in the bathroom Living with Jimmy
of the Warthog and the Wildebeest Learning to wait for the best
River Danger Bilharzia in Africa
Survival Kit for Hunters
Sure you’re ready for the bush?
Shooting Hell’s Gate
Lady hunters on the dark continent
Fishing in spectacular Mozambique
Ancient Craft Knifemaking in South Africa
Destinations ● African Bush Cuisine ● True North www.africanxmag.com
E D I TO R I A L
We are into our second volume of publishing. One year has flown past like 12 days. We are pushing the publishing envelope and have quickly become an African magazine that reaches the largest number of serious hunters and adventurers here in Africa, Europe and the USA. I won’t go into how we’ve grown and what strides have been made in our publishing approach, but we are having an adventure: making new friends, corresponding with new experts, meeting new legends and seeing new places. My point is, time is valuable - your time is valuable. Contrary to the way we all feel, life is short and we are fragile. Death, sickness and hardship touches us all - even the most talented, youngest and very strongest of us will grow old and weak. Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett-Majors. All of them died recently and had the world at their feet. Fame and wealth will not protect you from the ravages of time - in spite of Cher’s pioneering efforts. I understand: the economy is depressed and times are tough. But for how long will your son still be in your house, your friend still be able to go, your wife still exited about Africa and travel? Think of the men we admire most. Which of them are remembered for playing it safe? None. Not one. Zero. The men who leave a legacy or the gutsy ones. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th US President and himself an avid hunter, wrote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Do it now. Show your guts. Initiate an adventure. Spend the money-you can always get more. Buy that new rifle you’ve always wanted. Make that booking for your safari. Climb that mountain. Visit Chobe. Dive Mozambique. See Namibia. Live. Don’t miss it.
Mitch Mitchell 3 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
Published by Safari Media Africa Editors United States of America
Editor: Alan Bunn firstname.lastname@example.org Associate editor: Galen Geer email@example.com
Editor: Hans Jochen Wild firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Mitch Mitchell email@example.com
Financial Thea Mitchell Layout & Design Xtasis Media and Digital Wind Contributors & Photographers L. Grizzaffi (Reloading), C. Cheney, A. Bunn, D. Edgcumbe, G. Geer, Dr. K. Hugo (Medical) C. Mitchell, Dr. G. Swart (Medical) Advertising and Marketing South Africa: T. Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org Phone +27 13-7125246 Fax 0866104466 USA: Alan Bunn email@example.com (706) 2762608 African Expedition Magazine is an independent bimonthly publication promoting fair, sustainable hunting, a protected environment, adventure sports and sustainable practices. The African Expedition Magazine is published by Safari Media Africa
Disclaimer While all precautions have been taken to ensure the accuracy of advice and information provided, the Proprietor. Publisher, Editor or Writers cannot accept responsibility for any damages, inconvenience or injury whatsoever that may result from incorrect information. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher or its agents. African Expedition Magazine assumes no responsibility to return graphics unsolicited editorial, or other material. All rights in unsolicited editorial, letters, emails, graphics and other material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and material will be subject to African Expedition Magazine’s unrestricted right to edit and editorial comment. All material and/ or editorial in African Expedition is the property of African Expedition and/or the various contributors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the Publisher.
4 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
8 A Rhino in the bathroom Living with Jimmy
29 Survival Kit for Hunters
Sure you’re ready for the bush?
38 Shooting Hell’s Gate
Fishing in spectacular Mozambique
53 The Parable of the Warthog and the Wildebeest
Learning to wait for the best
64 River Danger
Bilharzia in Africa
78 Diana in Africa
Lady hunters on the dark continent
96 The Ancient Craft
Knifemaking in South Africa
114 African Bush Cuisine 119 True North
5 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
A Nice Guy
6 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
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A Rhino in the bathroom
Photo: Carli Hugo
Living with Jimmy
8 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
hen visiting Humani in the Save Conservancy, one can be assured of being introduced to the newest member of the Humani clan. This extraordinary new addition is an orphan rhino calf named Jimmy, who is being raised by Anne Whittall. When Jimmy arrived at the Humani homestead, weak and in a generally sorry state, Anne was forced to play the part of foster mother rhino. Many will agree that there could be no-one better for the role. Jimmy joined the family under the most dreadful circumstances, his mother having been shot by a poacher. Rhino poaching has been a huge problem in Zimbabwe over the past twenty-five years, and what was once a healthy national population has been depleted to critical proportions. Of the remaining few hundred rhino in this country, the Save Conservancy harbors a far greater number than any other wildlife area. Because small pockets in other parts of Zimbabwe have been totally wiped out, the Save Conservancy has recently been targeted in a fairly big way, with ten rhino shot in little over a year. The rhino war(s) continue unabated and Jimmy is just another victim of that ongoing struggle. Let me tell you Jimmyâ€™s storyâ€Ś.. The news came in from a gamescout patrol via hand-held radio. A rhino had been poached not far from Elephant waterpoint in the Jurus area, and they had discovered the carcass. Always quick to react to any crisis situation on Humani, manager Charlie Pienaar and a handful of gamescouts were at the scene in double quick time. The kill zone was actually a few kilometers into a vast mopani forest that offsets the acacia-sprinkled, open plains of Jurus. After scouting about the immediate vicinity for clues and coming up empty-handed, an emotional Charlie returned to HQ to report to Roger Whittall. He had a tragic story to tell. The rhino had been killed days before, at a time when it had been raining. The killer was July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 9
10 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
a thorough professional, using the wet weather to cover his tracks and leaving no clue whatsoever. He had shot the rhino once in the brain, hacked the horns and ears off, covered the carcass with brush to hide it from vultures, and departed the scene as efficiently as he had committed his dastardly deed. The reason he lopped the ears off was because he was aware that the Conservancy identifies its rhino by marking ears. This guy was also aware of much else. Rhino are very territorial and he knew in exactly which area to find his target. He also knew, before he shot the rhino, that Roger Whittall had recalled his gamescouts for a few days, for a bit of rest and recuperation. He struck at precisely the right moment and his planning and actions were meticulous and well calculated. This man knew what he was about and he left nothing to chance. Once Charlie had finished telling what he had observed, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that it was an inside job. Someone with knowledge of the area and the goings on at Humani must definitely be involved. It sickened us all to the core. Although Roger, Charlie and others were well aware that the rhino in question had recently birthed and had a very young calf at heel, nothing much was thought of it. The rhino had been killed about four days before the vultures had led scouts to her carcass, and the calf’s chances of survival were assumed to be non-existent. Especially since Charlie reported seeing an abundance of fresh lion spoor crisscrossing the area, and no trace of the calf whatsoever. It seemed an absolute impossibility that the calf could have survived, and yet there was a twist in the tale. That twist was little Jimmy’s will to live. To this day, I don’t know what prompted me to ask Roger if I could go to the scene of the crime the following morning. There was no need to – the carcass and vicinity had been effectively checked over the day before. Anyway, I just wanted to go and look, and Roger thought it was a good idea. As an afterthought, Roger instructed me to take a couple of scouts along and dig around for a bullet in the rotten carcass. That command didn’t exactly fill me with enthusiasm. Anyhow, soon I was on my way with Isaac Bangai and Rindai Rindai, two trusty RWS trackers that operate as senior gamescouts in the hunting off-season. I have worked with Isaac and Rindai extensively and know them both to be extremely capable and willing fellows. Isaac usually tracks for professional hunter Thierry Labat, whilst Rindai is PH Peter Wood’s man. As it turned out, I couldn’t have had a couple of better guys along for the ride. We called on the radio and arranged to meet with the gamescouts who had made the grisly discovery, so that they could lead us in. They were waiting for us when we arrived at Elephant water-point half an hour later. After driving a couple of kilometers, we left the vehicle on the roadside and entered close-knit mopani forest, walking off in single file behind Daniel, the stick leader of that particular scout patrol. There were three scouts, so we were six in total. Great, I thought to myself, I wouldn’t need to do too much digging around in the rotting rhino – there were plenty of hands for the job! Can’t totally give up on the old
colonial bit, you know. I mean, who built Southern Africa anyway! After Daniel lost his way a couple of times, we came to the place. As we approached the pathetic lump of dead mass that represented what was once the pride of this land’s wildlife heritage, a huge lump came to my throat. Who could do this thing, I silently wondered. All was quiet for long minutes as we all just stared in disbelief at the horrific scene before our eyes. It was a truly shocking sight and every man amongst us felt bitter resentment. Not resentment actually – rage and hatred. But it was wasted emotion because we were helpless to do anything. Unless… Unless we could find something, some clue for investigators to work with. We got to work chopping off the head and began dissecting it. I actually did assist in the gruesome labor initially, but only to get the others inspired. After about thirty minutes of inhaling and groping around in the maggot-infested, putrid flesh, however, I decided that the others were by now well inspired and decided to go on a little reconnaissance patrol about the vicinity. I informed the men that I was off to take a look about, suggesting that maybe I would find a clue. Maybe the poacher dropped a bullet or something? The guys, who were now onto dissecting the forequarters, all regarded me doubtfully but agreed that it was a possibility. Their reaction told me that I had about a one in a zillion chance of finding anything. But, hey, you never know. Besides, I just enjoy scouting about unfamiliar country. It is amazing what I have discovered in the past by just heading off and roaming around the woods for a while. After walking a large semi-circle through the forest for about forty-five minutes or so, seeing many lion tracks but observing nothing out of the ordinary, I decided to return to the carcass. I find it pretty easy to get lost in the bush, and it took me a while to work out my bearings and start heading back in what I sort of thumb-sucked was the right direction. Changing tack a few times, I soon set myself on a course and began walking in what I thought to be a straight line. I always believe I am holding a straight line when walking in the bush, though usually I am not. In fact, I don’t remember ever walking a straight line! Anyway, I was headed where I was headed and off I went, whistling a little ditty to myself as I strode through the mopani. Not fifteen minutes later, I walked onto Jimmy. It was an absolute miracle that I walked onto him. He was hidden behind and partially beneath a leafy bush, and if I had walked ten yards either side, I would have missed him. As it was, I almost literally walked onto him. I took a step, glancing casually to my left as I did, and then I froze in mid-stride. I only froze for a second or two, but much took place in that time. I saw the baby rhino lying prone behind the bush with only his forequarters visible, staring wide-eyed up at me. Due to his wide-eyed expression, my first reaction was that he was dead, and in that instant I felt the double-whammy of loss. But then he blinked and I saw that he was definitely not dead, just too petrified to move and risk discovery. Although very young, Jimmy had July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 11
Support Hunters for Zimbabwe by buying David Hulme’s great new book, Shangaan Song. Proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to support the BorderLine Walk – a foot journey of approximately three thousand kilometers along Zimbabwe’s border. The BorderLine Walk is an initiative aimed at raising awareness for Hunters for Zimbabwe, an organization whose primary objective is the advancement of Zimbabwean people and wildlife.
