OK, lots to write as its been a while since I got internet access:
I left Tuli and spent a day in Johannesburg (Joburg) with a guy called Will who is also on his way to GC. We had a tour around Joburg to while away the day…and visited Soweto (SOuth WEstern TOwnship) which was pretty dire: imagine a corrugated shack worse than you see on most allotments in England, and you have someones home!…they all seemed pretty happy considering though
Next day and a one hour flight to Kimberley where we met Trudie….who – in the middle of a discussion on the merits of women drivers- managed to drive the car over a block of metal in the road, splitting the fuel tank !..luckily we hadnt much further to go to meet Jan who took us the 1 hour drive to Jan Kempdorp…and ‘home’for the next 6 weeks…except it aint often home as the GC team moves around the counrty a lot from farm to farm.
Basically the team catches and buys animals from farms for sale to other farms, generally
Catching is done by building a ‘funnel’of tarpaulin curtains into which the animals are herded/shepherded by Aijtie (”Aykie’) in his R22 chopper: as the animals pass through the ‘funnel’ (or Boma) curtains are pulled behind the animals driving them fuirther in adn stopping them from turning around; finally they are driven through a metal ramp into the back of one of the 3 trucks the team use.
Our job is to close the curtains behind the animals as the chopper drives them thru…depending n which curtain you are on, you can get right up close to the animals
on our first day we caught Waterbuck, Zebra and Blue Wildebeest on Ryans farm in the Kalahari – his is a beautiful farm with deer roaming in a pasture right outside our rooms !…and we had the BIGGEST steak ive EVER seen…it must have been 60mm thick and the size of a tea plate too….nice!
After that I managed to get a number of muscle injuries – apparently its age (thanks Lisa) – one of them was a groin strain I got as I climbed back out of a truck after grappling with Blesbok (putting plastic pipes over their horns to prevent injuries)
the next day was my first flight in the (or any) chopper..which was nice. We also spent soe of the day darting black wildebeest and Kudu bulls – great fun: basically a fella hangs out of the chopper and darts the animals, then we chase after the animal, in pick-up trucks (or ‘backies’ ) till it falls (literally) asleep, then you race to it, and carry it into the truck and race back to the main trucks where an antidote to the sedative is given…lots of fun careering around in the bakkies and actually touching/carrying the animals.
Also a lot of fun is catching Springbok: its done in the bomas still, but at the narrow end, nets are hung which the springbok spring (see wot I done there?) into, then we have to run in and grab the bok by their legs and keep them till they are injected with a sedative, then carry them onto the truck!…very exciting (I managed to get my hand impaled on one oif their horns after someone lost their grip n it and it made a dash for freedom – dont worry, I’ll live.
Weve also had snow!!!!!…yep in Africa!..its like REALLY cold in the mornings and evenings….thermal weather!…and there aint no heating in the house in JK either – only I could go to Africa and get cold!