go along , with a big silly smile on too.................all of a sudden others are smiling too and waving....................this is fun.................I turn the radio up a bit "I'm spinning around" is playing, so full volume and open the window a bit..................I see people laughing now, so get even sillier. On my back-seat is the South African car flag, that Kenneth gave me, for supporters Olympic 2012......................gets it and hooks it on the window, so nice blowing in the wind, by the time we reach my turn off, me waving bye bye and others hooting, the whole lane is now smiling. So I brightened somebody's day up a bit and got a happy feeling myself......................see.............what a difference just a smile and a flag can make. ...............................

......................oh dear, is that the ambulance from the mental asylum with the boys in white, behind me..........................?????????

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Trash or Treasure??????

When on the South Coast in August visiting our daughter Kerry, we did a tour of some old shops with knick knacks antiques lost and forgotten items. 

I really liked this bench, if we lived down there, would have nagged till I got it. Reminds me of an old bench my grandparents had in their sunroom. 

My favourite haunt anywhere. For some reason old cups and old pots and old ornaments bring out the hoarder in me, I want to buy it all. Russell had to severely take me in hand and push me out of them, as I oohed and aaahed and covetted old rubbish. But you know the saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure"  it all depends on how you look at it, and who you are. Right ? 

Liked these glass bottles, but the man just rolled his eyes at me. 

Could not believe it, look this old copper kettle, it is electric !! Want it ! Nope...............oooh

I took pictures of everything and some prints had caught my eye, but I did not even dare mention them to the man ; who by now was standing outside tapping his foot, he wanted to go to the beach and catch some fish. 

When we got back, I put my photos up and asked him to have a look at the snapshots. We both got very excited, looking properly and seeing the dates and the signature. We enlarged , zoomed and looked and then phoned Kerry to tell her to go buy all 4 prints for us and keep until somebody got there again. 

I wanted to share the pics long ago , but thought maybe wait till I actually had them in my hand here at home. 

Warren just got back from a business trip to Durban and picked prints up for us on the way. 

Cape Town 1908 - A mail train leaving Cape Town station for Johannesburg

Pretoria 1927 - Church Street, looking towards Church Square

Port Elizabeth 1932 - Plain Street 

Johannesburg 1954 - Intersection of Eloff and President Street. 

They are definitely prints of photographs, but I think the value is that they are signed. they have recently been re-framed as well. Now to find out who the photographer was. Nothing on Google I can see, have tried all search engines. The signature says Simon. Wonder if more in the series. Lucky we have a very long hallway , so down goes the prints of oil pastels of old Johannesburg, they need cleaning and reframing, anyway. 

What do you think ?? Trash or Treasure??

SAVE THE LIONS - ASIA.............again.

Save the lions ad ‘censored’