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Jimmy on the day I found him
12 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
already been given impressionable insight into the cruel nature of human beings. I paused for only that second or two, and then I continued on my way without any other reaction, so as to not unduly alarm the little guy. About forty yards later, when I was well away from him, I burst into a flat sprint through the mopani. It was the fastest I have moved in years and thoughts were pounding through my mind. Where were the guys? God, I hope I’m going in the right direction! How far did I walk, how far am I from the others? As I ran, fending off whippy branches with my arms, I tried to figure where I was, and more importantly, where the guys were. I ran for several hundred meters in this fashion, before stopping to listen for the first time. It was probably the first several hundred meter sprint I’ve ever done! Blood was rushing through my veins, my breathing was ragged, and I found it difficult to tune my ears into surrounding sound. Where was I, where were they? Almost panicking, I wanted to scream out my frustration. I closed my eyes for a minute and allowed the blood rush to slow slightly, working my jaw and trying to clear my ears. And then I heard the deep booming laugh of Isaac Bangai, carrying faintly on the wind. The men were somewhere up ahead, slightly off to the left. Had I thought about it then, I would have realized that I had almost achieved a straight line on my return route. But I didn’t think about anything, because I was sprinting off through the bush again. Isaac, Rindai and the scouts appraised me quizzically as I approached at the run and came to an untidy halt beside them. Between gasps, I told them that I had seen a rhino in the bush. ‘Did it chase you?’ asked Isaac. ‘No, it is a young rhino.’ ‘Even a young rhino can chase you,’ stated Daniel, matter of factly. ‘It is very young,’ I said, hands on knees, getting my breathing back under control. ‘It is the baby of this dead rhino.’ ‘Is it dead?’ asked Isaac, getting down to business in his no-nonsense manner. ‘No, otherwise I would not have tried to kill myself by running as fast as I did to get back to you.’ My heart-rate was returning to normal. ‘Let us go and catch it then.’ ‘Yes, let us go and catch it.’ ‘Handidi.’ ‘No way,’ said Daniel, ‘that thing will bite someone!’ A short argument ensued as I tried to convince Daniel and the other two scouts that the rhino would do anything but bite them. It would charge them, butt them, run them over, but it would certainly not bite them. They were not convinced and I ended up with the support of only Isaac and Rindai. As it turned out, it was probably a good thing – less is sometimes more. Without further ado, Isaac, Rindai and
I retraced my headlong flight through the mopani. As we went, we discussed our plan of action – our rhino capture strategy. Stealthily, we approached the bush where I knew the little calf to be. Now, when I write ‘little’, I mean to say I had already estimated it to be somewhere around 50 kilograms. Although I imagined it would have next to no strength, having been without milk for days on end, I really didn’t know what it was capable of. Our intention was to capture the rhino fast, with as little commotion as possible, in order to avoid causing it more trauma than it had already endured. Above all, I did not want to risk it getting away from us and heading off into the mopani. It had survived as long as it had, how much longer could it live? Bearing all of the above in mind, we sneaked in on who we would soon get to know as Jimmy, me from the front, and Isaac and Rindai from the rear. We were all well prepped and each guy knew what he had to do, although the game-plan was not exactly complicated. Basically, it boiled down to ‘grab the rhino and don’t let go!’ Actually there was a little more to it – I was to try a soft approach first and test the little guy’s strength. But Isaac and Rindai knew they needed to be very close when I made first contact. I made certain they were well aware of that! As I slowly and silently crept in the last few yards, I thought it was going to be a cinch. Jimmy did not stir, but his little eyes followed my approach all the way in. And then I was within a yard, slowly and purposefully bending my knees, lowering myself to his level. There was no reaction whatsoever as I squatted down before the rhino, and so I reached out my hand to touch its face. And that was the point when I realized the capture was not going to be a cinch, as Jimmy exploded from the ground and butted me viciously about the knees! I toppled over backwards onto my backside, but as I did, I grabbed hold of one of his ears and held on for dear life! Huffing and snorting, Jimmy fast intensified the attack, the barrage of head-butts crashing into my legs and torso intensifying by the second. The fact that that month old creature possessed that amount of power after four days without nourishment is beyond me to this day. Whilst I am not a WWF wrestler or anything, neither am I a weak man, and I struggled with everything I had to hold onto Jimmy for those few seconds. The headbutting was enough to bring out bruises on my legs the following day. What a fight he put up! Poor little guy must have thought it was his last fight. Though I was certainly on the receiving end of a serious thrashing, my tag team thankfully wasted no time coming to my assistance. Within seconds, Isaac had a back leg grasped firmly, whilst Rindai came to lend a hand up front. Then we dropped Jimmy like a sheep, whipping all his legs out from under him. Once he was down, Jimmy began squealing hysterically, probably assuming the fight was now really over and death imminent. You assume animals don’t think that way? Specifically month old animals? Let me assure you that they do. Animals know all about death from the day they are born. Anyhow, Jimmy began squealing like a stuck pig and trying his utmost to July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 13
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The BorderLine Walk is in support of antipoaching efforts for Black Rhino in the SavĂ¨ Valley. Initiated by Hunters for Zimbabwe, the walk will be 3066 kilometers long: 813 kilometers along the Botswana border, 797 km. along Zambia, 225 km. along South Africa, and finally 1231 km. along the Mozambique border. The BorderLine Walk will be widely covered by the media and progress will be published on the African Expedition Magazine and tracked on Google Earth.
The BorderLine walk will support anti-poaching efforts to prevent this from happening again: a young black rhino caught in a poacherâ€™s snare. This baby died a few days after this photograph was taken. 14 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
tear his head from my grasp. In the process, he swept me around in the dust a little. Isaac and Rindai held onto his legs resolutely, and Daniel and the other scouts observed proceedings from a safe distance. Jimmy satisfactorily demonstrated the awesome power a rhino possesses during that encounter, specifically in the neck and shoulder region. Three strong men struggled for minutes on end to restrain a 50 kg animal that had not fed for four days, and that is almost unbelievable. Only believable because I was there! Eventually, a semblance of order came about when I whipped off my shirt and covered the exposed side of Jimmy’s face. Then he could not see and the crazy head threshing eased. But I still had to clasp his head tightly to my body – the slightest release of pressure brought about a renewed effort. Once he had calmed a little, Daniel and other two scouts plucked up the courage to approach closer. I barked out orders. ‘Daniel, wuya kuno!’ ‘Come here!’ There must have been something in my tone that made Daniel temporarily forget his fear of being bitten by a rhino, and he obeyed with alacrity. I ordered him to take over
Rindai’s position holding the front legs. Rindai is a driver and we needed him to go and fetch the vehicle as fast as possible. I instructed him not to waste too much time looking for a suitable route through the mopani, but to return with all due haste! About 40 minutes later, we heard Rindai returning when he was still some distance away. From the sound of things, he had taken my instructions to heart! Not long after, he was revving and ramming his way up to us through the last hundred meters of mopani. As the truck approached, I turned to Isaac who was still patiently manning the rear end of a now fairly subdued rhino calf. ‘What is its name?’ I asked. Of course, although I have been referring to Jimmy as a ‘he’ throughout this story, we had no idea what sex he was. In a similar vein, I have been referring to him as Jimmy, but we obviously had no name for him. That was the case up until the point when Isaac peered between the calf’s back legs and made a positive identification regarding sex. Isaac did not ponder the name choice for long. ‘James. Jimmy, we shall call him Jimmy,’ stated the deep voice.
Jimmy and Anne Whittall
July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 15
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16 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
It was very easy to agree with Isaac’s name choice: Roger Whittall’s father, James, was known as Jimmy, and Roger’s grandson (Guy’s son) is named James. And so, Jimmy officially joined the fold. The work of the Humani rhino capture unit was not over yet, far from it in fact. As soon as we began trying to load Jimmy, the hysterical squealing and frantic struggling started up again. It would continue for the next hour, as Isaac and I tried to keep him under control in the back of the cruiser and Rindai ferried us home to Humani. An interesting thing to note is that, along the way, Jimmy drenched my legs with urine. This undoubtedly proved that he had drunk since the demise of his milk supplier. Taking the amount of urine that flowed into consideration, he had drunk a fair amount recently. The only answer to this is that he taught himself to drink water from one of several pans that are in close proximity to the place we found him. Another astounding revelation pertaining to this determined fellow. Thankfully, once we reached Roger and Anne’s house, there were many hands to help us offload Jimmy into temporary, rhino-proof lodgings. I was totally exhausted by that time. What an ordeal the capture of Jimmy had been! Imagine if he’d been two months old! We’d probably still be out there! As soon as Roger Whittall saw who we had brought home, he took things in hand. It is always a sight to behold when Roger decides to take things in hand! Barking instructions at anyone and everyone that came within his line of sight, Roger soon had ‘operation Jimmy’ well underway. Obviously, the first and most important task was to get some food inside Jim, and several individuals were dispatched with orders to contact various rhino gurus countrywide, for information regarding rhino milk formula. In the meantime, we felt we should get something into him ASAP, and so we opted for straight cow’s milk. After a brief scuffle, Jim smelt the milk seeping from the strange teat and he latched on like a rhino possessed. It was apparent that it was not going to be a problem coaxing him to feed! Later in the day, a proven rhino formula was mailed to Humani and orders were sent out to purchase the necessary ingredients. It took a few days for those ingredients to arrive, and during that time we kept him on skimmed cow’s milk. Evidently, rhinoceros milk does not contain much fat. Jimmy did not seem to know this, however, and he greedily guzzled down each and every bottle of milk proffered him from day one, no matter whose udder it came from! He drank so much we thought we may be over-feeding him. But if we stopped feeding him, he became aggressive! From the word go, he drank eight litres of milk per day. This quantity has been on the increase ever since, and today, seven months after his arrival, he consumes three times that amount. Jimmy went from strength to strength from, let’s say, day four of his stay at ‘Hotel Humani.’ Although he fed well during those four days, he was a tad disturbed. The reason for this was probably that Anne Whittall was away, and we decided to keep him in a confined little pen until her return. Not very hospitable, but we were nervous he’d make a
getaway during the night if we didn’t keep him under lock and key. Upon Anne’s return a few days later, however, he was released into the garden and his stress level was lowered considerably. Everyone had strict instructions to keep all gates closed at all times, and Jimmy had the run of the garden. From that moment, his character began changing. Over the past few months, Jimmy has turned from an angry and aggressive little tyke into a relaxed, friendly individual. Before he did not trust most everyone and delivered many a knee popping head-butt, but now he enjoys the company of people a great deal. This may not be such a good thing – he will have to return to the wild one day. Jimmy prefers women to men, and this is solely because of Anne, whom he understands very well to be his mother. This is not surprising as Anne bottle-feeds him five or six times a day. He also eats a couple of pounds of livestock cubes a day, and has begun browsing a fair amount in the garden. His introduction to browsing has been a gradual process, and at first he just picked at leaves, occasionally popping one in his mouth, maybe chewing it a little, before spitting it out. He seemed more curious about eating leaves than anything else. As though he knew he should be, but just couldn’t bring himself to do it. That is all in the past, however, and he now spends a healthy amount of time doing what a black rhino should be doing, and that is browsing. Although Jimmy is well on the way to making browse his full time diet, heaven help anyone who dares forget his feed time! Not yet anyway – Jimmy is probably just over eight months old now, and rhino calves stay with their mothers till about two years of age. Jimmy is not allowed into the house but he doesn’t seem to know this. At times, he likes to come into the lounge and socialize. When he is feeling neglected, he squeaks his indignation and people jump around. We have what is supposed to be a rhino-proof steel gate blocking off the verandah entrance to the house, but Jimmy butts it over and enters anyway. Well, he used to butt it over. Not so long ago, he attempted the bulldozer angle once too often, and the heavy steel gate fell on top of him. Then he squealed in anger and wouldn’t let anyone near for about an hour. Anne treated his minor wounds with some antiseptic spray and he looked pretty hilarious with blue splotches on his back. I think it taught him a good lesson, for he now avoids that entrance to the house, preferring to make use of the many others. Jimmy has quite a few friends these days – the dogs, two orphan cows and the orphan buffalo. He has also introduced himself to a family of warthogs that frequent the front lawn in the evenings. The smaller warthogs are terrified of him, but mommy hog is simply curious and once they almost touched snouts before uncertainty caused her to flee. Anne often takes Jimmy walking, and I have accompanied a couple of those walks in recent times. I was warned in advance that rhino walks can be hazardous, and the only reason I put myself on the line was in the name of frontline journalism. What an experience those walks were! July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 17
Help us stop the poaching. Donate quickly and securely with PayPal
Support Hunters for Zimbabwe by buying David Hulme’s great book, Shangaan Song, A poignant and humorous tale of Africa. Proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to support the BorderLine Walk – a foot journey of approximately three thousand kilometers along Zimbabwe’s border. The BorderLine Walk is an initiative aimed at raising awareness for Hunters for Zimbabwe, an organization whose primary objective is the advancement of Zimbabwean people and wildlife.
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18 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
The whole thing, you see, is that these excursions have nothing to do with walking. Not rhino walking anyway. No, this is all about shuffle or gallop, no walking involved at all. Anne and the dogs walk ahead while Jimmy brings up the rear, shuffling along and losing ground as he goes. Suddenly he realizes he has been left behind and achieves zero to top gear in seconds. Rhino are extremely short-sighted and, pounding down the road after Anne, Jimmy seldom picks her out until he is really close. Narrow misses are often the order of the walk. Jimmy has upended Anne once before and she was not overly amused. It is actually fairly dangerous, and Anne now walks with a metal contraption that I’ll take the liberty of calling a braceframe. Hopefully it will absorb most of the impact the next time Jimmy doesn’t slow down in time! Late one night, a guest who was expected much earlier in the day arrived at Humani. Most had long since retired, but being a nocturnal sort of type, I was still awake. After a cup of coffee, I directed the exhausted guest to his bedroom, which is adjoined to the bathroom. Imagine what a shock the poor fellow received when he bumbled sleepily into the bathroom and found Jimmy bedded down for the night beside the bath! The alarmed guest backed through the bathroom door and out onto the verandah at pace, almost falling over backwards as he did. I was enjoying a late night cigarette on the verandah, and looked up surprised. Had he seen a snake or something, I wondered. Wideeyed and white as a sheet, the poor fellow turned to me and began stammering, struggling to find words. ‘What is it?’ I prompted him. ‘Dave, there’s a…there’s a…a…a…a’ ‘A what, come on spit it out?’ By now I was a little concerned and had flicked my cigarette away, readying myself for action. This is Humani, after all, and this guy could have encountered anything at all in the bathroom. ‘There’s a…a…a…r…r….rrrr’ He had got past a, and moved onto r, which was good progress. And then I suddenly got it. Jimmy had had a bit of an altercation with Anne earlier in the day, because he had objected to her re-arranging his straw bed behind the office. Obviously sulking, he had decided to boycott his bedroom for the bathroom! The disturbed guest was still trying to find the words. ‘There’s a..a…r..r..rhi..rhi…’ He was getting there but I decided to save him further agony at that point. ‘There’s a rhino in the bathroom?’ I asked It came out with a rush as he nodded his head vigorously
in the affirmative. ‘Yes, there’s a rhino in the bathroom, a rhino in the bathroom, a rhino…..’ Now that he had it, he didn’t want to stop. I put a re-assuring hand on the guy’s shoulder. ‘Don’t stress, that’s Jimmy, come and meet him…’ Needless to say, that guest was not overly keen to introduce himself to young Jim. When we found Jimmy, we estimated him to weigh between 50 and 60 kilograms. He is now over three times that weight – probably 200 or so kilograms. Although he is mostly a placid kind of guy, he is also super tough and possesses unbelievable strength for an animal his size and age. The strength in his shoulders and neck, specifically, is awesome. I would hate to see the fellow who is butted by him when he’s a mature rhino! I hope it’s not me but it probably will be! When Jimmy arrived at Roger and Anne’s house at the beginning of the year, he could fit under the tea table. Now, his back is inches higher than that table, and he collides with it on a regular basis, smashing cups, saucers etc. Though still a tiny stump, Jimmy’s horn is also growing at a rapid rate. I sometimes wish he wasn’t growing that controversial horn. Although Jimmy clearly loves Anne more than any other, I like to think he has a soft spot for me. I also like to think that this is because he remembers that I am the one who found him. I have done very little of significance in my life, but finding Jimmy certainly tops the list. I spend a great deal of time with Jimmy when I’m on Humani, and I consider us friends. I just need to remind myself, every once in a while, that you can be beaten up by a friend! Jimmy joined the Humani/Whittall fold as the result of a terrible tragedy, and none of us should ever forget the details of that tragedy. Conversely, because miracles do happen, Jimmy is not a statistic of the ongoing rhino war, rather he is a survivor. I do not consider young Jimmy Whittall to be a victim of one brutal rhino slaying in a dense mopani forest that flanks the Juru’s area of Humani. No, I consider him to be a shining ray of hope in the entire saga that is the Zimbabwe rhino tragedy. It is guys like Jimmy who inspire the David Hulme is rest of us to carry on a Zimbabwean fighting. It is guys like writer and profesJimmy who constantly sional wanderer remind us that, no who spends most of matter how impossihis time searching ble victory may seem for new stories and at times, this war is country, never staynot yet over….. ing too long in any one place.
