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Volume - 7

Rhinos in distress Shocking facts and statistics

Trawling the Tropics Catching Dogtooth Tuna in the Seychelles

50�+ Buffalo

A quest to increase the gene pool

Mountains to Mantas

Amazing trip from Cape town to Ponta do Ouro

also in this edition HUNTING

Perfect gifts for the Adventurer

I FISHING I DIVING I ADVENTURES I DESTINATIONS


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My sympathies go out to our readers who came under siege from nature in the last month. Devastating hail storms left a trail of destruction throughout large parts of Gauteng, and I ask myself what could have been done to better protect our assets? Only to realize that we are helpless against nature’s forces- much like the Rhinos in our country against its arch enemy, man. With the rapid decline of Rhinos in the wild, how long will it be before we look back and wonder at what could have been done to save one of our natural assets? There are some interesting facts and stats on pg 56 in an independent article by Rob Austin from Rhino Pages. In this edition we went to great lengths to cater for our ever growing diverse reader base. The importance of breeding buffalo to add economic value is covered on pg 12. We want to thank Chir Louw, one of our regular readers, for sharing theiramazing time in the Seychelles. If you booked your December holiday in the Western Cape, make sure to read on pg 49 about the spectacular Perlemoen hiking trail and be sure it makes it onto your holiday calendar. For those who left their holiday planning to the last minute, be sure to visit our destination section towards the back of this edition. For those who are still uncertain about the perfect Christmas gift, check out the awesome gift ideas on pg 46. I hope you enjoy your read and may the last stretch of 2012 be filled with unique and wonder ful African Adventures! “Vegetarian is an old Indian word for bad hunter.” Untill next time!

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Johan Viljoen


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M A D E I N I T A LY

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Contents Regulars

FISHING

Letter from the editor

2

Dorado Tactics

20

Letter to the editor

6

Trawling the Tropics

29

Events

32

Doorndraai Stories

54

Featured species: The Giraffe

17

Largemouth Bass

27

Kori Bustards

43

Paperback Thorn

53

Pg 29

DIVING

Recipe of the month Lamb cutlets with a

41

Moroccan Twist

Top 10 dive sites continues

34

Mountains to Mantas

36

Hunting Bow Hunting the Grey Ghost

9

of the African Bushveld Why breed Buffalo with 50’ + Horns

Pg36

12

Adventures Perlemoen Trail

49

Rhinos in distress

56

Pg12 www.africanadventures.co.za

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o hear It’s the “we want t re” u about your advent

! N O I T I T COMPE t u o b a s u l l Te e r u t n e v d a r you ld u o c u o y d n a c a d a C a N I W rth o w r e p m a H

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hunting

BOW HUNTING THE GREY GHOST - By Willem P Frost OF THE AFRICAN BUSH The Southern Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is a member of a group of antelope referred to as “the spiral-horned antelopes”. The other members of this genus are the Bushbuck, The Nyala, The Eland, The Lesser Kudu, The Sitatunga, The Bongo and the Mountain Nyala. Three additional sub-species of the greater kudu are recognised: • The East African Greater Kudu, T. s. bea, of Kenia, Tanzania, North Eastern Uganda and South Eastern Sudan. • The Western Greater Kudu, T. s. cottoni, of South Eastern Chad, North Eastern Central African Republic and far Western Sudan. • The Abyssinian Greater Kudu, T. s. chora, of Ethiopia and Sudan. The Lesser Kudu of East Africa, Tragelaphus imberbis, is a separate specie altogether. Roland Ward and SCI record the Cape kudu separately but this is misleading as the latter is NOT a separate specie or even a sub-specie. The Cape kudu is slightly smaller than the kudu found elsewhere in Southern Africa, but is in taxonomic terms no different at all from T. s. strepsiceros. But the Eastern Cape offers some of the best kudu habitat in Southern Africa. The kudu density in the spekboom veldt, for instance, is higher than is the case in other veldt types. Yet the animals and the trophies are slightly smaller. Southern Greater Kudu occur widespread over much of Southern Africa: Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. It is believed that the kudu is one of the few animals that benefited from human settlement and overgrazing by domestic stock in the additional habitat that was created for them as a consequence. It is likely that kudu have expanded their range over the last 150 years, especially in South Africa. They are found in savannah woodlands, usually not too far from water. Expect to find them in thickets or bush large and dense enough to provide cover. In the arid areas of Southern Africa they keep to woodlands on the fringes of water courses. They normally avoid open grassland. Kudu are predominantly browsers and utilise an extremely wide range of plant species.

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hunting Their distribution range is quite wide and they therefore have to utilise a wide range of plant species. Also, within a given habitat they browse on most available plant species; the main diet consistingof leaves from trees and shrubs. Browsing by kudu led to a fascinating discovery by researchersin the late 20th century. It was found on game ranches in the then Northern Transvaal (now Limpopo) that many kudu are dying even though it would appear that they clearly had enough food. Many of them died with full stomachs. A research team under Professor Wouter van der Hoven from the University of Pretoria then found that when a tree or shrub is being browsed upon, it increases the tannin levels in its leaves significantly, to such an extent that the animal is unable to digest the “food”. This was clearly a case of too many kudu having to live of the available browsing. The research team also found that when a tree is beaten with a stick, or browsed upon, the tannin levels in the surrounding trees also increase. The trees have thus not only developed a remarkable defence mechanism, but they also seem to be able to communicate “danger” to their neighbours. It is not surprising that the greater kudu is usually right at the top of the wish list of visiting bow hunters. It is truly a magnificent and handsome animal and words such as impressive, regal, elegant, graceful, imposing and dignified spring to mind when one attempts to describe a mature bull. A bull’s horns grow throughout his life and he is generally regarded as a good trophy when the third turn in the horns has developed. He is then about eight years old and past his breeding prime. Kudu horns can vary remarkebly from one animal to another. Some have a deep curl, others have a swallow curl. Sometimes the horns are quite wide spread; others have narrow horns. A deep curl usually results in a greater overall length. Kudu are gregarious and occur in small herds of up to fifteen animals (although I have seen thirty kudu together), but the herd size can vary with the seasons. Mature bulls stay with the females for much of the year, but in summer they leave the herd to form “bachelor herds” of ten or more animals. Bow hunting the kudu can be extremely challenging. They are shy, cautious and extremely alert with very well developed senses of sight, hearing and smell. Those big ears are like radar dishes constantly scanning the environment for the slightest suspicious sound whilst the quivering nostrils test the air for the faintest unfamiliar smell. Once alarmed they take off for the nearest cover with the tail raised in characteristic fashion. They often “freeze” in dense bush and have at remarkable ability to melt away into the shadows and foliage .

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hunting They have not developed the reputation as the “grey ghosts of the African bush” for nothing – it is a reputation well earned. In South Africa they are mostly bow hunted from blinds at waterholes, although some purists would not approve of this methodology. They can also be hunted from an ambush along a well used game trail. Once a suitable spot has been identified, a mobile blind can be erected, or a tree stand can be put up. Alternatively, wear a ghillie suit and wait patiently in suitable cover. It is extremely important to remain downwind, immobile and dead quiet. Should the wind be swirling or changing direction, as it sometimes does, the hunter can forget about kudu hunting. Walk-and-stalk hunting represents probably the ultimate challenge in bow hunting the kudu. The hunter should move very, very slowly and very, very quietly through the bush. He should spend more time standing still, looking and listening for any sign of kudu, than walking. Even when you are fortunate enough to find some kudu, a clean shot may not be possible due to brush and dense bush. If the terrain offers some vantage points from where it is possible to glass the area for kudu, spot-and-stalk hunting is another possibility. Once kudu have been spotted, a stalk can be attempted. This is usually very difficult and again the hunter should be patient, well camouflaged and move very slowly. If you feel confident about the direction the kudu are moving, you may also attempt to wait in ambush for them. It is usually easier to hunt single bulls as the hunter has to compete with the senses of only one animal. Not to be detected by the eyes, ears or nostrils of a herd of kudu, and to then get within bow range, is certainly no mean feat, it is more difficult for the hunter to spot a single kudu than a herd. Do not expect a high success rate on walk-and-stalk or spot and stalk hunting. The most successful method remains shooting from blinds. Because the kudu’s senses are so welldeveloped, it is simply much easier to let him come to you rather than go after him in his own backyard. Kudu are not particularly tough animals and will down with a well-placed shot into the vitals. Do take the time to study the kudu’s anatomy before setting out to hunt. As with most other African antelope, the vitals are slightly lower and more forward than is the case with North American deer. The kudu is a most worthwhile trophy to possess. Happy hunting for the “grey ghost of the African bush “. E-mail: willem@matlabas.co.za Web: www.matlabas.co.za/hunting

