Game drives, road maintenance and playing forty forty in the dark

This morning we woke up at 5.30 to leave for a game drive at 6 to try and find the lions. We are such a big group that we need two game drive vehicles, and luckily I happened to be in my favourite rangers today. He drove really well, but the problem with having no sides means you are always getting scratched by thorns. We managed to see the lions tracks, and he got out to follow them but they were headed into the dense bush. However, we saw plenty of other animals including wildebeest, zebra, impala and giraffe. Whilst in the kopjes we also caught a glimpse of some klipspringer, which have feet so small all four of them can fit onto a 50 pence.

Klipspringer. Image source:

During the game drive we had to go help a ranger who had got stuck in a dry, sandy riverbed. It happens an awful lot in this terrain and you just have to hope your radio has battery left otherwise you might be there a while. After his vehicle had got pulled free we went down ‘Secret Road’ which has an old river down the middle of it, which meant we bounced all over the place! It had been really cold on the drive to start with, but by the time we got back it was just starting to warm up.

We got back at about 9am for breakfast, and then headed off to our respective tasks at 10. I decided to do road maintenance, but the rest of the girls went off to see the survival shelter which we’ve now called ‘Mock Charge’. Technically we should call it a boma, because that’s what it is i.e. an enclosed shelter like area. Anyway, I headed off with the boys and we found the pipe we were meant to be using to drain the road although there was a slight problem. The pipe was already in the ground being used to drain some other bit of round. Apparently this didn’t matter though and we proceeded to dig it up, first around the sides then trying to lever it out using a pickaxe.

Our pipe was about half the size of those pictured above, and a bit longer. Image source:

Eventually it was free and we rolled it along the road and into the hole we had dug previously! We then covered the pipe with soil, and filled the rest of the ditch with rocks, and covered those with soil too. However, that was short lived when another ranger arrived and told us we’d done it wrong, so off the soil came from the top of the rocks, more rocks were added, then grass, and then finally the soil. Mission accomplished, let’s just hope it works next time it rains. At one point the two tame elephants were being taken for their morning walk, so we had to move out the way. I may call them tame, but you still wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of them!

The elephants at Kwa Madwala. Image source:

We returned around 1pm for lunch, and personally I was pretty warm and tired. Returning late to lunch also meant there was no margarine left, but I had jam on bread, and a lettuce and cheese sandwich. The afternoon was great, because we had it off and we all greatly enjoyed the break from manual labour. Dinner came round sooner than we wanted , but was a lovely chicken pie and a really good salad. It was lovely to eat greens for a change!

After dinner we decided to have a bit of fun playing ‘forty forty’ which I hadn’t played for years. We all got dressed up in black so we were harder to find, and went and hid in various places around Gazebo. The problem is most of us kept forgetting there was a stream that went down the side of the lapa and most people nearly or did fall in it. On one occasion someone even fell in the terrapin pool! It was such a great game and we all had great fun playing it!


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