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Support Hunters for Zimbabwe by buying David Hulme’s great book, Shangaan Song. Proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to support the BorderLine Walk – a foot journey of approximately three thousand kilometers along Zimbabwe’s border. The BorderLine Walk is an initiative aimed at raising awareness for Hunters for Zimbabwe, an organization whose primary objective is the advancement of Zimbabwean people and wildlife.
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Hardwear for the bush
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Survival Kit for Hunters
Sure you’re ready for the bush?
ush emergencies usually come unexpectedly and for the unprepared outdoorsman can have serious and possibly even fatal consequences. Every hunter should have a basic survival kit which could make all the difference between life and death in a worst case scenario. Now you get survival kits and survival kits. Some are so exhaustive that you would need a large backpack to accommodate all its components. Whereas more is generally better it is not always practical to have to lug a lot of survival gear around with you when hunting on foot. So we are looking at a “bare bones” basic kit which could fit into a small sized hip pouch. When thinking basic one has to narrow down the emergencies which could be life threatening in the short term. In the modern context hunters will seldom be exposed to medium to long term survival situations – meaning 5 days or more. In most instances if a hunter does not report back to the outfitter, or landowner by nightfall or return home to family or friends when expected, a search and rescue operation is sure to be launched. Knowing more or less the area in which the hunter was hunting also makes it easier for searchers to know where to begin looking. Survival challenges will in most cases therefore be of short duration and it is important for us to identify some of the most likely case scenarios when we decide on the contents of a basic bush survival kit. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 29
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When we think of survival we should be thinking in terms of meeting physiological and mental requirements to sustain the essential processes for life. What are the basic essentials for life? We need air to breath, water to drink, food to eat, to be in an environment where we can sustain body temperature at 370 C (give or take about 4 degrees), and to avoid serious injury or sickness. Air (or rather the oxygen in it) is vital for life. Four minutes without air will result in unconsciousness as the brain becomes starved of oxygen and damage to brain cells commences. A person can still be resuscitated at this stage but if the brain receives no oxygen for a period of six minutes the brain itself dies and, under normal circumstances, the person cannot be revived and is said to be brain dead or biologically dead. Water is another essential element for life and in a hot environment where there is an increased demand for water to replace that lost in sweat, urine and bodily excretions a person can die from dehydration and the physiological consequences resulting from it within the space of three days. Food, although essential for maintaining body metabolism and providing energy for physiological processes, is not a short term necessity. A person will not die of hunger within the space of a week or, for that matter, a month or more. In fact it takes between 60-70 days for a person to die of hunger and it is extremely unlikely that a hunter will be lost for that period of time. Maintaining body temperature within normal limits is necessary for survival. Become too cold (hypothermic) or too hot (hyperthermic) and you can die within minutes or hours. Both case scenarios are possible in a hunting environment where bushveld temperatures can soar into the low fourties (0C) and fall to well below freezing. Injury leading to severe blood loss can lead to death within minutes.
Other life threatening medical emergencies which a hunter could be confronted with are heart attacks, strokes, snakebite, and severe allergic (anaphylactic) shock resulting from bee sting, foods or medication to which the person is allergic to. How do we go about now prioritizing what we will include in our basic kit? In the event of a hunting buddy having a heart attack or an emergency involving cessation of breathing it would be wise to include a CPR mouthpiece which would be used when administering rescue breathing. You should also be trained in how to give rescue breathing and how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 31
Water is a priority so carry a minimum of 1-2 litres in durable containers with you when you go out into the bush. A camelback is a convenient option. Hyperthermia (heatstroke or heat exhaustion) and dehydration are soon precipitated by inadequate intake of water so the means for procuring and purifying water are absolutely essential. Take enough water purification tablets to purify 3 litres of water per day for 5 days. Also include a small aluminium pot for cooking purposes and in which you can boil water to purify it if you run out of purification tablets. Remember that drinking unpurified water can be fatal. Diseases such as cholera and amoebic dysentery are contracted from drinking contaminated water and lead to severe vomiting and diarrhoea which further compounds problems of dehydration. The ability to make fire is absolutely essential as fire provides light, warmth, protection from wild animals, the ability to cook, the means for sterilizing instruments and working with metal and dries wet clothing and equipment. Carry at least two fire making implements such as a flint and steel (recommended), butane lighter, waterproof matches (or ordinary matches in a waterproof container), or magnifying glass. Also learn fire making techniques using naturally available materials. Always dress warmly when leaving on a hunt. Warm clothing can be shed if it is too hot but can be available if the weather turns cold or wet. A waterproof jacket is advisable but if you consider it too bulky to carry with you include a sheet of durable plastic (or a couple of garbage bags) in your first aid kit with which you can build a shelter or cover yourself with to help keep you dry if it rains or if there is heavy dewfall. If you become wet you will lose body heat very quickly and will be far more prone to hyperthermia so at all costs try and remain as dry as possible. 32 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
Although food is not a priority in short term survival it does provide energy and is a morale booster. Carry a few teabags (or coffee), some sugar, a few packets of soup, Smash (add water to make mashed potatoes), a little salt, and a couple of energy bars. If you are out hunting you will be armed and can shoot something for the pot to provide yourself with fresh meat. A multi-tool pocket knife is an essential item for any survival kit as it has literally hundreds of useful applications. A small knife sharpener would be useful but not essential. An ordinary compass (not a GPS that relies on batteries which could go flat) would be a valuable aid in finding direction a small torch (fitted onto a headband) would be very useful in the dark. As far as medical supplies are concerned the following are recommended to be carried with you: ●● Two first aid dressing to cover wounds and help control bleeding. ●● A haemostat to help control severe bleeding. ●● A few assorted plasters. ●● Three sachets of Rehydrate powder – to replenish essential electrolytes lost during excessive sweating, vomiting and / or diarrhoea. ●● Six tablets for diarrhoea (e.g. ) ●● Six tablets for nausea and vomiting (e.g. Valoid or Stemetil) ●●
Ten tablets for mild pain and fever (e.g. Disprin) ●●
Your own personal medications: ●● If you are a diabetic - enough insulin and extra sugar or glucose sweets. ●●
If you have a heart ailment (high blood pressure, low blood pressure, angina etc.) – carry enough medication with you for your specific ailment.
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All the items mentioned fit into this small hip pouch.
The contents of a basic survival kit.
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●● If you are allergic to bee sting or other have other allergies of which you are aware include injectable adrenaline available in pre-measured doses in your survival kit. When selecting survival tools look for those which can serve more than one purpose. An example is shown in Figure 1. This tool has a small button compass, whistle to attract attention, a signaling mirror, a flint for striking a spark and a waterproof compartment for keeping small items such as matches, fish hooks, water purification tablets or some other useful item. All the items mentioned in this article (Figure2) can be fitted into a hip pouch (apart from the water containers), are lightweight and can be life saving. See Figure 3. Every responsible hunter should ensure that he has just such a kit riding on his hip before he departs into the field. He will then be in a position to deal with an emergency should it arise.
A useful survival tool should have more than one function.
Cleve Cheney holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology and a master’s degree in animal physiology. He is a wilderness trail leader, rated field guide instructor and the author of many leading articles on the subjects of tracking, guiding, bowhunting and survival. Cleve has unrivalled experience in wildlife management, game capture and hunting, both with bow and rifle. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 35
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Shooting Hell’s Gate Fishing in spectacular Mozambique
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remember the moon. It was clear and big and hung over the ocean. Far across the water I could see the outline of Mozambiqueâ€™s ilha de Bazaruto. I looked down, toward the beach. A hundred yards from me, double-anchored and bright in the moonâ€™s light was the CR II, the 24foot twin outboard boat of Louwrens Mahoney and Rocco Gioia. Mozambique was still climbing out of the darkness of civil war. The peace accords between FRELIMO and RENAMO that had been signed not quite four years earlier, in 1992, had called for all of the rebels to turn in their weapons, but there were still a few bands of armed thugs roaming the war-ravaged countryside. To protect the boat and our gear Louwrens had hired two locals armed with AK47s to sleep on the boat. He also hired two others to keep watch on our chalet while we slept and also during the day while we were fishing. While I was watching the moon one of the chalet guards walked past me, smiling and nodding. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 39
Louwrens was standing on the chalet’s veranda and he walked over and sat in the beach chair beside me. “Things do change in Africa,” Louwrens said. “How so?” I asked. “A few years ago a black man with an AK would have probably been trying to kill us.” “And now we hire them to be our guards.” “Yes,” Louwrens said slowly. “Now they are protecting us, probably from their old comrades. It is our Africa, theirs and ours and why we love it.” He wasn’t being nostalgic or sarcastic but stating what for him, a South African, was simple fact. Then he said that he was happy with the peace and the changes. “I want the blacks to have their country. If they will import good management in ten years Mozambique will again be the African Rivera.” The guard passed again and again nodded and smiled. “A black man with an AK protecting a white man from another black man,” Louwrens said. “This is Africa.” Louwrens didn’t say anything else but stood and walked to the chalet, closing the screen door behind him. I sat for a few more minutes, realizing that the moon had climbed high overhead. I stood up and turned for the door. From the night’s shadow the guard said, “Goodnight, sir.” “Goodnight to you,” I said, and then added, “stay safe.” “Yes sir.” Morning would come too early. We would bring the boat trailer down to the beach with the Seta Hotel’s tractor then we could load the boat. As I made my way to my room I could hear the heavy breathing of the others. I was sitting on my bed when I heard Carolee open her door. “Decent?” She asked. “Yeah. What’s up? She stood in the night shadow. “I don’t know. I wanted to ask if you are ready to go home.” In few more days we would be leaving Africa. Our flight from Johannesburg’s International Airport would take us directly to Miami, Florida. “Not really. I’ve been in Africa for a month now so it’s time to go. I’ve got to get home and take care of 40 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
things.” “Me too,” she said. I sensed her reluctance. “You’re not ready to go home.” “No. Three weeks hasn’t been enough.” I didn’t answer. There wasn’t any need to answer. For several years Carolee and I had hunted together and we were on our third trip through South Africa. We’d been fishing, hunting, touristing, and visiting friends. It was good. “You still plan to come back next year?” I asked, and then added: “I warned you before you came the first time that no one goes to Africa once.” She laughed and moved out of the shadow. Her long brown hair caught the still bright moon glow. “If you love Africa, you don’t ever really leave it; you just go do something else for a while,” she said. Moon glow shimmered on her long, green nightgown when she opened the door to her room. “Every trip is an adventure.” “Like hell’s gate?” I asked. “I didn’t have time to be scared—did you?” She answered. “No.” She opened the door and left, pulling it closed behind her. No, I didn’t have time to be scared; I was too busy holding on for dear life.”