By Emma Ruby-Sachs
This year the poaching of more than 430 rhinos in South Africa has rightly dominated the news. The massacre of these animals has forced the government to respond with more rangers in Kruger and stronger surveillance at the airports. Sadly the energy and hand-wringing to protect one species is not extending to another. South Africa’s lions are down to the last few prides with just 2 000 living in the wild. But the failure to curb the nascent but burgeoning trade in lion bones could see this drop even further.
According to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, between 2009 and 2010, exports of lion bones from South Africa have boomed by 250%. Hundreds of thousands of people have called on the government to act to save these majestic creatures. The reaction so far: stubborn denials and political censorship to silence the growing drumbeat of lion campaigners.
For the traders, lion bones are a big business. More than 1 400 lion and leopard trophies were exported from the country in 2009 and 2010 and while much of this trade comes from private lodges, poachers have been detained at Johannesburg airport for attempting to smuggle out lion bones, an indication that the threat is now spreading into the country’s famous national parks.
According to Pieter Kat, director of LionAid, by creating a supply for the trade in lion bones, South Africa has created growing levels of lion poaching across Africa, fuelled in large part by the fact that a much higher premium is paid in East Asia for wild lion bone over its farmed alternative. But Environment Minister Edna Molewa has refused to acknowledge this risk, slapping a target on the forehead of the last remaining lions. The statistics are alarming. In the past 40 years the African lion population has plummeted from roughly 200 000 to about 20 000 today.
But now the siren to save the lion has been raised. More than 700 000 people, many of them in South Africa, have backed a campaign by the online campaign organisation Avaaz calling on President Jacob Zuma to save Africa’s last lions. Rather than allow the debate to flow, however, it has been gagged. When ads when went up at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg next to the baggage carousel asking President Zuma to take action, they were torn down by the airports authority.
The adverts, which were being seen by tens of thousands flying into the city, were powerful but not insulting: a picture of President Zuma looks on as a lioness stares down the barrel of a gun, with the caption reading: “Our lions are being slaughtered to make bogus sex potions for Asia. Will President Zuma save them? Urge him to stop the deadly lion bone trade now.”
These adverts break no law and are a protected form of free expression under the South African Constitution. Given that this campaign to save the lions in South Africa has been censored by the government-owned airport authority, Avaaz recently launched legal proceedings against Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and their advertising firm Primedia (who had approved the ads before their hanging). While Primedia has declined to fight Avaaz’s claim — suggesting it fears it is a fight then can’t win — Acsa announced this week it plans to dig in its heels and defend its political censorship.
South Africa is committed to conservation and it has forcefully protected at risk species from poachers in the past, including taking swift action to save the rhino. But failing to act on lions exposes a conservation policy that can seemingly only cope with one burning issue at a time.
The first step to solving this problem is for the government to first admit that there is a problem. This is not confined to canned lions but threatens a dangerous escalation in illegal poaching. Zuma has the power right now to institute a ban. Prohibitive sentences for commercial poachers and enhanced monitoring of airports and harbours to reduce the flow of these products would go a long way towards stemming the proliferation in illegal poaching. Effective laws must be put in place to cut off any legal loopholes and extinguish this shameful trade before one of the world’s most majestic and celebrated creatures is relegated to a greed-fuelled and needless demise.
For more information go to www.avaaz.org/lions
Emma Ruby-Sachs is a campaign director at Avaaz.org, a global advocacy organisation with 16 million members around the world. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Toronto Law School. She recently published her first novel, The Water Man’s Daughter, a story of water privatisation in post-apartheid South Africa. She currently lives in Chicago.

Friday, 12 October 2012


come join us, having fun........... http://picturethis2008.multiply.com/journal/item/1048/PICTURE-THIS-CHALLENGE-169-STILL-LIFE

I am so excited by the idea, that just came into my head for Picture This on Multiply. 

I am hosting this weekend. Now to put idea into practice................off with camera we go , to play...................you guys are going to love it. 

What???............No..........cannot tell you ...... not yet. Watch this space. *winks*

Will send the link to anyone interested in joining in the fun.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


Gardening with nature - gardening for bees

 There is a new buzz in eco-friendly gardening: “Gardening for bees”. Why? You buy honey at the supermarket, put it on toast and that’s precisely how near you want to get to bees. They get into your Coke and can give a mean sting, besides some people are even allergic to bee stings! That is only one side of the story. The truth is that human beings need bees to survive – of the 100 crops providing 90% of the world’s food, seventy are being pollinated by bees! 

With bee populations worldwide declining, environmentally responsible people (like the Queen and First Lady Michelle Obama, who both have beehives in their gardens) are getting worried. Therefore savvy gardeners these days take bees into account when planting and designing gardens. How can you help bee populations in your garden?


   Plant pollen and nectar rich plants, and plant several of them close together instead of having them scattered singly all over the garden.
·         Bees prefer blue and yellow flowers.
·         They tend to favour plants in sunny spots and those with scented flowers.
·         Sink shallow pans of water in your garden – ponds are normally too deep for bees.
·         Bees favour single flowers over double ones – in the latter the pollen and nectar are too deep to reach.
·         Be careful with pesticides; and if you have to use them, choose those not toxic to bees.

