We did it again! This September 8 female golfers went to the Krüger National Park to experience another walking safari. This time we choose Metsi-Metsi as our base camp.
Because the airline Nation-Wide ran out of money or petrol – we had to travel with Mango Airlines to Jo-burg and endured a trip by car up to the Krüger Park, which was quite tiring.
“Rudi”, the red-nosed ranger, and Philipp took care of us. They really looked a bit worried when they saw us grandma’s (nobody under 60) getting out of our car and identifying ourselves as their bush-walkers. Our main concern was how to get the booze to the camp (red and white wine, gin, brandy and 96 cans of dry lemon – oh-oh) rather than worry about the multiple hours of hiking we would have to do in the park. But we did well in convincing our rangers not only of our physical fitness but stamina in other areas as well! And so off we went to our home for the next 3 nights, Metsi-Metsi.
The first early morning bushwalk started with tea and coffee and the first news of nightly disasters: one lady had an encounter with one of the window-shutters (bump on the forehead), the next one had lost her hearing aid, one was missing her glasses and one the toothbrush…..and when another one talked about her one eye missing and not getting a drivers licence anymore... The rangers seemed worried about how he would get us through the next several days in one piece but preferred the grannies to a bunch of lesbians. They were fed up with “Lovie” here and “Lovie” there. We enjoyed that and from then on we all choose our own “Lovie”.
The only other incidents we had was a damaged toe, a further miss of sunglasses and the loss of immaculate polished fingernails (in the end they were glued with tape).
We had magnificent walks and saw quite a lot of animals whilst walking. Who can boost himself of seeing the Big Five in three days? On our last day we saw within half an hour a leopard, 5 porcupines, a serval cat, a civit cat and a striped jackal. On our way back to the main camp we encountered a lion with a fresh kill next to the road.
Our stay in the camp was fun as always. The camp was absolute basic and it was hilarious to see one of the ladies going for a shower in a white silk morning dress. Well, one slept in the nude, the next decided to keep everything on during the night to avoid the morning chill while dressing. Everybody could live to his personal taste.
After the three days bushwalk we had a farewell evening at Berg + Dal Camp were we had to fight the monkeys the next morning. What a laughter when one of us went for a wee wee and forgot about her sweater hanging around her waste – it needed a wash afterwards.
Four “Lovies” proceeded via Swaziland. Mkhaya was again a stunning experience. The lodge is fantastic and the close up experiences with wild animals are exceptional.
What a nice surprise also when - after having driven over 700 km - we found out that our rental car could drive not only in third but also in 4th and 5th gear! We really missed the improved driving performance for quite a long distance.
After a great time in Swaziland we arrived at the Tembe Elefant Park. Two “Lovies” had quite a hard time to organize their luggage in the dark only with help of a headlight and a torch. In the middle of the night one of them woke up and admired the full moon in her room only to find out that it was the headlight of her companion. Not to forget to mention – the tent had electricity. We went into fits of laughter.
I had a look at our school and was very happy with the fence we donated earlier this year. It was a sensible expense. The kids now can lay out some small gardens, the livestock is not trampling down all of the place and the petty thefts are prevented.
Prince Jubilee from the Tembe tribe and his collegue Party Vumase came especially to meet me. We decided to name the school also “Frank’s Heaven” to remember Frank.
We appreciate more help because the so called kitchen looks more then an abandoned stable. Agnes Tembe, the principal, told me that more and more orphans come to the school because they can expect a warm meal if it is not raining and the kitchen can be used. That will be the next challenge.
Our last adventure was the wetlands of St. Lucia where we walked amidst the hippos.
We learned in the meantime that these walking ventures may turn out to be risky. Leading the next group our ranger Rudi got attacked by a lioness and he nearly paid with his life.
Next year we are already booked for the Whale Trail. That means severe walking for 5 days and it will be twelve of us. We have to climb Frank’s mountain several times to get really fit for this new experience.
Thanks to all the “Lovies” that made the bushwalk again unforgettable.