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hunting

Why Breed Buffalo With 50�+ Horns? -Michiel Els The hunter is our valued client and it is the hunter that affords the buffalo its monetary value. A worldwide survey has been conducted by hunting organisations representing approximately 37 million hunters. (Russia alone boasts ¹ 4 million registered hunters.) The survey posed quetions about favourite hunting destinations, favourite calibres, etc. One of the questions was the following: If money was not a consideration, compile a priority list of the game species you wish to hunt. This is where the good news comes in: The African Buffalo appears at the top of this list. If only one per cent of hunters decided to hunt this sought-after species, there would not be enough buffalo in Africa. We at 4 Daughters Ranching went to a great deal of trouble to find out from hunters what they expect of a buffalo hunt. We spoke to hunters from America, Germany, Spain, Russia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya. These are the most important issues we have identified: 1. High costs are not the most important consideration. 2. Hunters do not want to experience problems with customs and firearm permits. 3. Trophies should be shipped home effortlessly and as quickly as possible. 4. Hunters want to hunt in vast, pristine wilderness areas. 5. Accommodation should be of a good standard and malaria remains a problem. 6. Hunters require a professional hunter who can be trusted. 7. Biggest complaint is that the trophy size is too small.

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hunting At the Hunting Indaba, held at Sun City on 29 October 2012, the minister of Water and Environmental Affairs said that her departments aim for the South Africa’s trophy hunting industry is to grow it to an R10bn industry a year. Through this growth it would allow the creation of more jobs and would contribute even more to the South African economy. It is said that the industry currently employs 140 000 people and contribute R6bn to gross domestic product. We believe that for South Africa to be “the” premium hunting destination, the South African government could and should assist with the first 6 issues identified above. This still leave us with the last and most important issue: All hunters want bigger horn measurements. We talked to a group of hunters that came to Tanzania to hunt a trophy-sized buffalo bull. After six weeks of searching the disappointed hunter shot the biggest bull he could find, which measured only 38 inches in spread. When the hunter asked us why they found so few really big buffalo bulls one of his fellow hunters provided the answer: If all the big trophy bulls have been hunted for over 100 years, what do you expect? We agree that all the big bulls have been hunted in large parts of Africa for many years now. This has caused great damage to the gene pool in these areas. Where little or no hunting took place there is a considerable difference in the horn measurements of the animals (natural selection). Subsequently, there is a great gap in the market for bigger horn lengths from 42” to 50”, or even 50”+ in spread. 4 Daughters Ranching has decided to try and fill this gap and breed bulls in excess of 50”. The million dollar question is: How do you breed bulls measuring 50”+? We have 35 years’ experience in the breeding of Bonsmara beef cattle and Holstein dairy cattle. Breeding cattle, or in this instance buffalo, for their horns, however, is a totally different story. We started off by first looking at all the different kinds of buffalo – the Addo, Natal, East Africa and Lowveld or Kruger Buffalo. According to Dr Kriek all these buffalo belong to the same species. After the rinderpest only small groups of buffalo survived in different habitats. No subspecies therefore exists; the buffalo are only differentiated by environmental factors. After comprehensive consultation, 4 Daughters Ranching decided to take on the challenge to breed 50”+ bulls from the Kruger Buffalo. We know that when breeding cattle the environment is a determining factor for body size, but how does this affect horn length?

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hunting According to Rowland Ward and Safari Club International (SCI) trophy hunters regard horn measurement and not body size as the most important factor. Buffalo are unique in that they differ in conformation and horn shape. 4 Daughters Ranching has identified three basic horn shapes in buffalo bulls. We regard all three horn shapes as unique and exceptional. In answering the question on which horn shape will make the best trophy, the answer is simple: the beauty of each trophy is in the eyes of the beholder.

Cap – horns have a deep, low curve spread and are normally not very wide.

East Africa Bull – horns’ spread are normally very wide (Rowland Ward) but bosses are small (narrow).

Flat – horns are flatter with only a slight curve. Bosses are normally very wide.

But what does the hunter prefer? We have asked many hunters this question. For most hunters the horn type is not as important as a well-balanced set of horns with wide bosses, a slight curve and, most important, the width of the horns. It therefore has to be a bull measuring 50”+ in spread. The SCI standard takes all measurements into consideration: boss, width and curve of the horns. Rowland Ward, on the other hand, used to focus on the width rather than the bosses. However, a new measurement system for Rowland Ward has been introduced, but to date the minimum criteria to qualify has not been published yet. The main objective of 4 Daughters Ranching is to breed buffalo bulls and cows that will in turn produce bulls of 50”+. As in the case of cattle, we have tested different combinations of bulls with cows. Young bulls are only measured and weighed at three years of age. We then changed the bull/ cow combination and after three years measured the horn length and body weight of these young bulls. Results of this test: 1. The environment has a significant effect on the animal (weight and horns). Animals are kept free of disease and parasites. 2. As in the case of cattle, the combination of the biggest and best-looking cows and bulls does not produce the best horns or body size. 3. Cows with strong feminine traits produce the biggest horns and best body size. When it comes to genetics there is no set rule. However, the combination of a specific cow with a specific bull resulted in exceptional horns and a good-sized body. 4. Ten years of breeding are not really significant when it comes to genetics and we still have a long way to go. Through our ten years of experience we have been fortunate to have bred Salomo, a bull measuring 53”, with a boss of 18” (SCI 136,5”). Salomo is currently one, if not the biggest, disease free bull in Africa. We currently have 11 bulls (16 months of age) sired by Salomo all of them showing immense potential. Salomo has also covered a number of cows and heifers and we are confident that Salomo’s genes would have a big influence on the wildlife and hunting industry resulting in bigger trophy sizes for hunters in the foreseeable future. 14

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hunting Further more, due to our intensive breeding program we have also noticed one of our young bulls, Sebastian (less than 3 years of age), already measuring 41”. Normally bull’s between the ages of 2 and 3 years, has a spread of between 16,1” and 24,4”. We at 4 Daughters Ranching believe that Sebastian would reach 50” before he reach 5 years of age. Currently, we have moved Sebastian to a male herd in order for him to reach his full potential and he would be used together with Salomo as our breeding bulls here at 4 Daughters Ranching in the future. The Wildlife Industry is currently in a very exciting phase and we believe that the market for top genes would drive the industry to new and even higher prices than those seen in recent months. A word of advice to prospective breeders: ensure that you buy the best genes that your money allows. A final message to all our fellow breeders: We must never forget that the hunter is our most important client. It is the hunter that gives game its monetary value. The greatest conservationists are and were also hunters (President Paul Kruger and President Theodore Rooseveld). Ethical hunting should be promoted and practised at all costs. 4 Daughters Ranching is not involved in the hunting industry but in the breeding of top male and female animals for fellow breeders who wish to meet hunters’ demands for great horn measurements. Our clients are also our friends and our animals are our pride. Paul Michau: 083 527 1872 | Michiel Els: 083 256 7712 Twitter: BuffaloBreeder

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Feartured specie

The Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis - Compiled by Johan Viljoen

The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed mammal, the tallest living animal and the largest ruminant. Its most distinctive characteristics are its extremely long neck, legs and its coat patterns. It stands 5–6 m tall and males average a weight of 1600 kg and females 830 kg. It derives from the family Giraffidae and its closes living relative is the Okapi. There are nine subspecies, which are identified by their coat patterns. Giraffes use their height advantage to feed on leaves and buds in treetops where other animals can’t reach. Acacia’s makes up a large part of their diet. It’s 50cm long tongue allows it to reach the tasty morsels from the higher branches. A giraffe spends most of the day grazing, like cattle, they regurgitate the leaves to chew on the cud. It will travel vast distances in search of adequate grazing. Its long legs allow the Giraffe to reach speeds in excess of 50 km/h over shorter distances but can maintain a speed of 15 km/h over long distances. These graceful animals roam the open grasslands in small groups of about a dozen. Their ability to adapt is the main reason for them being wide spread thru Sub-Sahara Africa. Their height allows them to scan the African savannahs for predators on the prowl. Their tall stature also has its disadvantages. Giraffe don’t drink daily and can go for several days without water. They obtain the necessary moisture thru the leaves that they feed on. The time at the waterhole is when they are most vulnerable, having to spread its front legs in order to reach the water which makes a quick escape very difficult.