Colours of the Month – Blue and yellow (colours that bees love!)
If you want to follow in the footsteps of the Queen and First Lady and encourage bees to your garden then beg, borrow or buy plants bearing yellow and blue flowers! What about Acacia karroo, gazania, mimulus, snapdragons and hibiscus for yellow and agapanthus, felicia, lavender and scabiosa for blue? 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Our darling Beatrice got invited this weekend to go to a wedding of a friend. She was very excited about it and had asked for the weekend off, weeks ago. We decided what she was going to wear, Traditional Dress and what to bring Roast  Chicken and the gift for the couple, A Dinner Service for 6 persons. 

I know Lenah , her friend well, she often visits, she is just on 50 years old, her boyfriend and her decided to get married, after having gone out for  a while. She has 2 children, but has never been married before. 

I got a brilliant idea,  if I may say so myself, *pats self on back*........ I showed Beatrice how to use my little pocket camera the old Sanyo VPOC-S600. It takes quite decent pics for such a small thing. Face it, I used it for a couple of years, until I got hooked by photography, blame Multiply and a bit more serious and got the Canon. 

It was so much fun teaching Beatrice to use the camera. She has never shot a picture in her life but is always watching me taking photos of everything which has probably made both her and Collen more aware of what happens around them. I always have to show them the photos and they often ask me to print on out for them. 

Anyway the big day has come and gone and Beatrice is back home here with us and has graciously allowed me to show you the pictures of the wedding. Only the nice ones, she says, not the shaky ones (blurry). We had to print quite a few copies of most of them lol, as Miss Beatrice is now a famous photographer and everyone wanted their picture taken. 

The Bridal Car all bedecked with ribbons and balloons. 

The Church Hall is also decorated in pinks

Here comes the bride

Lenah is being escorted up the aisle by her brother

The blessing of the rings

The Lady in red is Grace in traditional Pedi dress, next to her is Martha.

this is Esther and she  is in traditional Zulu attire. 

Theresa, another friend in traditional Xhosa. 

Must ask Beatrice again the names and who they are

but this lady in red , Ntombekhaya, in Traditional Xhosa though different to Theresa in colour and style. 

Now I asked Beatrice why was there no picture of her as we go through them and she is telling me about the celebrations and the food. " Hau" she says " I must be careful, your camera, I cannot let somebody use it, maybe they will break it".................I just shake my head, so here is a picture of darling son Kenneth escorting our Beatrice to the wedding of Steven (Russell's youngest) and his darling Amy last year, in January. 

Beatrice is in traditional Xhosa dress, that Lenah, her friend made. Lenah is actually the seamstress that made everyone's dress and her own and the grooms shirt. 

Sunday, 7 October 2012


I am born late in April, so is an early Taurus. Someone, once said that I could be both , Aries and Taurus, which greatly peed me off as I know I am so typically a Taurus.

Earthbound and stubborn, non-materialistic, gardener and nurturer, animal lover and loyal friend.

"Modern astrology equates Taurus with fixity, fertility, fruitfulness, and security- all energies that relate in some way to things that grow in the earth. While not every Taurus is a gardener, it is true that their lives closely parallel the cycles of nature. In the Taurean spring, it is important which seeds are planted, as well as making sure that the right thing is planets at the right time. One cannot plant flowers in the dead of winter. The seedlings must be watered properly and given the right amount of light, food and nurturing. Such tasks are required of Taureans, and during spring cycle their proficiency at sustaining the young plant, waiting, and watching its growth patiently, is more important than the expectation of results. The summer cycle is associated with an ease of existence which many Taureans try to extend beyond its normal time frame-that of sitting back and basking in the richness of the beauty around them, observing the vibrancy of colour and the abundance with which nature has rewarded them for their careful planting and nurturing. By Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson, Mythic Astrology

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Girls at a Pool Party :

Too cute............


We got hauled out of bed early on Saturday morning by determined daughter of mine. LOL...even Kenneth, who is a notorious late riser, but can stay awake all night, provided there is something on DSTV to watch, was up and about as darling sister threatened him with death and destruction if he did not move NOW!  I am an early riser always, so had already been up and fed horses with Wilfred, made coffee had the first bath, oh greatness............... there is a point to my madness . 

