Elly's story's September
Marco Mok, one of the seasoned Africa travellers that Patrick met on several Africa trips, comes to visit us for a couple of days with his friend Hans. After trying a couple of times last year to come out but Covid made that difficult. He drives a Toyota with roof tent through Africa. Something like we did in 2012; drive for a few weeks and then return home. I think it is safe to say they really enjoyed it here. It was great having them.
They can only come for 4 days because we have an invitation for a bush wedding that Friday.
Jana and Willem are getting married and celebrate this at olifants river with a group of 30 people. All guests bring their own tent. For Patrick still a challenge with his back, but I can convince him because this is such a special event. It is still in the reserve but in the most northern part of Klaserie. Because of the bad roads it is almost a 2 hours drive. Incredible how different it is in this part of Klaserie. The location on the river is truly magical and when the bride is flying in with her helicopter wearing her wedding dress, we all have goosebumps. So special. Despite a lot of wind the party was very nice. Where at first it’s quiet and peaceful, later music plays and there is lots of of dancing around the campfire. A small scops owl looks down from the tree we are all under and shakes his head.
Collectively as a group we give them as a wedding present: 2 nights in Sabi in a luxurious lodge and the plan is that I will fly them. Unfortunately disrupted on the way out by strong winds, but the pick up is possible. Jana, as experienced helicopter pilot enjoys this time being in a fixed wing flight.
Jurie, a friend of ours who is also a pilot, asks if he can surprise his wife for a night
for her birthday with a visit to Ximuwu. They fly in from Nelspruit and spend the night in the tree house and braai together at the dam. How romantic!
At the end of the winter the elephants are starting to demolish trees in order to find food
that there is an urgent need to clean up along our roads. Cassius and Silias both bring along an unemployed friend who would like to help out for a few weeks. They are instructed not to leave the 2 newcomers alone in the bush because there is a lot of stuff around that they are not used to. If Silias has to go home to get his 2nd vaccination and calls Cassius on the way back that he is ready to be picked up, no action follows. He can't call us because of course his air time has run out again. Leaving those new guys alone for 5 minutes to warn us was not an option for Cassius. Gray really doesn't exist, does it?!
Vaccination is still a bit chaotic anyway. Cassius has to get his first jab and Monique brings him to Hoedspruit at 7 o'clock. The plan was to start at 10 o'clock but better be early. He is already number 80 in line. Only at 11 am they start with putting up 3 tents and the first vaccinations only arrive at 12 noon. And this while all those people are standing in line in the sun with 35 degrees. Finally it is Cassius's turn at 4 o'clock but at 5 o'clock the rest is sent home without a vaccination….TIA
Finally it looks like corona is getting under control here. They are vaccinating indeed and especially Limpopo is doing well as a province. One country after another is now removing South Africa from their red list. Great news for tourism. I notice this immediately when I try to book a number of lodges for friends of ours from Spain for their trip here in November. Where it was easy to get huge discounts on the room rates we have to use all our contacts to find some deals.
The construction is going well! The finishing touches are being made to the rooms for the staff and the foundation and the first walls in the lodge are already in place. The four of us fly to Nelspruit to select taps and baths and so far everything is going according to plan.
The day before yesterday a truck arrived to bring the steel structure and all of this including 13 meter long I-beams are lifted from the truck by hand. What a weight!
We are even in contact with a fantastic couple, one is a cook and the other one is a ranger, who will visit us next month and hopefully soon we can announce our first staff for our project.
I went for a game drive last night. Monique drives her game viewer with Nikki and Kevin and Marcel drives the quad. This way we maximise the chance to see animals. I ask Silias if he would like to come along and immediately there are 4 guys standing next to the car. The newcomers also want to see a lion, they say. They're lucky. At the end of the game drive, Marcel first finds 1 lioness but only minutes later there are another 3 and the 3 cubs also show up.They go for a drink at our big dam where Benny our hippo has been in for the last 6 weeks. He makes it clear that it is his dam and storms to the side. It looks like a wave pool. The lionesses are clearly not very impressed but the passengers in my car even more so.
Patrick can't still lie on an air mattress yet (or any other bed except an adjustable bed) but otherwise his health is much better. He has lost quite a bit of weight and that has seriously helped the pain in his back. Recovery of the Achilles tendon is also going very well. I drop him off every other day - with Nobu in the back - somewhere on the edge of our plot of land and he walks back home. At first without any protection but after I insisted, now with a rifle. You never know what to expect. This morning it showed again. We he isn’t home after 1.5 hours I get a bit worried.
No, there was no need to shoot, but he had to walk an additional 1.5 kilometres because of a large herd of elephants with very little ones, blocking the road.
Super happy that he is finally out of all kinds of medical problems!