To Seek Adventure Each of us knows men who carve their place in the world by defining themselves, not by being defined. Both Louwrens Mahoney and Rocco Gioia are those sorts of men. Raised as brothers the two men’s inheritance from Rocco’s father was one of South Africa’s premier pipeline construction companies and a sprawling cattle ranch between Hoedspruit and Kruger Park. In a division of management Louwrens manages the construction company and Rocco managed the more than 2100 hectare Casketts Ranch. Rocco and his (then) wife Renee, were both medical doctors, and they transformed Casketts into a world renowned hunting preserve. Shortly after the lodge was finished in the early 1980s one of the first “name” clients to hunt Casketts was the American rock star Ted Nugent. Because Nugent is an avid and internationally known bow hunter Rocco enlisted Nugent’s expertise to design the ranch’s system of bow hunter hides. Over the years Nugent made several trips to the ranch and
Rocco has frequently said that Ted Nugent “the best hunter who had ever hunted the ranch.” The NugentGioia friendship was celebrated by Nugent and his wife Shemane when they named their second son Rocco Winchester Nugent, after Rocco. I first hunted the ranch in 1992 and then on five more occasions through the 1990s. Each visit included additional adventures, a practice that begin in 1992 when we flew to Zambia to check on a game capture Rocco was financing, plus visiting a new hunting concession and safari camp he was having built near Kafue National Park in eastern Zambia. The native workers who were building the camp needed more meat rations and Rocco obtained hunting permits in Lusaka and after a torturous two day drive to the camp I was sent out to hunt impala for camp meat. Years later the trip and hunt was the inspiration for part two of my short story “Borrowed Hunts.”1
Pemba The following year Rocco, Louwrens, and two other South Africans, Wynand du Plessis and Tom Steenkamp, plus me, drove two Land Cruisers from Komatiport, South Africa over the sand road to Maputo, Mozambique. The road paralleled the highway and we could only hope all of the landmines had been picked up or exploded. (Later we learned that the next day a car hit a mine and the occupants were killed.) We passed the rusting remains of convoys of civilian cars that had been ambushed and their occupants killed in the final days of the war for independence, when the white government collapsed. The convoys had been filled with the descendants of the Europeans, mostly Portuguese, who were fleeing Mozambique for South Africa. Many of them never reached the border. The shattered and rusting hulks of cars and trucks were grim monuments to the nation’s suffering. In Maputo a friend of Rocco’s stored both Land Cruisers then drove us to the airport for our Zambian Airlines flight to Pemba. The plane made a stop at Beira where bored guards ordered all of the passengers to deplane and the baggage removed, searched, and then put back aboard. While the local authorities were doing their thing we drank warm Black Label beer in what (then) passed for a bar and watched our pile of fishing tackle get searched. At the time only a few months had passed since the 1 A copy of the author’s collection of short stories about Africa, Last Supper in Paradise, can be ordered through this magazine.
General Peace Accords between FRELIMO (Front For Liberation of Mozambique) and RENAMO (Mozambique Resistance Movement) had been signed in Rome, Italy. Rocco and Louwrens wanted to investigate the possibilities of establishing a fishing safari operation in Pemba with camps on the islands. Rocco had chartered a boat to take us from Pemba to ilha de Ibo, by slow tour of the sand and mangrove islands along the coast. Tom Steenkamp, an international big game angler who had won tournaments around the world was the fishing expert, and Wynand du Plessis was to look at the investment potential. Rumors abounded that the fabled sport fishery had survived both decades of constant warfare and rape by the Russian fishing fleet.
Welcome to the Nautilus So soon after the outbreak of peace there were few hotel choices in Pemba. The Hotel Nautilus, situated on the beach of Pemba Bay, offered accommodations in rondavel chalets. The hotel complex was an irregular grouping of whitewashed buildings with parking in front, the beach and bay behind it. The social center of the hotel (such as it was) was the restaurant and the social center of the restaurant was the large, covered, open air patio that faced the bay. The boat Rocco and Louwrens chartered was a 40foot, wooden hulled, diesel-powered fishing boat that was equipped with a galley, head, sleeping berth in the bow, bridge cabin, and was crewed by two deck hands. The boat was owned and skippered by two intrepid South Africans, Steve Anderson and Clive Gauutlett, who were trying to establish a dive shop in Pemba. They wanted to cash in on the tourist trade that would return to Mozambique. We planned to spend two days fishing the bay and immediate coastal areas around Pemba then begin a leisurely trip through the coastal islands of the Quirmbas Archipelago north of Pemba, going as far north as ilha de Matemo. Between the islands we would, of course, be fishing. Nothing ever goes according to plan and our two days at the hotel became four days of frustration. The first day, as planned, Rocco rented the hotel manager’s car and we drove into town to buy supplies, and obtain permits by dealing with the chaos of a new government that was still trying to sort itself out. The government building was grim. The outside walls were pockmarked by small arms fire, broken July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 41
windows were waiting for repair, and a long dead grass lawn surrounded it. Inside, broken light bulbs were in the sockets and the elevators were not working. Every desk without a worker was covered with a layer of dust. After buying fishing permits we bought supplies, stopping at a half-dozen sparsely stocked shops to fill our shopping list. That night we ate our first meal at the hotel restaurant. I ordered a grilled chicken and was served road killed seagull! The second night we drove into town to meet and have dinner with one of the few Europeans who had stayed in Pemba through the war years. Dinner was at a local restaurant and we were served a main course of mystery meat that closely resembled thick slices of fried tainted bologna. Overhead, the restaurant’s two glaring light bulbs hung from the ceiling on long, twisted cords and they swayed constantly in the slight breeze, causing our shadows to drift across the dingy walls. Wine was served in clear bottles that were refilled from large wooden casks perched behind the bar. Before leaving we helped the proprietor pour the wine we hadn’t drunk back into the casks. At the Nautilus we collapsed onto our beds and let the slowly rotating fan push air past our sweating and diarrhea tortured bodies. By morning the mystery meat’s effects had passed on. Every day we faced new obstacles, either from the government or a breakdown on the boat. To break up the boredom we snorkeled the coral reefs, fished around the bay, drank beer, rum and whiskey. Louwrens swore that if he drank his rum or whiskey neat, over ice, the alcohol would kill the bugs in the ice. He was wrong, of course. The day before we were finally going to start north Rocco and I were sitting on the restaurant’s patio, drinking beer and talking about Africa’s future when one of the local boys who were always trying to sell us jewelry made from sea turtle shells brought us a fresh crab. “Você pode adquirir mais destes?” Rocco asked. He was adept at using his mix of Spanish and Portuguese to communicate. “Sim,” the boy said. “Bom, quanto?” Rocco asked. “Muitos! Muitos!”
counting up the Meticals he would be paid. That afternoon he returned with a burlap bag bulging with fresh crabs. After dutifully paying the boy Rocco and Louwrens carried the sack into the kitchen and instructed the cook that our dinner that night would be crab and fried potatoes—no rice. We gorged ourselves on crab and bottles of Pinot Greigio. The next day we shuttled our gear to the boat that anchored several hundred yards out. We also had a surprise guest passenger, Tine Karlsson, a twenty-something Norwegian bombshell from the local UN offices. She was the target of Clive and Steve’s amorous intentions. On the Indian Ocean side of Mozambique’s coastal islands the Russian fishing fleet had used nets and long lines to decimate the fish populations but their ships’ draft was too deep to venture inside the island chains, so the fishing had survived. What had not survived were the skills of the native fishing guides. The men who had worked for the Europeans as fishing guides and crewed boats taking clients out for marlin and sailfish were now dead. Either they had died fighting in the war or had been executed by one side or the other. Now there were just stories, passed down from men who had been too old to fight or execute. Where the marlin were caught, the techniques and tackle used, was lost. It would be rebuilt in a post war Mozambique. The morning after the crab fest we left the hotel at 0600 hrs, but were forced back into Pemba Bay by high winds. Frustrated, we set out trolling baits and a few minutes before 0900 Louwrens’s rod was jerked violently and he was fast into a large Wahoo. The fish was finally boated and weighed; it cleared 38 kg. When the winds dropped we turned for the sea, cruising past Pointe Diablo at 1330 hrs. and an hour later two rods were hit and our Norwegian guest, Tine, caught the first fish of her life, a blue spotted kingfish. We trolled past the ilha de Quiziva, then the ilha de Mefunto before dropping anchor off the beach of ilha de Quilalea. We lowered ourselves into the warm waters and waded to shore to cook fish and bake potatoes over a beach fire. Sitting around the fire we ate the fish and baked potatoes with our fingers. As the fire burned down Louwrens asked Steve where he’d packed the bedding and offered to fetch it from the boat.
“Bom! Os traga aqui e eu os comprarei.”
“I didn’t pack any bedding,” Steve said, adding that he thought we’d bring our own.
The boy took off, chattering as he ran, obviously
We stared at Steve and Clive. “You can’t be seri-
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ous!” Louwrens demanded. “I figured Clive, Tine and I would sleep on the boat and you guys on the beach in your sleeping bags.” “Do we have anything for bedding?” Louwrens asked. “Beach towels,” Rocco said. “We’ve got beach towels.” There was also a small tent on the boat. We drew straws for the tent and Rocco and I would sleep in it, using beach towels for blankets. The little bedding in the sleeping berth was divided among the others, all of whom slept on the boat. The next night a steady rain kept all of us on the boat, reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart on The African Queen. Interestingly Tine slept on deck, leaving the berth for others. By the time we reached ilha de Ibo we’d cruised the mangrove islands, camped on pristine, white sand beaches and discovered why Mozambique had been Africa’s Rivera. Even the islands with small local populations were held in timelessness. The only clutter we found were piles of seashells. The world and its problems had skipped the islands. “In ten years it will be destroyed,” Rocco said while standing on the beach of Ibo and looking out to sea. “What will?” I asked. “The islands, the clean water, the beaches, and the fishing. The tourists will come and greed will ruin it.” I didn’t answer.
By the beginning of 1994 the question on my mind, and on the minds of many others, was if Mozambique was truly changing and welcoming tourists. The answer to the question was not in tour books, they were probably packed with lies, but in Mozambique—we had to go there. In January of 1994, Rocco, Louwrens, and I began planning our trip only this time we would fish the waters in and around Maputo Bay and we would do the fishing from our own boat. Rocco and Louwrens reserved two chalets at the Hotel Inhaca, on ilha de Inhaca 40 km across the bay from Maputo. Both Rocco and Louwrens had already visited the island and fished the waters so they were familiar with the area but tour operators were advertising the refurbished hotel was under new, European management, and that the salt water fishing opportunities were as good as they had ever been. Rocco wanted me to form my own opinion.
