Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Finglittens and the stompmasjien

The finglittens have been put to good use in the sub-zero early mornings, this is the pair I've used most (they are black and consequently don't show the dirt)

Talking about dirt...a washing machine is also a good idea (because the teenytiny4x4 doesn't really allow for 3 weeks' worth of clothes so you do actually have to wash them at some stage)

This is the stompmasjien mark I (patent pending)

Empty the container of tinned foods and place in shower. Add washing powder and water while shower temperature reaches optimal. Add clothes. Stomp on clothes while you shower. Tip container over to empty out the dirty water. Rinse.

Voila! Clean clothes.

Caution - the stompmasjien is an avaricious sockaloshe. Tie socks together as with your suburban version.

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Monday, August 25, 2014


The Kgalagadi is bitterly cold at night in winter. We were lulled into a false sense of security traveling up to Gharagap from Grootkolk, when the temperature reached 36deg C.
But a cold front swept in on our first night at Urikaruus, heralded by a vicious thin wind that had temperatures plunging to -6 overnight and froze the water pipes.

You will need thermal underwear, beanies, jackets and scarves. Finglittens work well too, as does a hefty dose of Old Brown Sherry.

This is ET, a gas heater and our lifesaver. No way I'm getting out of bed without him. He works wonders in the bathroom where he greets you cheerfully as you step out of your piping hot shower. Bless.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kom in Bravo Drie

A very clever idea from my Grandmother and Darling, a small two-way radio with a distance of about 15km. They have the base station in their vehicle (spotter one) and we have a handset in ours (sweeper one)

Note the monster aerial on the teenytiny4x4's roof (beware of low-hanging branches)

Perfect, given that the Kgalagadi is the Mordor of cell phone signal.

Useful, too, for game-spotting.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

The Empty Quarter

As I sit here having my condensed milk coffee this morning there is a black-backed jackal curled up near the waterhole, so much like a dog that I almost started looking for the dog food.

Quite a few people told me there's nothing to see here; they couldn't be more wrong.
We have seen bat-eared foxes, meerkats, yellow mongoose, jackals, brown hyena, gemsbok, springbok, kudu, red hartebeest, steenbok, blue wildebeest, eland, striped mice, shrews, tawny eagles, pale chanting goshawks, gabar goshawks, a sub adult martial eagle, ostriches, chestnut-vented tit babblers, crimson breasted shrikes, Karoo scrub robins, yellow-fronted canaries, lanner falcons, sociable weavers, white-browed sparrow weavers, kori bustards, secretary birds, and a spotted eagle owl in a tree at mid day. And that's just what I can remember without consulting the list.

And Walter whispered urgently at some ungodly hour this morning that a lion was outside our tent.
Oh yes, I almost forgot the fattest black-maned lion I've ever seen taking a siesta in the shade.

But by all means stay away if the perfectly-tarred roads of the tame parks are more to your liking, you won't see anything here at all.

This is quite obviously a different lion.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Werewolf

I peered through the bathroom 'window' just before sunrise this morning only to be confronted by an enormous werewolf staring straight at me.
This disturbed me for a number of reasons, viz
1. It's not full moon so clearly everyone has been lying to me
2. There is no mention of werewolves in any of the Kgalagadi books/sites I have consulted, which is effectively misleading advertising
3. I would prefer not to be eaten by a werewolf

Gathering my composure (after dropping with ninja-like stealth to the floor and leopard crawling back into the bedroom) I whispered to Walter that our lives were in imminent danger and demanded he save us.
Walter grunted, turned over and carried on snoring while I cast about furiously for a wooden stake, garlic or a silver cross.
I stood guard with a braai fork until the sun came up when I realised it was an XXL spotted hyena. The very same animal that will bite off your face without a second thought. So, effectively a werewolf.

Here he is after circling the cabin, trying to figure out how best to get inside to eat us.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

The grass is greener

Pretty much everywhere I should think, but I'm not convinced that you get more diversity anywhere.
I dub thee popcorn grass (taken in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park)

These on the side of the road from Upington to Springbok in the Northern Cape
Proving once and for all that lions are omnivores. You can see his tongue at work. This one taken in the south eastern Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park