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Feartured specie This is also when the lion, the apex predator of the savannah, tends to attack. Bulls do battle for dominance by butting their heads and necks against each other and this is commonly referred to as “necking�. These contests are seldom fatal and when one submits, the loser simply walks off. Giraffes are not territorial and the size of social groups change by the hour. Dominant males earn the right to mate. During copulation the male stands on its hind legs with its head held high and its front legs resting on the female’s sides. The female is solely responsible for raising the young and will often gather in nursing groups. The gestation period ranges from 400 to 460 days after which a single calf is born, however cases of multiple births are still being recorded. Giraffes give birth standing upright which means the calf drops 1.5 meters to its first breath. A new born calf stands as tall as an average man, and is able to stand up within thirty minutes from birth and run with its mother within hours. Each individual has a unique skin pattern but Giraffes from the same area appears similar. Identifying male and female Giraffes can be quite tricky. They have short horns on their head also known as ossicones. Both male and female giraffes have horns. Horns are formed from cartilage that transforms into bone. These ossicones or horns are covered by skin and fur. The females have tufts of hair on the top of the ossicones whilst the males, in contrast, usually have bare-topped ossicones. This along with actual size and genitals are methods you can use to determine sex in Giraffes.

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fishing fishing

Dorado Tactics Article by Mike Laubscher of Blue Water Charters | Durban

Dorado - Also known as Mahi-mahi and Dolphin fish. Dorado is one of the most fun fish to catch in our oceans, their greedy gregarious feeding habits along with the aerial acrobatics when hooked up make this species a firm favourite amongst offshore anglers, not to mention the fact that they also make good table fair. Dorado is Spanish for “golden” and it reminds one of El Dorado “The lost city of Gold” which I am sure is due to the conspicuous colouring of this species. Dorado is also a constellation in the Southern Sky that has a Large Magellanic Cloud surrounding it. The name Mahi-mahi comes from Hawaii which means “very strong” and I am quite certain that this derives from the fight these fish give when hooked up. Dorado are surface dwellers and are found offshore in temperate, tropical and subtropical waters all over the world, they are an extremely fast growing species with an average lifespan of around 5 years, average sizes caught are from 6-15Kgs, they can get larger with some fish reaching well over 20Kgs which are usually bulls and are highly sought after by sport anglers worldwide. These fish often swim in small shoals when younger, and the mature ones are usually found in pairs, so you can be sure if you catch a male the female is right there close by. Dorado will usually be around when water temperatures reach 24°C and higher, known as an open water species, it is common that they are caught out in the deeper waters, but these fish can also often be found near shallow reefs and even right behind the breakers. You will often

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fishing find them hunting near shallow pinnacles and ledges, colour lines, current lines, weed lines and one of my personal favorite places is by floating debris. Off Durban you will also find them at the FADS. When you go out looking for Dorado you need to find these types of places and you will most likely find Dorado. They are not a difficult fish to hook up as they are ravenous greedy predators that will eat just about anything that moves from small to large, fast moving and slow moving, they like bright colours and shiny things and so just about any lure will do the trick. Lures There are many lures that can be used, and I have caught them on small spoons meant for Queen Mackerel right through to large 12 inch Kona’s meant for Marlin so there is no saying which lure is perfect for them, I will list some of my favourites which have produced me many Dorado over the years. Lipped Lures – My personal favourites are the shallow runners. • Halco Laser Pros in the 160 size. • Rapala X-Rap Splash Baits in size 14. Colours that I prefer are Pink, Red heads and Blue/ Silver. These can be trolled from 4 knots right through to around 9 knots. Feathers – I love using feathers for Dorado. • Tuna Feathers work extremely well, just change the Tuna hook to a single hook. • Jet Feathers, specifically the Williamson ones. • Small flash feathers. Colours that I prefer are Blue/White, Red/White, Black/Purple, Green/Yellow, Red/Black. These can be trolled from 6 knots right through to around 12 knots.

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fishing Kona’s - from 6 inch right through to 9 inch, with 8 inch being my favourite. · Cup Faced Kona’s work like a charm off the riggers. · Slanted faced Kona’s are best off the corners, and don’t be scared to come in close, even as close as 5 meters. When trolling Kona’s, I like to stick a large one far back on the shot gun, typically I like to use a mould craft wide range here. Colours that I prefer are Orange/Yellow, Black/Purple, Blue/Pink, Blue/ White, Red/Black. These can be trolled from 6 knots right through to around 12 knots. Lures like the Island lure is ideal for adding strip baits, and 6 inch cupped faced lures like the Williamson Sailfish Catcher are perfect for adding whole dead baits into your trolling spread. Once you have a hook up and you are fighting the fish, do not clear all your lines and never ever stop the boat, keep at least one motor engaged. I usually like to keep one of the rigger lines and the shot gun out as far too many times you will get the mate screaming off with one of these whilst you are fighting the initial hook up. Keep a spinning rod handy for pitch baits and once you get your first fish close to the boat, hold him there about 10m away, rig up a dead sardine on the spinning rod and cast it out and let this drift because if it was a shoal all the other Dorado’s will be following that fish, only once this baited line goes on with a fish do you bring in the initial fish, and you repeat this procedure until there is no more action, often you can get another 5 or 6 Dorado once you have the initial hook up, but almost always you will at least catch the mate. Dead Baits and Live Baits Dorado loooove dead sardines and mackerel, these can be fished in several ways, as mentioned above you can use sardines to add some flavour to you Kona’s, and you can also troll them slowly behind the boat, especially when you find floating debris, weed lines and so on. You can also fish these dead baits or live Mackerel on the drift using balloons (keeping baits close to the surface), where you keep close to a weed line or near the debris, if the current is screaming there is no need to use balloons as the speed alone will keep your baits up. Drifting dead sardines and live mackerel like this works extremely well when the North East wind is blowing. You can also

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fishing use spinning rods and cast these dead sardines at the weed lines or debris whilst on the drift. For drifting dead baits I like to use a leader of 0.8mm – 1.0mm and a narrow gauge J hook from 6/0to 8/0 which you simply push through the eye sockets, a 7/0 circle hook also works extremely well. Again, once you have the 1st fish on, do not boat him until you get the second hook up. This method makes your boat into a FAD (Fish Aggregating Device) all by itself and you will often find the Dorado feeding right at the boat. Using this method we have had 5 or even 6 fish on at the same time. To have a clear conscience after writing this article, I have to include a little about handling these fish. Dorado are bad tempered fish, and when hooked up fight like mad and jump like crazy, once on board they go even crazier and if not dealt with correctly can cause injury to those on the boat, especially when chain gangs are involved. The best thing to do before you gaff the fish, is to have a crew member open the fish hatch so when you gaff the fish, you gaff and bring over board directly into the fish hatch in one move and shut the door.

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fishing A few years ago whilst fishing with some clients we had had a good day catching Snoek (Queen Mackerel), but the Snoek had gone quiet and so we made our way to the deep side of No.1 to do some bottom fishing. Before I even had the bottom rods ready we noticed Dorado flashing by the boat, and so I changed the rigging and we started pitching dead sardines, I remember that day very well because we already had 11 Snoek onboard and we only had 19 sardines on board and each one produced a Dorado. The fishing was crazy mad and for most of the time all 5 of us had a Dorado on and we were running around the centre consul deck knitting, whilst the fish were trying their utmost to tangle our lines. We already had about 10 Dorado on board when one of the guys hooked into a Big Bull of around 15Kg’s and he really tested the spinning tackle to its limits but eventually we got this angry slapping Bull of Dorado onto the boat. This was where the real fun began, when I gaffed him and swung this bad tempered fish overboard, he wriggled off the gaff landing on deck. Three guys were still fighting their Dorado’s and this Bull decided to start flapping his way around the deck, chasing and slapping everyone on board. Luckily the hook came out so there was no danger of this, but we all got our fair share of Dorado blood painting. The beast was determined not to be caught and when at the bow he tried to jump over board, to me there was no ways this fish was going back and I pulled him back and sat on him, it was when I sat on this Bull that he decided to snack on my family jewels rendering me useless for several minutes.