Two others would join us for the trip; Louwrens’s fishing partner, Mike Hughes and my hunting friend, Carolee. Before leaving we celebrated Louwrens’s 42nd birthday. Early in the morning on the 27th of May we left for Mozambique. Unlike the trip to Pemba in 1993 that had been exploratory this was a true fishing trip. Carolee and I wanted material for magazine articles. Rocco, Louwrens and Mike were on holiday. When we’d driven over the sand road to Maputo it was because of landmines and potholes and after a year’s work most of the four lane highway was repaved and open to traffic. The war’s wreckage had not been cleared. The rusting hulks of the cars and trucks of people who tried to flee Mozambique for South Africa and never made it, and the remains of military vehicles, lined parts of the road. Tractors that had been abandoned by farmers forced to flee the country were mute in the fields. Even with the progress of nearly two years of peace there were still permit issues to be overcome, complicated because we’d brought Rocco and Louwrens’s boat, the CR II. Still, they were resolved and with permits in hand we launched the boat, using the old and crumbling yacht club’s ramp. While Louwrens parked the Land Cruiser and trailer inside the club’s fenced and locked parking lot we stowed our gear for the trip across the bay. In my journal for May 27, 1995 I wrote that we had a calm sea crossing the bay and after moving our personal gear into our chalets at the Hotel Inhaca we returned to the boat that was anchored just a few yards from the beach: We went fishing for a few hours in the late afternoon. Caught several cudas. [There is a dispute in my notes regarding the actual species.] The water was being pushed just a little by the wind so we had some moderate [?] seas. On the way in I saw [sic] spectacular sunset that I describe [sic] as follows: A fiery scarlet globe slipping behind thin strips of clouds on the horizon and topped with a jeweled crown of gold. (Journal of G. Geer) The following morning, following intermittent rains throughout the night, we awoke to the threat of more rains. We decided to tour the island’s Marine Museum. To get there we rode the island’s mass transit-a wagon with seats that was pulled by an aging tractor. The twenty minute ride to the museum was uneventful, though through a lush landscape. At the museum we signed in and were quickly amazed that the museum had survived the revolution’s aftermath July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 43
when vestiges of colonial rule had been wantonly destroyed. Even more remarkable was it had survived the civil war. Inhaca, we were told, had largely been ignored during the civil war because of the difficulty reaching it, which also explained how the museum escaped destruction during the anti-colonialism rampage. Carolee, who holds a Master of Science in Conservation and Natural Resources, discovered trays of type specimens, some dating back more than a century that had been protected and maintained by the small group of self-appointed museum guards. With Rocco translating she asked the guards if they knew what they had been protecting. “Você sabe o que estas coisas são?” Rocco carefully and slowly asked the guard. “Não. Era importante para professores e outro antes da guerra assim que nós permanecemos aqui para mantê-la segura.” The guard answered. Several times Rocco asked him to repeat what he said until he understood what the guard was saying then he turned to Carolee and translated the conversation. “I asked him if he knew what he was guarding.” “What did he say?” she asked. “He said that no, but that he knew it was important because teachers and others came and worked here.” Carolee’s eyes welled with emotion, realizing that more than a century of important biological scientific knowledge had been saved from destruction by a small group of islanders who recognized its value without understanding it. “Tell them I am grateful for what they have done. Tell them, ‘Thank you.’” Rocco did and they smiled at Carolee and nodded, pleased. After another tractor ride back to the hotel over a longer, more scenic island road we ate lunch at the hotel then went fishing. We were trolling around the point of the island, toward the open sea, when my reel was solidly hit and I was into a king fish that fought hard and sounded twice before I had pulled it close enough for Louwrens to gaff. We caught three more fish before we quit for the day. After securing the boat and our tackle we decided to escape the hotel and have dinner in Inhaca village at “the” eating spot on the island—Restaurante Lucas. Louwrens sent the king fish over to Lucas’ to be prepared for our dinner. It was early evening when we walked from the hotel to Lucas’s 44 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
Lucas, the restaurant’s owner, had been the hotel’s chef, beginning when the hotel was built by the Portuguese in 1970. When the new management arrived he was demoted to cook. Frustrated and unwilling to accept the demotion he quit and opened his restaurant—Inhaca Restaurante Lucas.2 (He is still in business.) When we pushed the door open Lucas immediately recognized his friends, Louwrens and Rocco, and hurried across the one room, bamboo-walled restaurant to eagerly shake their hands. “Once more, my friends, you visit me,” Lucas said. Louwrens introduced each of us to Lucas, who then settled us at a table that was held level by pieces of wood pressed between the floor and the table legs. Customers had sent Lucas their flags from around the world, including a number of USA states, and he’d them hung from the ceiling to provide a bohemian sort of color for atmosphere. One end of the restaurant was the kitchen and the cooking was over wood fires in cement fireplaces. A single table for preparing the meals separated the kitchen from the tables. Lucas brought us each a cold Castle® beer. “So, my friends,” Lucas said, leaning against the counter, “the fishing has been good?” “It could be better,” Louwrens said. “You know,” Lucas said, “before the revolution people came from around world and they would stay in the hotel and fish from the boats. Now they are gone.” “The fishermen?” Rocco asked. “The fishermen, the guides, the boats, the men who owned the boats, they are all gone.” “Did they go to South Africa, Europe?” I asked. Lucas looked sad and shook his head “no.” He didn’t smile. “Most of them died in the fighting. Some in the revolution, others in the war but now no one remembers how to catch the big fish.” He turned and walked into the kitchen area and I thought he was going to start serving our meal. Instead, Lucas dug something out from under the counter and returned with an envelope. He handed it to me. “Those pictures are from the hotel, of the fish they caught.” The small black and white prints were yellowing pictures of marlin, sailfish and other trophy fish. “We 2 An Internet search for Inhaca Restruante Lucas reveled that Lucas’s restaurant is still in business and remains popular on Inhaca.
want to catch a marlin,” I said.
“Sure,” I answered, “like what?”
“The season for marlin begins in September, sometimes August,” Lucas said. “But this time of year the king fish, wahoo and cuda are caught.”
“We’ll take a short cut to the hotel.”
The cook called to him and Lucas turned to the business of serving dinner. Even now, 14 years after that night at Lucas’s, I remember the delicate aromas of dinner being prepared on the wood fire. He had rolled the fillets in a blend of flour and coconut shavings and fried them quickly so they were golden brown and the sweetness of the fish was locked inside3. The next day, Monday, May 29, was our last full day of fishing. We were on the water by 9 a.m. and as we cruised around the island to fish the ocean side Carolee’s bait was inhaled by a large king fish only minutes after Louwrens had poured the better part of a beer in the water, his daily offering to King Neptune. By noon each of us had caught several nice fish for the cooler. Louwrens turned the boat toward the island and we cruised into the bay of the Marine Reserve for a shore lunch. We would clean and grill one of the morning’s fish. Two young men materialized from the sand dunes and we learned they were guards for the reserve and they had come to check our camp. We invited them to join us for lunch and in return, before we left, they took us on a tour of their part of the island and served us tea in the small boma that surrounded their thatch home. We learned they hadn’t been paid for six months but they stayed on their job because they knew it was important. Louwrens promised to make some inquires among his government contacts about getting them paid. 4
Hell’s Gate In mid-afternoon King Neptune shut the fishing off and we knew it was time to quit. Our trolling had taken us farther south than we anticipated and by the time we were opposite the northern point of the Machangulo Peninsula it was late afternoon. “Everyone want some excitement?” Louwrens asked. 3 It is interesting that coconut battered seafood has become popular throughout the country although in the early 1990s it was nearly unheard of. Did it migrate from Southern Africa to the rest of the world as by product of the surge in African tourism, much as the popularity of American backyard fire pits, resembling the African braai have become popular in the same time period? 4 Several months later I learned from Rocco that their efforts had been successful and the two young men were paid and they had begun receiving regular shipments of food rations and been outfitted with uniforms.
“I think the boat is a little heavy to carry,” I said. “No,” Louwrens said, grinning like a pixilated leprechaun, “through Hell’s Gate.” “What’s Hell’s Gate?” “That,” Louwrens said, pointing it out as we crested an ocean swell. At the top of each swell we could see a very narrow opening between Inhaca Island and the tip of the peninsula. “It’s called Hell’s Gate. It’s where the bay and the Indian Ocean crash into each other. The tide is good now and we can go through there—maybe.” “What’s the maybe?” Carolee asked. “Not easy and not everyone makes it,” Louwrens said. I looked at Rocco, he was helping Mike put the tackle away and by the way he was doing it I knew the decision had been made. “So, do you know how to get through it?” Louwrens laughed again, and said he did, and then he added we, meaning myself and Carolee, should put on our life jackets. He was maneuvering the boat closer to the island. “It’s what is called a tidal surge,” Louwrens said in a matter-of-fact tone. “I know what a tidal surge is,” Carolee said, moving to stand beside me and look over the boat’s windscreen. “You ever go through this one?” Louwrens looked at her and said he had, once. “It’s scary and you’ll see the wrecks of boats that didn’t make it. You going to put your life jackets on?” I looked at the crashing bodies of water between the rocks of what I later learned is Ponta Torres and the southern tip of Inhaca. Each time they collided spray shot into the air. I asked Louwrens how wide the opening was. “About five hundred yards.” “How deep is the water?” “I don’t know,” Louwrens said. I suppose it is on a chart but we don’t have time to look.” I was quiet for a few second then said, “No.” “No what?” “If you screw it up and we crash into the rocks what are the chances we’d survive?” I asked, staring sternly at Louwrens. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 45
ts from th
Leaving from Pemba at dawn
Friends at a Pemba be
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He laughed and said, “Not much.” “Then I guess we don’t need life vests do we?” Louwrens laughed again. Rocco moved up so he could stand with us and Mike stayed in the back of the boat to make sure nothing was tossed over the side. Louwrens explained that he would cruise back and forth, just outside the gate until he could catch a wave and then he’d turn the boat, push the motors to full throttle to get up on the crest of the surge and ride it over the rocks and into the water of the bay. “We’ve got to be on top of the wave not surfing it or the water will crash down on us and drive the boat down, the bow under the wave and the next wave will flip us.” No one answered. We held on while Louwrens cruised back and forth, fifty yards from the gate, careful not to get caught by the wave and forced into the gate before he was ready. Suddenly, without warning, Louwrens pushed the throttles to their limit and spun the wheel, turning the CM II hard in the water. He climbed up the surging wave until he was on top and we heard the props begin to cavitate as they clawed at the disappearing water. Just as fast as he had pushed the throttles open he pulled back, letting the stern of the boat settle slightly in the water but maintaining the CM II’s precarious position near the top, but on the backside, of the onrushing surge of water.
h and th mba beac
As we were carried toward and then into the gate, for a brief few seconds, the shattered hulks of two fishing boats that hadn’t cleared the rocks were visible before they disappeared behind the crashing water. Ahead of us we could see the spray of the two bodies of water colliding in a massive collision of energy. Suddenly we felt the water begin to fall away from under us and Louwrens pressed the throttles again, pushing the CM over the crest of one mass of water and across the narrow opening of the two and onto the water that was the surge of water from the bay. There was a tremendous spray of water that fell around and on us and just as quickly we rushed into the calm waters of Maputo Bay. The entire experience, from the time he’d gunned the motors until we slid into the bay had lasted less than a minute. We laughed crazily because we’d made it. I turned loose of the windscreen’s frame and walked to the back of the boat. As the rush of adrenalin drained from my body I felt tired. Louwrens was standing easily, casually, the concentration on every detail had been routine for him and taken nothing unusual from him.
The cruise to the hotel was quiet. That night the hotels’ manager, Edwardo, hosted us to dinner and ordered the hotel’s chef to prepare a special meal for us. The following morning we returned to Maputo, loaded the boat and drove to South Africa. Another adventure was ending. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 47
Inhassoro In time everything changes. We could feel the changes sweeping over Mozambique. The year before, when we drove to Maputo with the CM II in tow we still had to drive around a few large potholes but now we could make the entire drive over a four-lane highway without weaving. In Maputo, Louwrens refilled the Land Cruiser’s fuel tanks then filled the extra fuel containers for the boat. Once again we had to go through the fishing permits drill but this time there were no “extra fees” and all was finished in minutes. We spent the night in Maputo with a friend who had a walled courtyard where the boat could be parked. Dinner was to be in one of Maputo’s best known and long lasting night spot restaurants—the Piri-Piri on Avenue de Julho. The restaurant was packed with revelers, mostly Europeans who were rediscovering Maputo, so we ate outside at a sidewalk table and when an artist came by I bought his highly stylized oil cloth paintings. The next morning we drove north, stopping once in the afternoon to refuel before we reached our destination—Inhassoro, then 15 km farther to the Hotel Seta. After checking in with the hotel’s manager, a beautiful and well educated local woman who had returned to her home after the fighting ended; we moved our gear into our chalet then pulled the boat down to the beach. Because of the tides and long, gentle slope of the beach, to launch the CM II we hired a tractor, hooked the boat trailer to the tractor, and then backed the boat into the water. Once it was floating free the boat trailer was pulled back to the chalet and chained to a tree. On our second day, while taking a break from fishing, I was sitting at a table sheltered by a massive and ancient mahogany tree when I heard my name. Eduardo, the manager of Hotel Inhaca when we had stayed there the year before, was walking toward me. We shook hands and he sat down. “What are you doing here, at the Hotel Seta?” he asked. “We’re fishing of course. Today Rocco is in town with Carolee buying provisions but Louwrens and Mike are in the chalet.” “Get them!” Eduardo said briskly, “I’ll meet you in the bar and I’ll buy the beer.” Edwardo brought us up to date on Mozambique’s changes and his promotion to general manager of a new lodge on Bazaurto Island. “Come over tomorrow,” Edward said, ‘I’ll treat all of you to lunch.” 48 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
ch and sky
Our first island
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The promise was made and after another round of beer Eduardo went off to catch his water taxi to the island. We kept our appointment to visit the island and toured the new lodge. On a wall was an old photograph of a fisherman with a giant marlin. “This will bring them back,” Rocco said, pointing to the picture. “The fish?” I asked. “Yes, Galen, the fish and stories about the fish,” Rocco said, dryly. The next day, after we’d returned from fishing, one of the local fishermen delivered a burlap sack of lobsters to the chalet and we cooked them in a pot of water we boiled over an open fire. There were too many for us to eat and the extras Louwrens put in a cool box then he packed it with ice. The world around us changes and we change as well. The following year my trip to Africa was cancelled at the last minute. So much of what defined me began to change in ways I didn’t understand. My brothers began dying of the diseases from exposure to Agent Orange and my doctor warned me that my health was beginning to crack. Now, with the diseases progress seemingly an unavoidable rush not so different from the onrushing water of Hell’s Gate, in my living room I enjoy the wooden masks, spears and trophies from my African trips. Hanging among these treasures are the paintings I bought on the sidewalk outside the Piri Piri. They are framed and behind protective glass and when I look at them I never fail to be carried back to the sultry heat of that night, the nights that followed and those before it. So often when I remember those nights and the adventures I also remember Rocco standing on the beach at ilha de Ibo, his arms folded, and his wind breaker whipping in the wind. He was looking out to sea and as if to wonder if it would last. Where he stood and we cooked on the beaches there are lodges and resorts. You can go there and try to capture what Rocco saw and felt and maybe you’ll find a Hell’s Gate of your own.