The trip was on to Matobo Hills National Park. I was there 2 years ago, when visiting and is very excited about the re-encounter, Michelle and Gary often 
go on weekends, Kenneth's first time. 


It truly is a magical place and as we drive towards it, just 30km out of town, down a very narrow, though tarred road, the kopjies are visible around us and the silence is deafening. Apart from the motor humming in the car, there is only the wind and birdsong. It inspires me and fills me with awe and once again, I wish I had a Voice Recorder with me, so I could spontaneously just speak my thoughts, my feelings before they blow away as a leaf on the wind and totally forgotten again. 

As we drive in, I see another new addition  A Curio Stand. That was not there 2 years ago. Not a soul in sight, but all the wares neatly displayed, with a price sticker and there is a little cash box at the side, place money in here. Only in Zimbabwe. There is very little crime here as the consequences are so big. The police act swift if something occurs and trust me you don't want to land up in one of Bulawayo's jail cells. 

Zimbabwean's are notorious clever and skilled wood workers, you find their hand carved figures all over Africa and they are all of a very high standard.

South African artists tend to work in clay or with paint and paper. We have some fantastic potters, here and Ndebele do the most beautiful beadworks. The Zulu reed baskets and pots are highly priced as items to buy and take home for tourists. 

I have my beady little eye on this elephant carving , only US$ 5 and also the Rhino carving. 

There is no guard at the hut, so we amuse ourselves by taking photographs while waiting for him

Are we not a lovely 3-some ?? We missed Melissa terrible, but she had her turn when on study leave in July and actually was privileged to be a witness together with Gary's daughter Danielle, when Michelle and Gary got married on 5 July............

Eventually we decide that guard must have gone AWOL and it being Zimbabwe, we think should go look for him. The Hut is open, the Gate unlocked  The Lunch box there and in the sign in book, 2 other cars gone in already. Gary signs in, we take a photo as proof, though probably not necessary and put the money in there with receipt duly filled out. 

Magical Matopo, Place of the Hills, God's playground, I am back

Spotted a pair of Duikers , one of Africa's smallest bucks, the other being the Steenbok, one bounced off into the distance but this little beauty obliviously thought she was safe and hidden behind a small bunch of reeds in the dry river bed.

Is she not too gorgeous and so very tiny. The ears and eyes pricked and watchful upon us.

An Egyptian Goose decides to walk across the path, oaky dokey then, we give way..............

Going to now give you a 180 degree or so of panoramic view:

All of a sudden I hear bells.........have I gone stark raving mad??  What bells are this, as we round the corner and drive into the Dam's picnic area:

aaaaaaaaaaaand, I am stumped, totally , out of words  WTF are cattle doing in the game reserve??????

Must be some rich cabinet minister now grazing his bloody cows here??? Unbelievable, only in Africa, I tell you. Michelle tells me to calm down, time for breakfast, enjoy the view, but I know only too well, what is the implications of cattle with game in reserves, so in a very sombre  sad mood, we settle down at the dam, light the gas scuttle an d prepare our breakfast while enjoying the wonderful view and bird life, though have still not seen any game really, and am worried, where is my Rhino, are they still here, still alive??

The Dam is lovely as always, we settle down, get the bacon, sausages, mushrooms ready. Got fresh Orange Juice, Michelle squashed yesterday and potato grids. Yum I am so hungry , I could nearly eat a .....cow !

This cheeky Raven obviously knows a sucker when he sees one, my daughter is as bad as me and feeds him...........'aaaaw shame mom, loook how cute he is"............

Ooooooooooooh Yummy...................breakfast is ready !!

Bacon, sausages, potato grits, mushroom and fried banana. I chide Michelle, we forgot the tomatoes.....................never mind, it goes down a treat. 

Afterwards a toilet visit is really necessary and once again I am reminded how lucky we are to live where we live. There is at present no water in Bulawayo, so none of the public toilets are working. Matobo is no different  it saddens me to think of tourist revenue lost due to the appalling sanitary conditions. Not even a clean long drop in sight. There is no smell, but the toilet is overflowing, no toilet seats ( I have seen only one in  Zim and that at my daughters house) no paper, no water , but it looks like it was recently swept though. 