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Boulyn kolletjie Feed / Voer Once you’ve tried us... you will be caught

,

&

Contact George: 082 410 7843

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Feartured specie

Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides - Compiled by Cobus Steyl The largemouth bass is an olive green fish, marked by a series of dark, sometimes black, blotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along each flank. The upper jaw (maxilla) of a largemouth

bass extends beyond the rear margin of the orbit. In comparison to age, a female bass is larger than a male. The largemouth is the largest of the black basses, reaching a maximum recorded overall length of 75 cm and a maximum unofficial weight of 11.4 kg. The life expectations of this species are 16 years on average.

Forage The juvenile largemouth bass consumes mostly small bait fish, scuds, small shrimp and insects. Adults consume smaller fish, snails, crayfish, frogs, snakes, salamanders, bats and even small water birds and mammals. In larger lakes and dams, adult bass occupy deeper water than younger fish, and shift to a diet consisting almost entirely of smaller fish. Bass is also known to prey on members of their own species. Prey items can be as large as 50% of the bass’ body length. Studies of prey utilization by largemouth’s show that in weedy waters, bass grow more slowly due to difficulty in acquiring prey. Less weed cover allows bass to more easily find and catch prey, but this consists of more open water baitfish. Fishery managers must consider these factors when designing regulations for specific bodies of water. Under overhead cover, such as overhanging banks, brush or submerged structure, such as weed beds, points, humps, ridges and drop-offs, the largemouth bass uses its senses of hearing, sight, smell and lateral line to pick up vibration to www.africanadventures.co.za

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Feartured specie attack and seize its prey. Adult largemouth’s are generally apex predators within their habitat, but they are preyed upon by many animals while young. Angling Largemouth’s are keenly sought after by anglers and are noted for the excitement of their fight. The fish will often jump completely out of the water in their effort to throw the hook, but many say that their cousin species, the smallmouth bass, beats them pound for pound. Anglers can target these fish using a variety of techniques and lures. Weather conditions, structure and prey species are all contributing factors to which lures and techniques will be effective. Strong cultural pressure among largemouth bass anglers encourages the fish’s live release, especially the larger specimens, mainly because larger specimens are usually breeding females that contribute heavily to future sport fishing stocks. Largemouth bass, if handled with care, respond well to catch and release.

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fishing

Trawling the Tropics

- by Chir Louw

The dawn of paradise was upon us and having started the countdown in April, when our airplane tickets were bought, we were finally en route to the Seychelles for a two week long, well deserved break with the family. The first week of the holiday was spent ‘acclimatizing’ to the tropics by going on a rum tasting tour to the famous Takamaka Bay rum distillery and Island hoping to the picturesque Prahlin and La Dique on a beautiful 51 foot Sunseaker. During the Island hoping excursions the fishing lines were inevitably dropped as the slow cruise speed was ideal for trolling. Our spirits were high with the hope of hooking an elusive Sailfish, but alas, our mood was quickly dampened when we did not even get a single strike between the 90 km stretch from Mahe (the main Island of the Seychelles) to Prahlin. After diligently studying the weather for the rest of our stay in the Seychelles we finally set a date for the big fishing trip to the Southern drop-off. Finally the day had arrived and after an anxious night’s sleep (worrying about the weather and pirates) we were up at 4am in order to start our voyage at the break of dawn. At first glance the weather was perfect and as we cruised out of the harbour into the mirror like ocean it seemed that our patience had paid-off. The 15km stretch beside the shoreline of Mahe was windless and hence I started salivating at the thought of a perfect days fishing. As we went past the Southern tip of Mahe and abandoned the shelter provided by the mountainous Island, the wind started howling and swells began to grow larger. The windless day was a fallacy and the bumpy 2 hours ride to our fishing grounds started.

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fishing

When we arrived at our destination we were greeted by a steep drop-off on the fish finder from approximately 17m to 1000m in depth. With great excitement we hooked our lines to the two out-riggers with medium-sized pink and purple skirts and the two rods in the middle with multi-colored skirts. Our lines were barely in the water when we had our first strike. As expected, the first couple of fish were Bonitos which we kept in the hatch for bait. A few minutes later we had a serious strike. Having drawn straws beforehand fate dictated that this one would be mine and 10 minutes later I landed a beautiful 15kg Wahoo. The Bonitos kept us entertained with regular takes and every Boni was accompanied by the Lyrics “Boni, Boni, Boni always Boni, in a fishing world” on the tune of Money, Money, Money by Abba. Sporadically we also hooked more intriguing species including Rainbow runner and King Fish. We were however pleasantly surprised when all three reels screamed simultaneously. Unfortunately my brother and father’s lines crossed and the friction caused my father’s line to snap. After another wonderful battle lasting approximately 15 minutes we landed two Yellowfin Tuna’s approximately 15kg in weight. Within minutes of the lines going in again it was my dad’s turn to wrestle with a Wahoo speedster which would have made double digits on the scale. What was going to be on the menu next we all speculated? As we began refueling on Seybrew (the local beer) and delicious goodies packed by the wives, we unexpectedly had a strike on one of the out-riggers. It was our first strike on the more distant skirts placed on the out-riggers and from the sheer scream of the running reel we all knew this was going to be a big one. After a 30 minute “deep burn” tug of war and much speculation of what specie was on the other end of the line, my brother finally managed to land a stunning 40 kg Dogtooth Tuna. 30

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fishing As you might expect the debate arose amongst us of what the ultimate fish would be to duel with. Having witnessed my brother’s battle and considering its rarity, my father answered without hesitation “it has to be a Dogtooth”. The cry of the ratchet had become a familiar sound and once again a brute of a fish started ripping line off the reel at an astounding pace. When at last my father was able to turn the fish it was time for the black magic harness to do its work in helping him win back line, inch-by-inch. The constant head bumps on the line should have provided the clue as to what species was involved in the tug of war that ensued. Twenty minutes later the mystery was solved when we had the first glimpse of a huge silver body showing in the depth below the boat, lady luck was on our side as my father landed a beautiful 30kg “Doggie”. The drop-off did not disappoint and as we headed homeward bound we all sat back, with a beer in hand, and took the opportunity to reminisce on what can only be describe as a majestic day. They say a picture paints a thousand words; and the grin of contentment on each of our faces depicted the fact that this will be an experience that will be stored in the memory banks for years to come.

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events

Not to be missed Uban’inkunzi Cultural Competition &

GAUTENG

Exhibition 28 - 30 December

AVA Expo

Piet Retief

11- 13 November Sandton Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge 18 November

KwaZulu-Natal 50 Miler Canoe Marathon

Johannesburg

1 -2 December

Sisters With Blisters 24 November

Durban Umhlanga Summer Carnival

Bryanston

10 -23 December Umhlanga

Mpumalanga Sabie Experience 15 - 18 December Sabie

NORTH WEST Padvark Rally 16 - 18 November

Dullstroom Arts Festival 16 -18 December Dullstroom

Hartbeespoort Summer Retreat Groot Marico 2 - 4 December Groot Marico

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events Rainhill Farm Christmas Market

Synergy Live

10 - 17 December

30 - 2 December

Rustenburg

Villiersdorp

Eastern Cape

Freestate Cherry Festival

St Francis Bay MTB Challenge

15 - 17 November

23 - 25 November

Ficksburg

Port St Francis, St Francis Bay

Parys Christmas Market

Friends of St Francis Nature Areas 10km

16 - 24 December

28 December

Parys

Cape St Francis Kenton Music Fest

WESTERN CAPE

31 December Kenton on Sea

Wines2Whales Mountain Bike Race 9 - 11 November

Sani Stagger Endurance Race

Cape Winelands

24 November Sani Pass

Animal To Hell and Back MTB 17 - 18 November Oudtshoorn

Northern Cape

Delheim MTB & Trail Run Event

Namakwa Festival

17 - 18 November

2 - 5 December

Stellenbosch

Springbok

Bonsai Expo

If you would like to publish your event here, please send details of event to: info@africanadventures.co.za

25 - 27 November Joostenberg Vlakte

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diving

Top 10 Dive sites Clifton Rocks and A-Frame Kate Jonker, Indigo Scuba - Gordon’s Bay