View of Pe mba bay
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Tom n ey e on keep ing a Rocc o Carrying gear from the
Galen L. Geer is a former United States Marine Drill Instructor and Vietnam veteran. A professional outdoor hunting, shooting and gun writer, he published 2000 magazine articles. He has been a contributing editor to Soldier of Fortune magazine for thirty years and is the author of seven books. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 51
The Parable of the Warth
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hog and the Wildebeest Learning to wait for the best
t was very quiet. The light northwestern breeze carried my scent away from the game path which the animals usually used en route to the dam for their afternoon drink. The clean, warm smell of the African savannah filled my nostrils: camelthorn resin, grass and cool fresh air. In the distance the Amatako hills stood tall. Today, I would shoot my first wildebeest. Please God, I prayed, I am fed-up with warthogs. You made them so stupid and easy to shoot. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 53
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Send me a big wildebeest today. I have been sitting quite motionless in a large Shepherdâ€™s Tree tree for the better part of five hours. I moved a little, my right leg numb with pins and needles. A tiny, scarlet-chested sunbird bird flew to within an armâ€™s length and burst into song, turning its little head from side to side to have a better look at me. To be sure, I was dressed up for the occasion. My khakis were garnished with an impala hide vest (tail and hair intact), a kudu hide hunting belt (tail and hair intact) and elephant leather hunting boots. A powerful, state-of-theart, camouflaged compound hunting bow rested on the branch in front of me, my gloved right hand gently tugging at the string. I felt like a double-tailed Davey Crocett, and I am in Africa to hunt. A tiny movement caught my eye, and the grey, the squat shapes of a warthog became vaguely visible through the undergrowth.
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Those who do not hunt can never know the feeling of the hunter who sees a wild animal up close. I struggled to keep calm, my heart drumming violently in my head, adrenaline surging through my veins. He sniffed loudly where I had walked earlier the morning, decided that I was long gone and crawled under the fence. Warthogs, like most game, have remarkable senses of smell, hearing and sight. Everything is seen in monochrome and movement is relied upon to identify potential danger. Standing less than twenty metres away, he looked directly at me. The slightest flutter of an eyelid or the tiniest movement would send it hurtling through the entrance after which it would find a safer place for a drink and a mudbath. It tossed itâ€™s head and moved a little closer. I held my breath, peering through hooded eyes. The first warthog was a big boar. He was built like a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and boasted two pairs of long, yellow, razor sharp tusks which curled out of his mouth. His unlovely countenance was adorned with huge warts. He snorted, tossed his head and started walking toward the dam. No way, I thought. I asked for a wildebeest. I wonâ€™t be distracted that easily. His companion, a sow, followed with only a casual glance in my direction. The sow started to roll in the mud to dispose of ticks and other parasites on her wrinkly grey skin. The boar stared at her body covered by sticky brown mud. Hubba hubba, he thought, walked towards her and rested his chin seductively on her back. She arched her back provocatively and started walking away slowly with his snout pressed firmly against her rump, presumably to entertain him in a more romantic spot. I smiled and watched them disappear behind the bush. I considered some of the stories Oom Soon, the owner of the farm, had told us about warthogs. A certain irate boar stuck his tusks into the leg of a laborer and almost severed it. Another dispatched posthaste Oom Soonâ€™s finest hunting dogs, leaving three disemboweled and one bleeding to death in the dust. It was about 2 hours later that I saw him. This one was BIG. Much larger than the previous boar, this warthog was a keeper. His neck was thick and his head looked like the front of a grey bulldozer. On the other side of the pan he stood and looked out for danger, sniffing the wind with his nose held high.
He turned to offer me his side. My instincts took over and I drew the compound bow to its full 70-odd pounds, my sight finding the area where the heart-lung cavity would be. The movement caught his eye and he looked up at me, unsure if there was danger. I froze and waited, my arm trembling under the power stored in the limbs of the bow. He looked away and I let the arrow fly. The precision-made arrow, tipped with four razoredged blades, flew forward at 280 feet per second. He saw me the moment I let the arrow fly, and in that split-second bunched his muscles to run. But it was too late. With a meaty thwack the arrow entered where I aimed, entering high on the right shoulder and angling down through the vital area. He turned and I heard the arrow being sheared off as the powerful shoulder blade moved over the ribs. At full speed, and still unsure of the cause, he ran 10 meters, turned and looked at me one last time and disappeared into the bush But that was not all that happened. As I released the arrow, I heard the thunder of animals that exploded into movement below me. Looking over my shoulder I saw a small herd of wildebeest rapidly disappearing into the bush, led by a massive bull. It was the bull I wanted but would never get. They had silently moved to right under my tree but my focus on the warthog made me oblivious to anything else. I sat in my tree, stunned and disappointed. 30 Seconds would have made the difference. 30 Seconds of patience. 30 seconds of holding on a bit longer for that which I asked for. 30 Seconds of faith. Often we pray and wait, but are distracted by the good thing and our impatience and lack of wisdom make us miss out on the great thing. Funny thing, but we never did find that big warthog. I searched in vain and even had the best farm trackers come help me. Perhaps it was herd of wildebeest that obliterated the spoor or perhaps the Mitch Mitchell is a hunter, pig disappeared down outdoorsman a hole, but at dusk and the author and after hours of of several books searching we gave up. on African wildlife and survival.
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Action Hunting in Namibia
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Koos Barnard July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 63
Bilharzia in Africa
River Danger 64 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
Dr. G. Swart
ou’re back from safari but you seem to always be tired, can’t concentrate, and feel listless and sleepy. Your wife is fed up and you can’t make it through meetings at work without snoring. Remember cooling off in the Zambezi while your PH kept the crocs away with his .375 magnum? Remember walking through that stream while tracking that trophy dagga boy? Good news, bud: it is not only because you miss Africa and that you are way over 40 that you are feeling this way. When your PH slapped you on your back and said that Africa becomes part of you, he meant it literally and figuratively: Africa is not only in your heart - you could be harbouring Africa’s common water-bourne parasite in your bloodstream. The African bush is a place of beauty, tranquility and magnificence but is also home to some of the worlds most deadly diseases. One of them, lurking in streams, rivers and pools has a dark side to it which could cause life-threatening complications. It is a common, chronically debilitating and potentially lethal disease affecting an estimated 200 million people, half of whom live in Africa, with 600 million people being at risk. It is called Bilharzia or Schistosomiasis. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 65
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Schistosomiasis is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. This infection occurs throughout the tropics and sub tropics. It is endemic to 74 countries. Bilharzia is a parasitic infection caused by Schistosoma blood flukes.
caused by the death of cercariae upon skin penetration. The rash resolves spontaneously within 10 days and is rare in endemic areas.
As the cercaria penetrates the skin it transforms into a migrating schistosomulum stage. Here it stays in Five species of Schistosoma infect humans: the skin for a few days while locating a small vein to transport it to the lungs of the human host. From ●● Schistosoma manhere migration to the liver soni and Schistosoma takes place. Free-swimming Miracidia which enter the intercalatum cause intestinal schistosomiasis
snail by penetrating the snail’s foot.
●● Schistosoma haematobium causes urinary schistosomiasis
●● S. mansoni and S. japonicum relocate to the intestine or rectal veins
●● Schistosoma japonicum and Schistosoma mekongi cause Asian intestinal schistosomiasis Shistosoma flukes have a complex life cycles involving specific freshwater snail species as intermediate hosts. Bilharzia eggs are released into the environment from infected individuals, hatching on contact with fresh water to release free-swimming miracidium. Miracidia infect fresh-water snails by penetrating the snail’s foot. Infected snails release large numbers of small, larvae called cercariae, capable of penetrating the unbroken skin of humans. Even brief exposure to contaminated water can result in infection. Cercariae emerge constantly from the snail host in what is called a circadian rhythm. This is dependent on ambient temperature and light. Cercariae are highly mobile and can sink to maintain their position in the water or swim upwards if stimulated by water turbulence, shadows and by some chemical substances found on human skin. Cercariae secrete enzymes that break down human skin and make penetration possible. “Swimmers itch” occurs 1 day after penetration. It is an itchy rash
Juvenile worms from some species develop oral suckers and the worms start feeding on red blood cells. Worms pair up and:
●● S. haematobium migrate from the liver to the venous plexus of the bladder, ureters, and kidneys. Worms reach maturity in eight weeks, at which time they begin to produce eggs. Adult worms may produce 300 to 3000 eggs per day. Many of the eggs pass through the intestinal or bladder wall into the feaces or urine. Some eggs released by the worm pairs become trapped in the veins, or will be washed back into the liver, where they will become lodged. Worm pairs can live in the body for an average of four and a half years, but may persist up to 20 years.
A Bilharzia larvae called a cercarium, measuring about 500 micron
Trapped eggs mature normally, and elicit a vigorous immune response. The eggs themselves do not damage the body but due to the immune response severe complications may arise.
Symptoms Schistosomiasis is a chronic disease. Many infections are asymptomatic, with mild anemia and malnutrition being common in endemic areas. Katayama fever however is a rare but potentially lethal illness occurring 1 to 3 months after the primary infection. Symptoms include, fever, headache, chills, sweatJuly 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 67
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CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE ANIMATION
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Schistosoma worms, males measuring 10-15 mm in length by 0,8-1 mm in diameter
Skin vesicles on the foot, created by the penetration of Schistosoma
Urticaria in a man who developed Katayama Syndrome
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ing, diarrhoea, cough, enlarged liver and glands and urticaria. Clinical features of chronic Bilharzia include, fatigue, abdominal pain, cough and diarrhoea. Various systems can be involved. ●● Lung disease: Fatigue, dizzyness and chestpain may develop due to embolizing eggs. ●● Liver disease: Abdominal distension, enlarged liver, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, dilated bloodvessels in the oesophagus. ●● Intestinal disease: Embolizing eggs may cause chronic inflamation of the large bowel, bloody diarrhoea, anemia and rectal prolapse ●● Central nervous system disease: Epilepsy, paraplegia and bladder dysfunction. Typhoid bacteria may colonize the adult worms providing a source of recurrent typhoid attacks. Diagnosis of Bilharzia is usually confirmed by serologic studies (a blood test) or by finding Bilharzia eggs on microscopic examination of stool or urine. Bilharzia eggs can be found as soon as 6-8 weeks after exposure, but are not always detectable. Blood test in the exposed, asymptomatic traveler should ideally be performed 6-8 months following exposure.
Safe and effective drugs are available for the treatment of Bilharzia and your health care worker or Family physician will prescribe medication which will kill the adult Bilharzia worms.
How can I prevent Schistosomiasis? ●● Avoid swimming or walking in freshwater in countries in which schistosomiasis occurs. ●● Drink safe water. You should either boil water for 1 minute or filter water before drinking it. Boiling water for at least 1 minute will kill any harmful parasites, bacteria, or viruses present. Iodine treatment alone will not guarantee that water is safe and free of all parasites. ●● Heat your bath water for 5 minutes at 150°F. Water held in a storage tank for at least 48 hours should be safe for showering. ●● Vigorous towel drying after an accidental, very brief water exposure may help to prevent the Schistosoma parasite from penetrating the skin. You should NOT rely on vigorous towel drying to prevent Bilharzia.
The host snail
Dr. Swart has been involved in Communicable disease control since 2004 and is an authority on Malaria, tropical and infectious diseases in Africa. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 71
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click to email
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Photo: Kobus Hugo 76 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
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Photo: Kobus Hugo
Lady hunters on the dark continent
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Carolee Anita Boyles
ecky Johnston and I followed Professional Hunter Chris Steyn up out of the river swamp near Landela Lodge. A large herd of impala ran ahead of us onto the veldt. At the very end of the herd a nice ram hesitated, and Chris said to Becky, “Shoot!” She did; the ram ran back into the swamp and disappeared. Though neither Chris nor I thought the ram had been hit, we walked to where he had been standing and searched for any trace of blood. Fifteen minutes later Chris found a single red drop on a blade of grass. After a long slow stalk along the river he spotted the ram lying down, and anchored it with a shot to the neck. It wasn’t a huge ram, but it was nice, and would make a pretty mount. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 79
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that the number of women hunters has increased dramatically in the last fifteen years. We’re finally getting some younger women into the field as well, as many of the outdoorsy 20-somethings have discovered the sense of accomplishment that goes with taking an animal from the field to the table. That enthusiasm for the hunt includes taking trips to exotic locations to hunt. Until the last few years only a few women went to Africa to hunt; today, if a male hunter is planning a trip and his significant has anything to say, it’s likely to be “I want to go too!” Fifteen years ago I had the privilege of accompanying two women on their first African hunt. Both of these women were adventurous and not afraid to try something different, and both were from hunting families who supported their desire to take a trip to Africa. The hunt came about because of a conversation I had with Rocco Gioia, owner of Caskett’s Ranch, near Hoedspruit, South Africa. After a successful hunt with him, I had asked him how he’d feel about me coming back and bringing a hunting party of women to the ranch. Though he seemed a bit skeptical, he agreed to give a women’s hunt a try, and even offered a special rate for that first hunt. The first person to commit to the hunt was Debbie Holland, a schoolteacher from Levi, Utah. She confided that when her husband heard of the opportunity, he said that she must go. He was so insistent, in fact, that he was willing for them to take out a small loan to finance her trip. For a while, I thought Debbie would be the only hunter who went. Then I received a letter from Becky Johnston, whose husband Terry had seen mention of the hunt in a letter to the editor of an outdoor magazine. She wrote that she worked at K-Mart, and figured she probably couldn’t afford to go, but she wanted to know all the details.