We go out the back where a trench has been dug and there is signs of other visitors having relived themselves. Lucky I always carry paper and disinfectant with me and , so we "light seat" and do what we have to do, wipe, spray, wash up and cover it and carry on , on our trip. 

I spot a Kudu Doe in deep bush, so difficult to get a picture, but they are there, but sooo skittish. Clear to see that the poachers have had an effect on the game in the park, they are few and far between and frightened of any strange noise. 

There is hides placed all over the reserve on the koppies, so you can walk up and sit, eat your lunch, watch for game. 

The view is stunning, the silence is deafening. The heat, 35 degree relentless. 

There is little lizards on the rocks, last we saw so many of them, they were rainbow colours and I was looking forward to seeing them again, but today there was none. We poured out some of Kenneth's Coca Cola as they are normally attracted by the liquid and sweet smell, which they adore. I was disappointed and wonder what has happened to them, then this big Lizard came out from under the rocks and greadily lapped it up and even begged for more. Wonder if he ate the little ones? Another mystery.

After something to drink, another scan of the ground, to see if there is anything moving, we carry on with the car. The roads are pretty good, all dirt roads, not tarred, but in the rainy season, Michelle tells me, they do need 4-wheel drive to get through. I can imagine that as the dust is deep and the streams very low lying. 

We meet up with a game drive vehicle from a nearby game lodge, Gary knows the guys as he fixes their fridges and air-cons for the lodge, so he quickly strikes up a conversation with the ranger who speaks perfectly accented English ( much better than mine, I might add) .

Another vehicle had indicated that the giraffe was hiding up further to the north and I wanted to know if he knew where the Rhino herd was. 

The ranger laughs at me and tells me the Rhino is by the Giraffe, further back.  I look puzzled as I had not seen them. He laughs again and says " the Maam must look for the big grey rock with the ears what moves"

ow that expression I know , "kwa masikio yale moves"..........so I answer him  to his amazement........... I saw those  rocks with ears far in , now how to get closer?"  .......Hau, naona ...................He claps his hands with joy, grasp my hands in friendship the African way and tells us where the rangers are , they will take me, for sure.........

On the way up to the other hide we do indeed spot the giraffe, this is where my camera is insufficient, well, how does the saying go? " a bad craftsman always blames his tools"...........I obviously have no clue how to use the camera, it keeps on focusing on the branches and trees and bits of grass instead of the giraffe, in there and behind the giraffe, very far in, is rhino, how many not sure , but those big grey rocks in the far back definetly had ears that move. My eyes can see them, for Piets sake, why not the camera. ??

Can you see the giraffe ?????

We carry on to the next hide and indeed we find the rangers guarding the Rhino is sitting there in the midday heat, keeping an eye on their charges. They welcome us cautiously and we start chatting. 

The rangers spent 6 months living with the Rhino in the bush and 6 months off, There is 4 of them on duty at the time. They are friendly but 2 declined politely but firmly a photograph. they are dedicated Wild Life Conservationists  that much is clear, very clear after speaking to them for just 5 minutes, we are on the same page. 

In 1976 my Late husband and I worked in Umfolozi / Hluhluwi Game Reserve where the SOS Rhino Operation was executed in the 1960's and Ian Player the force behind the operation , did a talk one night on the White Rhino and dangers of extinction. the following day he took us with as "passengers' on a high powered VIP game trek through the bush, for some foreign dignitaries. 

At a tender age of just 21, the whole experience so influenced my thinking and feelings and life, maybe the one BIG reason why I stayed here and did not hot foot it back to Denmark, when the shit hit the fan, as we say here.  There were other reasons, but mainly political which shall remain out of this story for now, though. 

From up top of The Hide, the rangers who has already followed The Rhino on their foraging , now resting  in the shade are keeping a close eye on their charges. 

I am in no doubt, they would indeed shoot to kill to protect their beloved beasts. 