- continues

Clifton Rocks: A group of granite boulders at the southern end of Clifton’s Fourth Beach give name to this dive site which is easily accessed from the shore. Clifton Rocks is best dived in summer when theSouth Easterly winds bring clear water to this part of the coastline. To reach the entry point, drive down The Ridge road and park in the last car park you find. The path down to the entry point is next to house number 93. Entry and exit is from the large, sloping rocks a little further down the point. Once in the water, swim on the surface towards the huge boulders to your left or descend and make your way there under water. Clifton Rocks is typical of the dive sites in the area, with huge granite boulders that have been eroded away by water movement causing overhangs, caves and gullies. There are quite a few swim-throughs (some quite small) and kelp forest which are fun to explore. Depth of this dive site ranges between 7 and 14 metres. The dive can sometimes be quite surgey in the shallower areas and in the narrow channels between the rocks. Marine life here includes kelp forests, colourful sponges and anemones, sea urchins, nudibranchs, and if you look closely you might spot some tiny bobtail squid hiding in the coarse sand. Water temperature ranges between 8°C and 14°C and a warm wetsuit with gloves and a hoodie is advised. Clifton Rocks are located in a marine protected area and a dive permit, purchased from any post office, is required to dive here. A Frame: A-Frame is a shore dive, suitable for divers of all levels. Situated just south of Simon’s Town on the western side of False Bay, it is best dived in winter when the North Westerly winds have

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diving cleared up the water. Park alongside the main road next to the houses on the seaward side of the road just past Froggy Pond. Park opposite the house closest to Froggy Pond and kit up alongside the road. Make your way down the steps to the private road and find the path that leads down to the shore. Follow the path to the left and enter the water from the low flat rocks on your left hand side. You will also exit here. You can either descend here and make your way underwater towards the largest rock, or swim on the surface until you reach the rocks and descend there. A-Frame consists of large granite outcrops and kelp forest close to shore. The larger rocks have sheer sides, forming steep sided crevices and swim-throughs. Marine life is colourful and very varied. The boulders are covered with plant life, anemones, feather stars, colourful sponges and sea fans. Many different nudibranchs can be spotted here. Fish life is plentiful and includes red roman, hottentot, klipvis, shy shark, pyjama shark and gully sharks. Seals often visit divers here. The depth ranges between 5m and 10m. Water temperature is usually between 10°C and 15°C and a thick wetsuit with booties, gloves and hoodie are recommended. A-Frame is located in a marine protected area and a dive permit, purchased from any post office, is required to dive here. For more info contact: Kate Jonker, Indigo Scuba Gordon’s Bay Email: kate@indigoscuba.com Phone: 083 391 6996

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diving

Mountains to Mantas

-Anthony Griffin

Whilst warming up next to a Snoek braai after the Western Province successfully defeated the Blue Bulls again, it was unanimously decided that the ‘87 model Cruiser had enough lead in his pipes to take us to unfamiliar waters. Being stationed in the Mother City, we had no alternative as to scuba dive the waters around Cape Town. Together with three friends, we set out from Cape Town and headed for Ponta Do Ouro on the Southern Coast of Mozambique. As usual, my Land Cruiser ran like a dream. Upon arrival at our overnight destination, a game farm in the Maluti Mountains near Ficksburg, we realized that the Eastern Freestate offers us a unique opportunity to experience a 4x4 bush adventure our Capetonians aren’t familiar with. We instantaneously decided that our trip will be prolonged and that our diving gear will have to stay dry for an extra day or so. After showing the true power of the ‘87 Cruiser on the challenging 4x4 trail, Will reminded us of our primary reason for the trip, which were scuba diving tropical waters. As one, we moved down the mountain, passing a daring looking hiking trail on our way to a couple of cold refreshments, sympathising twith the few individuals who attempted it. The rest of the road trip exceeded all expectations. An early departure ensured that the prebooked accommodation in Hluhluwe Umfolozi National Park allowed adequate time for some game viewing in this unique wildlife sanctuary. Armed with a Hunters Dry and Swarovski CL compassion 30, James was more interested in bird viewing than spotting the notorious Big 5. All the excitement of what was and what was to come made it fairly difficult to get a good night’s rest.

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diving The only obstacle between us and a memorable diving holiday was the border post at Kosi Bay. Being law abiding citizens, we breezed thru the border post and made our way to our final destination, The Whaler in Ponta Do Ouro. After unpacking and settling in at our rooms, we reflected back at what was already a truly African Safari. The expectation of finding myself with my newly acquired Lontra Wetsuit from Cressi, submerged in a new underwater world the next morning made for excitement unrivalled. Our accommodation at The Whaler exceeded all our expectation and contributed in making the trip a memorable experience. Early the following morning, the final checks on our equipment was complete and we headed down to the beach at the break of dawn. The protected bay made for a very comfortable launch and after a short 2 km boat ride, we reached our first reef of choice. We decided to ease into our scuba diving holiday by diving Doodles. This is a reef with breath-taking caves where a variety of reef species like potato bass, paper fish and parrots fish but to name a few can be observed. It is a fairly easy dive with depths ranging from 15-17 meters. The tropical warm waters of Mozambique was a far cry from the icy water of the Cape which we were use to. We were blown away by the abundance of reef fish and the array of colours of the coral. After the quickest 45 minute of our lives, it was time to head back to the surface. The second dive proofed to be a lot more challenging. Atlantis takes you as far down as 57 meters and the boulders and intimidating rock overhangs reminded us of the waters back home, with one noticeable difference, visibility. We were amazed at the visibility that range up to 23

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diving meters allowing us to spot a large school of giant Barracuda in the distance. On closer investigation, we were astounded by the variety of aquatic live seen on these reefs. Encountering a Mantis Shrimp was truly a unique experience, seeing this featherweight boxer scampering around in search of its next victim left me breathless, so I had to return to the surface. On our boat ride back to shore, we were accompanied by a pod of Dolphins and spotting a giant Leatherback turtle darting for cover is memories I will treasure for years to come. Driving thru the small Karoo town of 3 Sisters was a tell-tale sign that we had to dive its namesake reef in Ponta. So with our trip drawing to a close, our last day dive was scheduled at a reef called 3 Sisters. However, with dreadfull weather conditions, it proofed to be quite the challenge. The rough boat ride out was something our Capetonians were comfortable with, but it sure as hell influenced visibility. Finding myself submerged 26 meters below the turbulent waters above, I observed a different city life. The hustle and bustle of the reef was something our city dwellers can relate too. However, I was truly flabbergasted to see Manta Rays, Potato Bass, Whale Sharks and several other fish species congregate and patiently waiting their turn at the cleaning station. Not intimidated by our presence, it was remarkable to see these cleaner fish go to work removing parasites from these gentle giants after which I hitched a ride with a Whale Shark back into the deep blue. On my return, I spotted Will and Adam fascinated with a Moray Eel’s ability to become one with the reef. With the currents picking up, we were forced to end this truly remarkable dive. Back at The Whaler, all of us tried to speak at once, trying to articulate our emotions and experiences of the past 3 dives into words. This proofed fairly challenging as the Oxford dictionary does not comprise of words with enough meaning to share this unforgettable journey. Like it started, this remarkable adventure concluded around a fish braai. We were in complete agreement that this has been a trip of a lifetime and is highly recommended for anyone with a love for the ocean.

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Recipe

Lamb Cutlets with a Moroccan Twist

(served with minty couscous salad) - Lizel Stavast For Couscous • Place couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour over the prepared stock, cover with cling film and leave for ten minutes. • Uncover and use a fork to fluff couscous. • Add the freshly chopped mint, coriander, cucumber, lemon juice and toss to combine. • Season to taste.

Ingredients Rack of lamb cut into cutlets 1 tsp paprika 2 tsp round cumin 1 stp ground coriander 3 tsp olive oil 150 grm couscous 200 ml chicken stock Freshly chopped mint Freshly chopped coriander 1 small cucumber seeded Juice of ½ a lemon

Serve the lamb cutlets alongside the minty couscous salad.

Method For the Lamb • In a bowl, mix together coriander, cumin, paprika and olive oil. • Rub the mixture over the lamb. • Heat a griddle pan over medium heat. • Pan fry the lamb chops to your liking.

