My second trip to the South African Bushveld was once again a great adventure. It was VERY dry this year...and hot in the daytime. Many of the animals didn't want to move far from water sources. We still managed to see some critters, and I also got some good shots of the sable. At night in our bush campsite, it dropped down into the 40s....plenty chilly. Our trek into the camp ended up being close to 10k through rough bush and over a mountain to then dogleg into our objective. A much more challenging movement than last year...but everybody did great. Here are a bunch of photos from this most recent foray into the bush.
Our lodging at Rotavi...Ou Kraal (the "Old Corral" in Afrikaans). I like this place a lot.
Anton giving a short class on the gear he likes to carry in the bush during anti-poaching ops. Of course, there is an awful lot of HPG kit among it!
I gave a vehicle recovery class, which included a new improvised technique that Anton explained...called a Flip-Flop winch. Essentially, you use two long, sturdy poles with the recovery strap or rope fed between the two. One end goes to the stuck vehicle, and the other to a strong anchor. The poles are then "flip-flopped" back and forth to wind in slack and move the vehicle out of the stuck situation. It's an old bush technique. Simple, but it works. I want to try this out again someday.
Having our students practice setting different ground to air emergency signals.
One of our intrepid Toyota Land Cruiser Safari rigs. Pretty cool trucks.
Cape buffalo bull, and also one taking a bath
Big ol' croc in another waterhole not far from our bush campsite.
Warthogs at the same waterhole as the buffalo.
Eland on the move behind the warthogs.
Closer shot of the eland. They are huge beasts...about as big as our moose. Tasty biltong (the South African version of jerky) is often made from these and kudu.
The elusive sable. Quite an impressive rack!
At a nice overlook near a hunting campsite, just before sunset.
Sunset on the Bushveld.
Baboon track...hind foot I believe.
Hyena tracks and scat.
Early during our bush navigation trek into our campsite. Umlindi Go-Bags fully packed for the journey.
Me, my Unit Chief Mark, and Anton during the bush nav trek.
Upon arrival at our bush campsite, the first order of business was to make sure we got our tents up before we became too relaxed after the tough hike. My Six Moons Lunar Solo did great (the one with the chemlight hanging inside). Plus, gathering plenty of firewood to keep it stoked through the night along with a guard....a must when predators are about. Then....chow time and socilaizing.
Acacia thorns are ruthless. They can strike at any moment. This is why Crocs aren't the best footwear around camp in Africa. Mark's foot got it good. My forearm took a hit, as well.
I had a couple days back at the hotel in Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport before I returned to the USA. Had to reorganize and clean up some gear before packing it up for the return journey. I saw all manner of strange things while walking through the airport mall area for meals and a bit of gift shopping. Wonder what would happen if folks decided to walk around in a US airport with long sticks?