100 yards, or 1897 at 200 yards, which was farther than either she or Becky was likely to shoot. Becky preferred to shoot a 180-grain Winchester Silvertip in her .30-06; her largest quarry would be a gemsbok. That would generate 2436 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards; at 200, it would still be 2023. Although neither of those calibers is suitable for large or dangerous game, these women were on the forefront of a trend that is becoming move common today, as an increasing number of hunters are using smaller calibers for plains game. I checked with Rocco, and he felt comfortable about their choices. I decided to take both my .25-’06 and my .375 H&H Magnum. With the .25-06 I’d be shooting the 100-grain hand loaded Nosler Ballistic Tips I’d been using for southern whitetails, which generated 2055 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards and 1740 at 200 yards. If I stuck to deer-sized and smaller animals with the .25-’06 I should be all right; I’d use the .375 for anything larger. Caskett’s Ranch, where we would be hunting, was at the edge of Kruger Park in the Eastern Transvaal region of South Africa. Much of that area consists of dryland thornveldt, but the Klaserie River runs through it, and provides a river swamp with plenty of habitat for bushbuck. Debbie and Becky would do some riding around and spotting game, but most of their hunting would be on foot or sitting at waterholes. I reached Caskett’s Ranch several days before Debbie and Becky arrived in South Africa. I wanted to hunt a really big warthog, and a couple of the small things, preferably duikers. I also wanted a blesbok, but since the leopards ate all the blesbok at Caskett’s, I’d have to go elsewhere for that before Becky and Debbie arrived.
Rocco sent me down to J. “Shorty” Durand’s ranch in the Free State with Professional Hunter Andrew Hogg. The hunting at Shorty’s was considerably different from that at Caskett’s Ranch. Up at CasI called Becky and told her as much as I could about kett’s the bush is fairly dense, which provides both the hunt, including Rocco’s special rate. Then I the hunter and the hunted with cover. A long stalk asked if she’d like go. on foot usually is the norm. But in the Free State the She had only one question. “When do we leave?” habitat is more grassy and open; consequently both people and animals can see much farther, and the I had my second hunter. game is wild and wary as a result. Almost all shootOne of the first questions both Debbie and Becky ing is done from a vehicle, because that’s the only asked was “Do I have to shoot a big gun?” Debbie way a hunter can get close enough for a shot. Even wanted to shoot her .270 with a 150-grain Barnes at that, it’s a challenge. We’re talking long shots X-bullet in|aiTunes factory| The loadHunting from PMC/El Dorado; the| My Outdoor Wire | Out Fitters | Brookeshot Hunt Club |uncommon. here; aTV 300-yard wasn’t largest animal she would try for would be a kudu. As we drove around, I saw a lot of game. Many of That would give her 2150 foot-pounds of energy at July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 81
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the animals were common species: lots of blesbok and springbok, and a huge herd of gemsbok, but few impala. I saw some oddities, too, such as white blesbok and black springbok. A huge mixed herd of animals milled about together, blesbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and zebra. We stirred them around a little with the vehicle and the blesbok separated from the rest. Twice they stopped less than 200 yards away and I got in position on a nice ram. But the first time another animal was standing behind the one I wanted, and the second time a branch hung right in front of his shoulder. They started off again and we followed. Most of the herd crossed the road in front of us and the driver went hard after them, driving right through the herd. For a long moment I though the last few animals were going to leap into and over us in their determination to stay with the herd. Then the last five turned away from the road; we had successfully separated them from the rest. From that point on the hunt was fairly straightforward. We followed the five animals—three red blesbok and two white—around until we got them in an open place about 85 yards away. I choose the biggest red ram, centered the crosshairs on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. He dropped in his tracks. When I got a good look at him I could see that the bullet had broken his spine mid-way of his back. Though it was a good shot, it was not the one I had chosen. Since I had had a steady rest, and I’m normally an accurate shot, I suspected the riflescope had gotten bumped. A subsequent trip to the range at Caskett’s proved my suspicion. Though I had checked the rifle when I first arrived in Africa, all the riding around on the veldt had caused the zero to shift high and to the left. A few days later, Debbie and Becky arrived. Before they ever got into the field at Caskett’s, I had a feeling that hunting with them would be interesting. The first night at dinner Debbie told us that when they got to the airport in Johannesburg, Becky’s luggage didn’t appear. After they had waited almost an hour, baggage handlers finally found her suitcase and gun case at the very back of the baggage compartment. Then at Customs, Debbie couldn’t get her gun case open. After struggling with it, she turned to Becky and said, “If there were three of us, we’d be the Three Stooges.” Becky replied, “Just wait a while. Maybe there will be.” All of us at the table nearly fell out of our chairs laughing. I couldn’t tell if I was Larry, Moe or Curly. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 83
The next afternoon, Rocco took Debbie out for a ride, to get her acquainted with the ranch and maybe to stalk an animal. When they came back a couple of hours later, Debbie was rattled. She said that while they were driving Rocco saw an animal, stopped the bakkie, and said, “Get out and shoot that.” “What is it? It’s not on my list of animals,” she replied. “I don’t care. I want you to have it. Shoot it!” he told her. So she did. Both she and her .270 performed flawlessly, and she dropped a lovely bushbuck ram right where he stood. Even before I saw him, I was envious. A bushbuck is a notoriously hard animal to get; they’re cautious and wary and hide in the densest river swamps they can find. To get one on your first trip is remarkable; to get one on your very first afternoon of hunting is unheard of. To make things even better, Debbie’s ram was absolutely perfect. It didn’t have so much as a nick in either one of its ears from fighting. For the next two days Debbie walked around saying, “But it wasn’t on my list. I wasn’t supposed to shoot it.” Only after close to a dozen people had said, “You shot what? On your first afternoon hunting??!” did she realize what incredibly good fortune she had had. But after that, both Debbie’s and Becky’s luck seemed to run out. Rocco and Debbie couldn’t get on a kudu, and Becky couldn’t get even an impala. Professional Hunter Chris Steyn took Becky on long walks for three consecutive days without her getting a single animal. On the fourth day, Chris and Becky and I walked up her impala. Then when we got back to the lodge with Becky’s ram, we found that Debbie also had gotten an impala while hunting with Rocco. We thought their luck had changed. But the next two days were just frustration. Neither Rocco nor Chris could get Debbie on a kudu, or Becky on anything. Becky had decided against trying to take a gemsbok, since that would mean a trip down to Shorty’s; she was going to try for a waterbuck instead. On the last day of the hunt, Rocco sent Becky and Debbie to a neighboring ranch with a different Professional Hunter to see if they could get at least a kudu for Debbie there. Chris took me to yet another ranch for a day of bowhunting, where I sat and worried about Becky and Debbie all day. 84 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
I need not have been concerned. When I got back to the ranch at the end of the day and called out to the two of them, they greeted me with shrieks of excitement. Not only had Debbie taken her kudu, she had gotten a huge warthog and a big waterbuck as well. Becky was equally ecstatic. She had killed a very nice waterbuck, one even bigger than Debbieâ€™s. That night I raised a glass of wine in a toast to both of them, and to Rocco. The three of them had proven my point: women can go to Africa on safari, and donâ€™t have to spend a fortune or shoot a big-bore rifle to do it. After Debbie and Becky left, I spent a few more days in Africa, at Songimvelo Game Reserve with some friends of mine. Though Songimvelo allowed hunting, the philosophy there was quite different than on a commercial ranch. Since the Swazi people who lived around the Reserve gave up part of their land to create it, when they needed meat for the pot they received animals hunters killed. While I was there, they needed meat. That meant I got a chance to hunt another blesbok. Hannes Marais, an anti-poaching officer and a good friend of mine, took me out. We drove into a little valley where we could see seven animals spread out below us, some standing, some lying down.
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Carolee Anita Boyles has been to Africa four times and has been writing about hunting and fishing since 1981. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida with her son, Chris, and two golden retrievers. 86 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
He picked out a nice big ewe, old enough, he said, to be past reproductive age. I made a short stalk to within perhaps 125 yards, sat down, took a good rest, and shot. It should have been simple. She should have gone down in just a few yards. I knew I had hit her well in the heart/lung area; I’d chosen that instead of a shoulder shot to keep from ruining meat. All seven of the blesbok ran, and the ewe showed no sign of having been hit. But she ran behind the others, sort of by herself. The ewe went up the hill opposite us and we followed, so we were in the valley. “Shoot it again,” Hannes said. Then, “Wait. It feels bad,” as she lay down. We started toward her. She got up and walked over the crest of the hill. I couldn’t quite get on her to take another shot. Hannes sent the game scout who was with us over the hill far to our left. In theory, the ewe should have seen him and popped back over to our side. But nothing happened. Finally we walked over ourselves. The game scout was way down in the next valley, and he motioned to us that the blesbok was just a little down from us. We started down and almost walked over her. She jumped up and trotted into the thorn trees. But she was moving toward the game scout, and I wasn’t about to risk a shot under those conditions. Then Hannes pointed him out to me; he had moved up the hill so he was more or less behind us, well out of any danger from my shot. I took a quick, mid-body shot on the ewe at about 75 yards. She walked a little farther and lay down. Though she was still and made no more attempts to get up, she continued to breathe for several more minutes. When we examined her, we could see that my first shot had been perfectly placed. It went right through the lungs, just a little above the heart. It was a shot that would have flattened a whitetail. But on the blesbok, the bullet had gone through the ribcage and lodged just under the skin without putting her down. The other animals I was to take were quite a bit larger than the blesbok, so I switched to the .375. After fairly routine stalks—if anything in Africa ever can be called routine!—I took a zebra stallion and a nice waterbuck. Subsequent measurements confirmed that my waterbuck--which I took on my last day in Africa--was the largest one taken at Songimvelo until that time. It was a small fact which pleased Hannes greatly. Looking back from a distance of 15 years, I recall that hunt as the best one I ever had in Africa. Watching Becky and Debbie live out a dream they never thought they would get to experience reminded me that the difference between a dream and reality is, simply, a plan. And as more and more women make that plan to experience Africa, ranches and Professional Hunters who cater to women are going to see their clientele continue to increase in the years to come. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 87
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Destinations Central Kalahari
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he chill of evening came just after a burnt-orange and indigo sundown. It is that kind of cold that gets in your bones - and it only gets worse when the jackals call to each other in the distance. The millions of stars in the milky way above seem just above head height. It feels as if you could pick them like buffalo thorn berries - but they would prick your fingers and draw blood if you tried. The wood for the fire was collected during the day and we met no other car or person all day. Looking around cautiously for predators, we cut and dragged the logs to the camp. We saw only Gemsbuck, Springbuck and vast open spaces. Johan and Oom Koos share a joke and Kobus turns the venison boerewors on the coals. A good Cape Merlot fills my glass and the fire throws sparks heavenward and warms my cold feet. Freedom. Wilderness. Friendship. Africa. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 91
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We left South Africa early the previous Saturday and slept over at Mopipi. The water leaked in Kobus’ trailer and their clothing and sleeping bags were wet and freezing cold. All that night, the lions roared and the jackals called close by. After that, the border post at Kopfontein, then Gaberone, Metsimothlabe, Mokgopeetsane, Molepole, Lethlakeng, Kudumelapje and through the gate at Khutse, our last stop for water. Here in the Central Kalahari, Change is sweeping through an ancient way of life like the restless, bitter wind that scatters sand and pierces sun-soaked days in the Kalahari Desert. The Bushmen of southern Africa have hunted and foraged here for thousands of in the endless savannah. Now, as then, this diminutive, nomadic people are tied unrelentingly to the land and age-old skills of hunting and foraging. We saw none of them in the vastness. We spend our first night at Moreswe after 60 kilometers or so on sandy roads in the park. Today I sit on top of the African Expedition pickup with my Canon and try to absorb in the overwhelming sense of vast space around me. Kobus is driving like he’s late for a meeting and next to me my friend Johan chats non-stop, a cold Heineken in his hand and a wide smile on his face. He slaps me on the back every so often to emphasise a point or to make sure I get a joke. We talk about God, family, friends and Africa. He laughs at some of my answers, gives me some eland biltong made by Oom Koos and passes me another beer. Those of you with the cushy high-pressure, highlypaid management jobs: you don’t know what stress is and how much we really suffer. Yep, life certainly is tough in Africa.
Travel in Botswana Visa Citizens of 67 countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US, do NOT require a visa. For citizens of other nations, a visa must be obtained prior to arrival. As of February 2009, a visa from the Botswana embassy in Washington costs US$107; for more information and a complete list of countries which do/don’t require visas, see: http://www. botswanaembassy.org//index.php?page=visaconsular.