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COMPACT BINOCULARS, IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE THE NEW CL COMPANION 30. CLOSE AT HAND

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ANY TIME the extremely light, compact construction ensures exceptional manageability and simple handling

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To ďŹ nd your closest Stockist, please call Brad on 031-5848088

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Feartured specie

Kori Bustards K

Ardeotis kori - Compiled by Johan Viljoen

ori Bustards are one of the largest flying birds. Males can reach a weight of up to 18 kg whilst females are half the size of the males. There are two subspecies; Ardeotis kori struthiunculus has a mottled grayish-buff coloration with dark brown vermiculation and is found in great numbers threw out East Africa. The sides of the crown on the head extend into a black crest and a white stripe runs over each eye. The neck, throat and chin are creamy white mixed with black bands. The under parts of the bird are a yellowish-brown buff colour with dark brown vermiculation. The tail has wide bands of grayish brown and white with the flight feathers similarly marked. The shoulder area has a checkered black and white pattern. The slightly smaller Southern subspecies Ardeotis kori kori is similar in appearance with minor plumage differences. Distribution and Habitat The East African subspecies is found in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. The Southern African subspecies is found throughout Southern Africa. Kori Bustards are birds of wide, open grasslands and sparsely wooded savannas. The Eastern subspecies is generally found at low altitude ranging from 700 to 2000 meters above sea level with its cousin found in arid savanna areas where trees are scattered intermittently. Both subspecies prefer areas with short grass and a good view of the surrounding area. Migrations in response to rainfall and food availability have been recorded, but the species is not migratory in the true sense.

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Feartured specie Diet Kori Bustards are omnivores, although they tend to be more carnivorous than other species of bustards. Insects form a large portion of their diet, especially as chicks. Adults also eat a variety of small mammals, lizards, snakes, seeds and berries of plants. Kori Bustards are reported to eat the gum from the Acacia tree and this is where the Afrikaans name “Gompou” derives from. It is not clear if they are after the gum itself or the insects stuck to it. Kori Bustards are one of a few bird species that drink water using a sucking motion rather than scooping it up as commonly found with other birds. Reproduction Males often gather in formations on hilltops to display for females. During the height of display, the esophagus in the neck of the male can be inflated to as much as four times its normal size. The wings are dropped down as low as possible and the tail feathers are cocked so as to reveal the white underfeathers. During courtship, the male will bow toward the female with his neck inflated and bill snapping. He may also emit a low-pitched booming sound. Copulation lasts for a few seconds, and once over, will he leave to resume his display to attract other females. He plays no part in incubation or in the rearing of chicks. Like all bustards one or two eggs are laid in a shallow scrape made by the females. The eggs are pale olive in color with blotches of brown with an incubation period of 23-24 days. The chicks are able to follow their mother around shortly after hatching. They remain with her well after the five week fledging period and reach sexual maturity after two years. Photo: Arnstein Rønning

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Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate, Black Coffee Michael 076 592 0568 Stephen 082 459 1585 OďŹƒce 012 751 1960

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Self-heating Can Hot with just one click

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Christmas Gift Ideas BRAAIMATE Mushroom braaipan

Braaibroodjies, Slakke, Pasteie

R350 (R50 posgeld) www.braaimate.co.za

084 401 9817 | 016 973 2967

Anchor your umbrella For orders, please contact us on (021) 534 1100

www.pincho.co.za Dios Y El Rey 073 081 9635

R690 incl vat Zero Ammunition Box

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WIDE RANGE OF LED PRODUCTS TEL 011 933 3178

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DAIWA’S WINDCAST Z 5500 SPINNING REEL. Available only from specialist fishing tackle stores country wide, for under R2000 Distributed by Tel: 031 368 3903

V Vanguards A Aw Award ard winning Endea Endeavour Binoculars give xceptional ceptional crispness at a very ve y affordable affordable price. pric Find exceptional fotacs.co.za your closest dealer at www.f www.fotacs.co.za

Affordable quality bushveld hunting scope

R2190 deli deliveryy included Jan 082 574 4859 info@opticsinternational.co.za www.opticsinternational.co.za

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“Vanguards Quest T-62 Shooting Stick is a tripod, bi-pod and mono pod ALL IN ONE! nearest supplier.”

The best gift you can give a Hunter STAINLESS STEEL • SMOKER LID INCLUDED

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festive special Small game carry frame

Willie - 082 883 2113

R690 incl vat

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adventure

Perlemoen Trail

- Leon Hugo

Pearly Beach /Gansbaai, Overberg Region Hiking Trail Description This Green Flag slackpacking trail, centred around South Africa’s famous Great White shark cage diving and whale watching capital of Gansbaai, basically consists of three days’ hiking (with alternative shorter as well as self-catering options). The trail provides fascinating insight into the area – famous for its shipwrecks and infamous for its Perlemoen (abalone) poaching! This is a trail for whale watchers, fynbos lovers and cultural enthusiasts with wide open beaches, intimate coves for swimming, sea cliffs with pounding waves and amazingly unknown limestone caves.

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adventure On day 1 the trail hugs the coast from De Dam to Buffelsjag (15km) with the option of walking to Pearly Beach (another 7 km). On day 2 the trail follows the beach to Franskraal (12 km) and day 3 runs from Gansbaai, along the rocky coast, with its caves and excellent whale watching, to Die Plaat (8km). DAY 1 (15km): Hike through coastal fynbos, along rocky coasts, fascinating limestone sea cliffs and outstretched sandy beaches, past Quoin Point lighthouse with an unique fisherman’s lunch (with alikrekel pastries and abalone specially prepared for the hikers) at Buffelsjag. Visit the sand-engulfed ‘Spookdorp’ and swim in the tidal pool. Meet local fisherman en route and after the hike recline at the Pearly Beach B&B with a cold beer/cool drink alongside a swimming pool while potjiekos or braai is being prepared. A longer – extra 7km option, over easy flat terrain along the coast, is also available – including the Otari Maru shipwreck. DAY 2 (13km): Follow the rocky coast and remote white sandy beaches along the ‘Gruis’ where there is ample opportunity to swim in rock pools or surf the waves. You are bound to see dolphins playing in the surf, seals scattering over rocky shores as well as the endangered Black Oyster Catcher and multitudes of other sea birds. The hike ends at the Uilkraals Nature Reserve and a visit to the little Strandveld museum where you can listen to the tragic stories of shipwrecks of days gone by as told by the writer SJ Fourie and her husband Oom Pyp Fourie. Overnight in a luxury B&B in Kleinbaai.

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adventure DAY 3 (8km): Walk along the unsurpassed scenic beauty of the cliffs at De Kelders with its world class whale viewing, crawl into limestone caves not accessible to the general public (some of them optional for the more adventurous); unparallel views over the coast at Die Plaat with intimate coves for swimming along the trail and massive breakers thundering against the sea cliffs… and then finally rounding off the experience with a dinner at the vernacular Buitesteen Pub. NOTE: A two day option is a small version of the renowned Whale trail: the Walker BayWhale Walk (alias Whale petit). It is a combination of Day 1 and 3 of the Perlemoen trail described above.The three day option is the Perlemoen trail described above. Budget (self-catering options) are also available. Nearby Guesthouses: Pearly Shells B&B, Pearly Beach, (www.pearlybeachguesthouse.co.za), The Ark, P/Beach.(www.the-ark.co.za), Haus Giotto, De Kelders, Gansbaai (www.hausgiotto. com), Aire del Mar, Kleinbaai, Gansbaai. (www.airedelmar.co.za)

Trail Type Duration Layout Difficulty Distance Maximum

Hiking Trail  1,2 or 3 days  One Way Easy to Moderate 36 km  12 persons 

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Feartured specie

Paperbark Thorn acacia sieberiana

- Compiled by Cobus Steyl

One of the typical flat-crowned or umbrella-shaped acacias found in Southern Africa. The tree can reach up to 12m in height with a spread of about 15m. The most distinctive feature of this tree is the “corkyâ€? yellowish-brown bark which flakes in papery pieces exposing the yellow under bark. The leaves are typical acacia and easily distinguishable with the straight thorns that are white and up to 9cm long. The Paperbark Thorn flowers profusely in spring and the flowers are creamy white puffy balls which attracts a lot of insects and parasites. It is a very popular garden tree which attracts a lot of birds due to the insects and parasites in the pods of flowers and peeling layers of bark. Acacia sieberiana is a perennial tree native to Africa and introduced into Pakistan. Uses The tree offers a wide variety of uses for animals and humans alike. The inside bark was historically used to make twine while the gum acts as a food source for animals. Adhesives and inks are also common uses from the gum. The flowers of the tree make good forage for bees and bee hives are placed directly in the trees for this. The leaves sometimes contain chemical compounds that when ingested may release hydrogen cyanide which can be lethal to cattle. However, they can be lifesaving during dry times of the year. Traditional medicinal uses In Africa, the Paperbark Thorn has several traditional medicinal uses ranging from treating fever to kidney problems. Nitrogen fixation The tree is a legume, so it takes nitrogen gas out of the air and converts it into nitrogen fertilizer (this phenomenon is known as nitrogen fixation), from which surrounding crops benefit. Wood The wood is fairly hard and it is used for furniture, handles for implements and tools for grinding. The wood density is about 655 kg/mÂł.