The rangers assure me they can see them and after a chat , we are invited to join 2 of them to go check it out for ourselves. I was stunned and at first as per usual suspicious being in Africa, where often there is a second agenda to everything, I am assured " I like you, show you where, bring camera"........no ways can my little camera pick up a Rhino in the bush, unless I am right on top of him, which I really have no desire to do, been there, done that......landed up in a thorny tree, thought I was gonna die................................Helloooooooooo, what was I thinking and off we go............... Gary , who has a problem with his one knee joint after a motor cycle accident in 2007, stays behind together with 2 rangers, who will cover us from the top.........

 "Cover Us??" Help !!

We set out on foot down the hill , through the donga (dry river bed), over the grassland into the thick bush, that we could see from top of the hide, where the ranger assured us the Rhino was resting. Fresh spoor (footprints, tracks) and dung was spotted along the way. 

Michelle has got young legs and was in front with our main ranger , I , the old Gogo , in the middle with Kenneth and another heavily armed ranger in the back. Watching out for little old me I sure hope. 

We are getting close and our guide, after checking the wind direction, changes his trek and we walk around the glad of thick trees and bush, where we spotted the giraffe earlier. Assured "the big grey rock with ears that moves" is beyond there. 

Our Guide tells us to drop back and down

My little camera is hopelessly useless in picking up the grey shapes in between trees, branches and bushes, but my heart-rate quickens as I see they are there alive though de-horned for safety. These great beautiful wild prehistoric beasts, safe and protected for now. 

Our ranger has now told Kenneth to stay behind, he has my hand and making signs to tell Michelle and I to stay down and quiet, we creep up close. 

I am absolutely shaking with the adrenaline and the joy of it all.

I make signs to our guide, that while I might not have been able to get a perfect photograph of them, the moment I recorded with my eyes are in my heart and soul and I am happy. He clasps my arms and hugs me and I get so emotional, nearly crying though aware of the big male standing up and and hmmrrrpphhh looking towards us, blinking ( oh why can this silly camera not see, what I with my naked eyed can see. Suppose the wrong settings, oh whatever. 

Time to make out of here, Pronto.The male has smelled Kenneth , the only one amongst us who smokes. Was afraid of that . A notorious fact when trekking in the bush.

Back at the hide, we  share our cold drinks, bread rolls with the guards and they share the stories of their lives, the one guard tells us he has been a ranger here for 8 years. He originally was trained at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Their lives are not easy that much is clear, another one tells of , of his newborn son, who he had to leave behind when last "home" to go back to the bush. How do they do it. Is it the money?? No, the pay is bad, but the job is good and we have our friends here. The tourist are nice, they look after us when they see us, we don't take money but when somebody comes who loves animals, we will take them like you, just for water and food. Money is useless in the bush, but water is scarce.

Needless to say, we give them everything we have left in the cooler box and decide we are going to leave for home anyway, as now getting later than anticipated instead of going over to Rhodes Grave which I have seen, Kenneth is not that interested anyway and the entrance to get up there is quite steep as I have a Danish Passport, is a foreigner and everything is trible the price. Michelle and Gary can get in for just US$ 2 , while mine would be 20 and Kenneth 10 with his South African passport. 

Rather make tracks and go home, feed the horses and dogs and cats and have a Sundowner on the stoep, before enjoying Gary's famous pepper cream fillet steak. 

We say goodbye.  I wonder when we will be back again, so very far. Enjoy the last look of the koptjie that is aptly named "Mother and Child"

As we go past the small dam, we see the Hippo, which eluded us earlier ,has surfaced onto one of the small banks that are only visible when drought as now. Normally you just see their ears and nostrils sticking out

I am just about hopping around in my seat, as I spot they have 2 young ones !! Fantastic.

 this Grey Heron is casually strolling around as we notice the fish starts hopping out the water close to the other sand bank, again, I curse at my camera as my eyes can see there is a crocodile in the water , disturbing  the fish, the Heron freezes and so does the other little bird, while the croc feeds on the fish that are trapped in the hole of the low dam bed. 

We say good bye till next time to Big Foot, another rock formation with a story to tell. 

Hope you enjoyed the trip with me and not too boring?

Just another beautiful day in Africa...
Thank you - Siyabonga.