By plane Botswana’s main airport is Sir Seretse Khama in Gaborone. Most flights arriving in Botswana are from Johannesburg in South Africa. (There are no international flights besides South Africa and Zimbabwe.) The airport in Maun can also be reached via Johannesburg or Gaborone. The distance between Gaborone and Maun - a wildlife tourism attraction spot - is more than 1000km.
By train Trains to/from South Africa have been withdrawn since 1999. A rail link runs from to and from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe was due to be started in April 2006, but was delayed. The present state of this service is unknown (which was to be operated by National Railways of Zimbabwe), especially since Botswana Railways stopped the last domestic passenger service in April 2009.
By car There are several entry points by road to Botswana: In the south at Gaborone, providing access from Johannesburg; in the west providing access from Namibia; the north providing access from Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and at Francistown in the east, providing access from Harare. All road access is good and the primary roads within Botswana are paved and well maintained. Coming from Namibia, you can either go north to Maun, or south along the Trans-Kalahari Highway to Lobatse.
By bus There is a regular bus service from Johannesburg to Gaborone, which takes six hours. There is also service from Windhoek, Namibia via the Caprivi Strip which will drop you in Chobe National Park, in northern Botswana. There is also bus service from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. See Intercape Mainliner for information on service from Namibia and Zimbabwe. Private shuttles ran until 2004 from Windhoek directly to Maun and in late 2005, such a service was starting up again.
Transport Through a combination of coaches, combies and trains, you can get anywhere in Botswana without any trouble, though public transport is spotty away from big cities and major axes but hitchhiking is popular and very easy. However, hitchhiking should only be done in desperate circumstances, as Botswana July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 93
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driving is often very erratic and it can be a harrowing experience to have a stranger drive you somewhere. It is advisable to arrive at the bus station quite early, as the busses do fill up quickly, and it is not uncommon to spend several hours standing in the aisle waiting for a seat to free up (remember to bring water, as the buses are often not air conditioned).
these in conversation will make people very happy.
Botswana’s currency is the Pula; 100 Thebe = 1 Pula. In Setswana, pula means “rain” and thebe means “shield.” Rough conversions are 5:1 (USD) 6:1 (EUR), 10:1 (GBP) and 1:1.3 (South African Rand).
The roads are paved and well maintained, so travel by car is also not a problem, provided that one keeps a close eye out for the cows, donkeys and goats that spend much time in the middle of the road. The Trans-Kalahari Highway is an old cattle route, now newly paved and easily drivable with a 2-wheel drive. It runs from Lobatse to Ghanzi in Botswana, making the connection from Windhoek, Namibia to Gaborone, Botswana. It is a long and uneventful drive, but you get a good feel for the Kalahari Desert. Fuel is available in Kang at the Kang Ultra Shop, which also offers a respectable selection of food, overnight chalets, and inexpensive camping.
By bus There are many bus companies in Botswana. One of the biggest is Seabalo. From Gaborone you can travel by bus to any bigger city in Botswana.
By train Botswana Railways operates Botwana’s railways. The main line goes from Lobatse, near the South African border, via Gaborone to Francistown at the Zimbabwean border. However, effective April 1, 2009, all passenger services have been withdrawn.
Language The language of business in Botswana is English and most people speak it, although in the more rural areas many people do not speak English, particularly the older generations. The primary indigenous tongue is Setswana, and is the mother tongue of the overwhelming majority of the population. It is not difficult to learn basic greetings and such, and using
Setswana- Hello – Dumela (Dumela Rra- pronounced borra - when addressing men, Dumela Mma- pronounced bomma- when addressing women)
Sleep Most of the accommodation establishments in Botswana are located near the larger towns and cities, but there are also many secluded game lodges tucked away in the wilderness areas.
Stay safe People in Botswana are very friendly and the crime rate is low. Nevertheless, crime has been on the rise over the past several years, so always be aware of your surroundings. Basic common sense will keep you safe from the predatory wildlife in rural areas.
Stay healthy Botswana’s HIV infection rate, estimated at 24.1%, is the 2nd highest reported in the world. Exercise regular universal precautions when dealing with any bodily fluid and remain aware of this high rate of infection. Take precautions accordingly. Wear rubber gloves when dressing someone else’s cut, even if they are a child - and unless you have a death wish, NEVER, EVER HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX. If you form a serious relationship, you had both better get an HIV test before taking things further. The northern part of Botswana, including Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta is in a malaria zone, so it is advisable to take the relevant precautions. Seek medical advice before travelling to these areas. The drinking water is safe in urban areas unless otherwise indicated.
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The Ancient Craft Knifemaking in South Africa
H IT W YK. E AD N W BL VA SS NE LE LE N AI HE ST BY 04 G 20 VIN IN A W GR O N SH . E E T L ES D W AN E H AD OD L B O E W TH ON AT IR R RT E E NT ES HU A D ST ON BE IZ AR
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t is impossible to imagine a world without knives. Without knives modern efficiency would disappear and we would be driven back to the Stone Age. The humble knife has played an immense part in the history and civilization of man. Knives are what define us as humans and we are disadvantaged without it. In ancient times the knife helped man hunt, eat and survive. Although knives evolved with man, the basic structure of the knife has remained the same over the ages. In Western society, knives, apart from those with which we eat and use in the kitchen, have lost their place as daily tools and all but disappeared as weapons. In modern times the knife has become more than just a utility tool; it is a fashion item – gentlemen’s jewelry and space age man appears to almost have a love affair with knives and edged weapons. The aesthetic pleasure of owning one of man’s most ancient of tools seems to have increased as man’s practical need for a knife has diminished. The earliest South African knives were made in 1797 by Christiaan Kuhnel at Genadendal, a Moravian mission post high in the Riviersonderend mountains.
FOLDER WITH MAMMOTH IVORY HANDLE SLABS AND STAINLESS DAMASTEEL BOLSTERS AND BLADE
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FOLDER WITH 12C27 STAINLESS STEEL BLADE. COMPOSITE HANDLE : ENGRAVED STAINLESS STEEL WITH BLACK LIP MOTHER OF PEARL AND HIGH CARBON DAMASCUS INLAYS. THE MECHANISM FEATURES THE BLADE RUNNING ON TINY BALL BEARINGS.
During the past 30-odd years, a small group of enthusiasts brought the art of knife making back to life in South Africa. Influenced by the revival of the art in the United States in the 1970’s, the Knife Makers’ Guild of Southern Africa (KGSA) was established in 1980. It aims to bring knife makers together at an annual show, to further the craft and to set standards of excellence. Knife makers can only become members after they have submitted five of their personally handcrafted knives to the guild for evaluation. A panel of three experts assesses the knives and a pass mark of 75% must be achieved before membership is granted. One such member is André Thorburn who became a professional knife maker after losing his job in 1993. Since early childhood he wanted to make knives and took the opportunity when he met Roelf Swanepoel in 1989 who introduced him to the art of knife making. He sold his golf clubs and club cart and built his first belt grinder. He sold his first knife in 1990 to a friend. He became a member of the Knife Makers Guild of Southern Africa in 1995 and since has been Chairman of this prestigious organisation since 2007. He attends knife shows all around Europe and in the USA and has met and has been influenced by some of the best knife makers in the world. He believes that custom knives must be excellent in form and function and he tests and uses his own knives, giving some to friends and family members to use and abuse to see how much his hand made knives can really take. In 2001 he became a member of the German Knife Makers Guild and a member of the Italian Guild at the end of 2004, attending the knife show in Milan in November every year. He was accepted as member of the American Guild in 2007. Being a member of the four major Guilds in the world is a honour that he share with only a few other knife makers. He won several awards at local shows as well as overseas shows. July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 99
NITRO BLUED HIGH CARBON DAMASCUS FOLDER MADE BY ETTORé GIANFERRARI. WARTHOG TUSK HANDLES SCRIMSHAWED BY SHARON BURGER
FOLDER WITH TWIST DAMASTEEL BLADE, ENGRAVED BOLSTER AND IVORY H
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He attended engraving courses Emporia Kansas and Antwerpen and a further Design and layout course with the GRS team in 2007. He loves knives - and when passion and consulate skill meet, masterpieces are created. André will be joined by 50 other South African Guild members when they exhibit their work at the annual Knife makers’ Guild Show to be held at the Mosaïek Lifestyle Centre, Communion Exhibition Hall, Daniele Street off Davidson Street in Fairland, Johannesburg. The ancient craft of knifemaking is alive and well in South Africa. Come and see for yourself at the show on 11th and 12th September. You can contact Andre on Tel: 014 736 5748 or his wife Marietjie Thorburn the show organiser on Tel: 082 650 1441 for more details.
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click to email
For easy and hassle-free gun permits or go to www.vipgunpermits.com
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Your African hunting safari is a unique experience. Now you can document your hunt day by day and revisit those exciting times for years to come. 31 Full days of journaling space with vital information: ●● safari clothing ●● personal item checklists ●● health and first aid ●● mammal identification information with photographs, tracks, dung and SCI and Rowland Ward qualification minimums.
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Know how to administer CPR. Deal with dangerous animals up close. Identify and treat bites from snakes, spiders and scorpions. Know the right emergency numbers to dial in an emergency – it’s all there. A must-have item for every serious hunter. Sturdy PlastiCoil binding for durability and easy opening, 110 pages, 6.0 x 9.0 in. Full color covers and cream interior printed in black and white.
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African Bush Cuisine
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Impala Sosaties (Kebabs)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 kg leg of impala, deboned
1 and a half litres vegetable stock
32 dried apricots, soaked 2 onions, blanched and cut into chunks
Marinade 15 ml mustard powder 125 ml tomato sauce 15 ml soy sauce 30 ml peach chutney 6 cloves garlic, chopped salt and milled black pepper
salt & pepper to taste
Carefully cube impala flesh. Thread onto kebab skewers or sticks, alternately with apricots (4 to a skewer) and onion chunks.
Melt the margarine, add the onions and garlic and fry till soft
MARINADE: Mix ingredients until smooth and marinate sosaties for at least 1 day. Remove from marinade and charcoal grill for approximately 6 minutes, turning constantly. Butternut Soup 1kg butternut, peeled, seeded and cubed 30ml margarine 2 onions, finely chopped
curry powder to taste cream or natural yoghurt
Add the butternut and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer till tender Flavour with the curry powder, salt & pepper and allow to cool slightly Liquidize or mash until smooth, reheat and serve with a swirl of cream or yoghurt on top
Sweet Potato Mash 1kg Potatoes (Best varities for mash are red rose, July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 115
white rose, yukon gold, maris piper or King Edward) 100ml Cream 100g Butter Salt and pepper Pinch of nutmeg Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into even size pieces and place in a pot full of cold water. Add a generous amount of salt to the water.
Morogo Marogo or Imfimo is a collective name used for various leaves, some wild. They are usually cooked fresh from the garden otherwise home-dries leaves are used. Marogo has many variations with different names and cooking methods. 1 large bunch marogo or spinach 1 onion chopped
Bring the potatoes to the boil. When they come to the boil turn down so as they are simmering. Cook for 25 minutes or until they are soft. Check if they are cooked by inserting a small knife.
2 potatoes, peeled chopped and cooked
Remove the potatoes from the heat and staring ensuring that all the water has been strained off.
15ml (1t) margarine
Place the milk and cream into a small pot and heat up until it has combined.
Place the morogo, onion and potatoes and water in a medium sized pot, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until tender.
Add the butter and milk mixture to the potatoes and mash until smooth using a hand masher or special mashed potato machine. There should be no lumps left. Adjust the seasoning with the salt and pepper until you are happy with the taste.
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50ml water 1 green pepper, chopped (optional) salt and pepper to taste
Add chopped green pepper , margarine, salt and pepper and stir for 3 minutes until well combined and cooked. Serve as a side dish with you the Impala sosaties.
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118 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
True North A Nice Guy
And then, alas, there is the church. Christianity, as it currently exists, has done some terrible things to men. When all is said and done, I think most men in the church believe that God put them on the earth to be a good boy. The problem with men, we are told, is that they don’t know how to keep their promises, be spiritual leaders, talk to their wives, or raise their children. But, if they will try real hard they can reach the lofty summit of becoming . . . a nice guy. That’s what we hold up as models of Christian maturity: Really Nice Guys. We don’t smoke, drink, or swear; that’s what makes us men. Now let me ask my male readers: In all your boyhood dreams growing up, did you ever dream of becoming a Nice Guy? (Ladies, was the Prince of your dreams dashing . . . or merely nice?) Really now—do I overstate my case? Walk into most churches in America, have a look around, and ask yourself this question: What is a Christian man? Don’t listen to what is said, look at what you find there. There is no doubt about it. You’d have to admit a Christian man is . . . bored. At a recent church retreat I was talking with a guy in his fifties, listening really, about his own journey as a man. “I’ve pretty much tried for the last twenty years to be a good man as the church defines it.” Intrigued, I asked him to say what he thought that was. He paused for a long moment. “Dutiful,” he said. “And separated from his heart.” A perfect description, I thought. Sadly right on the mark.
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120 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2009
July 2009 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE | 121
Published on Jul 30, 2009
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