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adventure

HAND MADE IN SOUTH AFRICA – Lynette Haasbroek

Deon word 40 en dis nou iets wat voorwaar gevier moet word! Na vele beraadslaging, kom swaer Piet en skoonsus Griet vorendag met ‘n verassing vir Deon. Deon vermoed daar is iets aan die gang, maar presies wat dit is, die weet hy nie. Dis nou een ding van die liewe Uys familie, hulle hou van ‘n SURPRISE!! Kyk, hierdie verassings paartie word haarfyn beplan, sonder dat Deon regtig vermoed wat aan die gang is. Volgens Deon, gaan ons almal Ermelo toe vir die jolly naweek, waar ons by swaerie hulle sal kuier. Intussen het die 3 klein Hasies, Joelien, Divan en Reinhardt die Oktober vakansie by oupa Piet en ouma Grietjie deurgebring, en hulle sal dan terselfdertyd sommer weer opgelaai word. So is Magda en Deon met oupa Brand en ouma Nettie in die Amarok, oppad na Ermelo vir die 40 jaar se verjaarsdagviering van Deon. Dis nou maar een ding van die Haasbroeke, “They do not travel light.” Selfs ‘n voertuig so ruim soos die Amarok is steeds nie groot genoeg nie, so die trailertjie is agter aangehak vir die kuiertjie in Ermelo! Soos vooraf beplan deur swaerie hulle, ontvang Magda ‘n oproep op haar Blackberry, terwyl ons nou so in die Amarok oppad is Ermelo toe. “Die trokke staak alweer en die brug voor Ermelo is geblokkeer, so sê vir Deon, julle sal definitief die ompad moet vat deur Breyton!” Deon gehoorsaam ewe gedwee en merk so ewe droog op: “OK, nou gaan daar ten minste minder van hierdie groot kolle trokke op die pad wees!” Dit is inderdaad toe ook die geval. Ons vorder ewe fluks todat Magda gil: “Deon, Deon, draai hier links af!” Deon verminder huiwerig spoed, en wil weet vir wat moet hy nou al afdraai? Magda wat graag wil hou volgens pa Piet se instruksies, om af te draai, waar sy die lewensgrote skaap op die muur sien staan, gil: “Draai net, Deon draai hier links af!!” “Maar Magda, so gaan ons mos nie by Ermelo uitkom nie? Vir wat moet ek nou al afdraai?” “Omdat jy MOET! Deon, DRAAI net flippen hier af!!!” Ewe gedwee draai Deon af by die skaap op die muur. Toe eers besef hy, hy is op n dwaalspoor gebring. “Julle beplan iets, julle wetters. Wat is hier aan die gang?” wil Deon huiwerig weet.

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Ons bevind ons toe op die pragtige plaas van Steve en Hettie Rautenbach. Ons ry deur ‘n laning grasgroen akkerbome en elke hier en daar is daar ‘n pad aanwysing aangebring wat deur Joelien gemaak is. Op die plaashek is ‘n groot kennisgewing aangebring: DAM GESLUIT. PRIVAAT FUNKSIE. DEON 40!!!” Verder af in die plaas pad sien ons hulle…. Joelien, Divan en Reinhardt hardloop ons tegemoed. Deon laat vir Ozzer, die worsie uit die kar en die hardloop huiwerig nader, en pik toe egter so verward, dat hy na ‘n paar tree terug storm kar toe! Toe Ozzer egter eers agterkom dit sy favourite fans wat op hom afstorm, sit hy ‘n hengse keel op, na ‘n hele week se weersiens. Piet en Griet vorm die verwelkomings komitee voor Steve se kliphuis. Griet heet ons plegtig welkom by vyfster verblyf met ‘n ondeunde glimlag. “Dis so lekker hier, mens kan sommer op die voorstoep sit en ‘n lyn gooi!” Trots kondig Griet aan: “Hier is twee groot vertrekke!” “Ons slaap onder, en julle slaap almal bo!” kondig sy sonder seremonie aan. “Daai geboutjie daar anderkant,……… is die ablusieblok.” “Maar moenie worry nie, ons het ‘n plan gemaak!!! Met moeite klim Griet en Piet op boontoe met die hout trap sonder reelings, om vir my te wys waar slaap ek en Brand, Deon, Magda, Joelien, Divan en Reinhardt. Baie trots sê Griet: “Hier is julle slaapplek, julle kry die dubbelbed en die res slaap elders” In plaas van ‘n tjoklit op die kussing, is ons verwelkomings geskenkie ‘n vreemde kontrepsie op my kopkussing. Ek bekyk die besigheid huiwerig. “Lees die instuksies, dis spesiaal vir julle gerief gemaak deur Piet!” sê Griet trots. Angstig moedig hulle my aan om die instruksies te lees! Op my kussing lê ‘n 2 liter plastiek bottel met ‘n tregter bo in die opening gedruk? Toegerus met ‘n plekkie vir die Dettol, die prop en die toiletpapier! Tot Joelien het haar eie private bottel met Piet se piepieplan vasgebind daaraan. Sy verseker egter vir oupa Piet: ”Dankie oupa, maar ek staan glad nie in die nag op nie! Oupa moes nie soveel moeite gedoen het nie!” Heelwat later die aand sak ek behaaglik terug in die kussings op ons dubbelbed. Dit is die heel eerste keer dat ons saam met Deon, Magda, Joelien, Divan en Reinhardt in een vertrek kan slaap. Ons word slegs geskei deur ‘n groot groen kombers, wat Griet en Piet aangebring het ter wille van privaatheid. Dit voel so lekker soos daai dae, lank lank gelede toe ons nog almal onder een kombers kon toemaak.

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Rhinos in Distress

- Rob Austin

Having been asked to write an article about the rhino statistics in South Africa, a subject very dear to my heart, I mistakenly thought at the onset, that with the knowledge I have, it would be a breeze. The first thing one does in an instance such as this, is head straight for Google in an attempt at researching the subject and obtaining more recent and relevant information from the people and organisations that matter. Now, the Internet and all the modern digital apparatus’s associated with it, is a wonderful and informative innovation, but at the same time, it can be confusing beyond belief. The problem with the internet, is that there are so many concerned rhino and wildlife groups, individuals and organisations, who, having sourced their own information by various means in the digital world, are all busy trying to outdo the next in getting their specific update out through all the social media sites first. Social network, media sites and mobile phones play an extremely big and important role in spreading the word to interested people around the world in seconds, regarding our rhino welfare. But, when you go into it further and check it all out, you find that there are so many contradicting figures quoted by different sources, which it invariably leaves the reader to make up his or her own mind, as to the general direction in which the statistics are headed. It gets confusing to say the least. We should also bear in mind as we ponder here, that people working within the framework of our National Parks and Wildlife Department, or, the private game ranches and reserves for that matter, get first hand information regarding rhino atrocities and so, by the means of their 56

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adventure mobile and email facilities, they immediately pass the information on to others, instead of waiting for the incident to be released by The Department Of Environmental Affairs, which possibly creates further confusion in the end. And so we ask ourselves, whom should we believe? It would be advantageous, if Environmental Affairs would take the trouble to release updated statistics more regularly, which would satisfy the publics need for information. It is possibly because of this obvious lack of vital information that many have been quoted as saying, that the government itself couldn’t care less about our rhino. In regards to another debatable issue, it is also rumoured, that why should South Africa continually spend millions of taxpayers Rands on rhino and wildlife protection, when in the end, the situation will inevitably end up the same as it did in the countries to the north of our borders. Zimbabwe was a good example, where the people set about the wildlife with venom when all the white farmers were evicted from their farms. Thousands upon thousands of animals, including the endangered black rhino were exterminated in a matter of months, as the farms were being seized and occupied by the socalled war veterans. Snaring and indiscriminate slaughter ensued with an unparalleled passion. Wildlife meat was available at almost every kiosk or vendors stall countrywide, as people sought to get rich at the wildlife’s expense. The wildlife industry which had taken the Zimbabweans, a century to build, was literally annihilated in a few months. It has also been suggested blatantly, that the syndicates who organise and pay the poachers and couriers in South Africa, have infiltrated the government officials and when you look at the corruption which is so rife within the country, what could make any sane person or individual not believe it true. So then, how do we deal with the situation, or, what can be done to avoid the inevitable as they say? Firstly, we need the government, right from the president himself, to take an active interest and decisive role in helping us solve the poaching and exploitation of our wildlife, be it fauna or flora. The president should immediately call for a board of enquiry to be set up to investigate every official and employee, of not only the government departments, but also those in the privately owned game reserves and safari industry. If necessary, a lie detector should be used in every interview to weed out the culprits, should there be any. The South African government must also immediately, seek bi-lateral agreements with all the SADDC countries to prevent the sale and transportation of all rhino and illegal wildlife products.

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The next scenario the government should look at, is two fold. Firstly, our Department of National Parks and Wildlife say that they are badly under staffed and that they cannot carry out enough anti-poaching patrols. It is also said that anti-poaching concerns are sub contracted at huge expense to assist in the anti-poaching exercises. Secondly, it is muttered nation wide that the government is paying billions of Rands of the taxpayer’s money to thousands of military personal, who are badly in need of field and practical education and experience. Guerrilla warfare ranks the most challenging and dangerous in the world. Poaching using high-powered weapons such as the notorious AK 47 and the poachers motive operand, puts these unscrupulous barbarians right smack in that category and the army should now accept this as a fact and get actively involved in the “War Against Rhino Poaching”. How can any government expect the private individuals of its country to fight a war without weapons, whilst the taxpayers of that country actually employ the government to do it for them? It is felt that if the government can waste over four billion Rands on catering, travel and entertainment this past year, that surely they could have utilized a reasonable portion of that money more constructively, by setting up a Joint Operations Command Centre for anti-poaching. This centre would include high ranking Parks and Military officials and all operations carried out, be it ground or air, could be initialised, sanctioned and controlled by them. South Africa should take the initiative for the sake of our valued wildlife, by simply saying, enough is enough and they should place observation posts and base camps in suitable positions and lock down all the areas not used by tourists. The previous regime of Zimbabwe, called them “No Go Areas” and any person foolish enough to be wandering around in those areas, were either arrested on sight, or shot. Border access or game viewing roads which are currently being utilised by parks game viewing vehicles and the public, should then be monitored by security forces at all times. As yet, we have not touched properly on the Department Of Environmental Affairs and the updates of rhino statistics. The government should insist that strict records of any rhino in the country be registered with the Department Of National Parks and Wildlife. All game reserves and national parks carry out yearly animal counts and all figures of resident rhino should be entered into the national database. Strict records of births and deaths, be it in the government areas, provincial, or within the private sector, should be recorded and entered as well and eventually, we will have an up to date database of our national rhino population, both black and white. The Department Of Environmental Affairs, should be instructed by the government, to update their statistics page regularly every month in order to keep the interested public well informed, as to what is going on within the national parks to avoid any confusion and misquoting, which was mentioned in the second paragraph of this article.

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Recently, a popular radio station in Kwa Zulu Natal went all out to raise funds for sub contracted helicopter patrols to be reinstated in the Umfolozi and Hululwe National parks after the reported deaths, of nine rhino by poachers. Thankfully a considerable amount of money was raised and the service was resumed immediately. Several notable people were interviewed on the program, one of them a high ranking parks official, and all of them were adamant that the helicopter patrols had reduced the rate of poaching in the respective parks in the past, by as much as 80%. Although this is fantastic news for the rhino and will probably do a lot for the cause, there is some doubt that the figures were correct. This can be verified by checking the statistics chart at the end of this article. Is it not possible, that these people have grossly underestimated the intelligence and abilities of these extremely, highly skilled and proficient hunters? Is it also not possible that the poachers themselves, upon hearing a helicopter approaching in the distance, could immediately seek cover under dense bushes or foliage, to avoid detection, just as the guerrillas used to do effectively, during the past liberation wars in Southern Africa? It is also in the mind of many critics, that because SANParks are using the guise of supposedly being so short staffed, that they are simply too badly managed to carry out regular foot patrols in their respective areas. Is it a case as far as the public is concerned, of management taking the easy way out by utilising vehicles and helicopters to substitute their very necessary foot patrols. So with this in mind, how do we move forwards? Actually, we need to understand first of all, that according to information received from SANParks, that there are essentially only two South African National Parks, Kruger National Park in the north east and Marakele National Park in the north, bordering Zimbabwe. The remaining national parks and wildlife areas are actually run and maintained by their respective provincial governments. The SANParks and provincial governments public relations departments should get more involved with the South African public, by bringing them up to date with more of their important updates, such as, animal welfare, new developments, improvements, stories or articles regarding their various teams efforts and their everyday functions, management personnel interviews, poaching statistics, news and views and births and deaths from natural causes etc, which could easily be published on Facebook or in a e-magazine. Special attention in the form of reading matter should be distributed to the villages and schools in the rural areas bordering the parks, regarding the education and conservation of rhino and wildlife. The villagers should also be asked to report any suspicious individuals passing through their areas or villages. This all goes a long way in helping the general public understand more about the difficulties and tremendous amount of money and work it takes to run a huge enterprise, such as The Kruger National Park for example. It always seems, that the public are eager to find things to criticise about and very seldom does one hear praise from the public such

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adventure as, “thank you for a very hard and dangerous job well done”. This is an area that the department should take cognisance of, because then and only then, will the general public actually find out how hard our national parks teams really do work. To sum up then, it appears that the poachers continue undeterred and with seemingly renewed vigour, the persecution of our beautiful rhino, regardless of any efforts by us, at stamping out their despicable actions. Then, on the other hand, the general public in actual fact as a whole, could never begin to imagine the enormity of any of our national parks, or the management thereof, unless one were to actually attempt to walk the length and breadth of one, or, unless for instance, one was to sit at the desk of “The Warden In Charge” of the Kruger National Park for a month, assuming and implementing his duties. The mind simply boggles as to which direction to take next in winning, “The War Against Rhino Poaching”. Update on rhino poaching statistics 2 Oct 2012: The Latest rhino poaching statistics indicate that a total of 430 rhinos have been lost to illegal killings since the beginning of this year, with the total number of arrests at 205.

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adventure The Kruger National Park has lost 258 rhinos to poaching. Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West provinces continue to be the hardest hit by poachers, collectively accounting for the loss of 141 rhinos. 177 of the arrested individuals are at the level of poacher, 10 are receivers and 18 are couriers. Rhino poaching statistics: SA KNP (SANParks) MNP (SANParks)

Rhino poaching arrests statistics:

2010

2011

2012

146

252

258

KNP (SANParks)

3

MNP (SANParks)

0

6

Gauteng

15

9

Limpopo

52

74

Mpumalanga

17

North West

57

Eastern Cape Free State

Arrests

2010

2011

2012

67

82

49

0

0

0

Gauteng

10

16

26

48

Mpumalanga

16

73

57

31

18

Eastern Cape

21

43

Limpopo

4

11

7

3

4

0

7

2

0

36

34

34

North West

2

21

21

Free State

0

0

6

KwaZulu-Natal

38

50

KwaZulu-Natal

25

4

11

Western Cape

0

6

2

Western Cape

2

0

0

Northern Cape

1

0

0

Northern Cape

0

0

1

333

430

448

165

232

205

Total

Total

NOTE: During the writing of this article, which took three days, six rhino were reported poached in two different areas. This gives the reader an insight to the enormity and urgency of the rhino situation in South Africa with a total loss now of 454 rhino having been poached so far in 2012.

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Volume 7  

Volume 7 - African Adventures

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