Thursday, July 30, 2009

August 2009 - An African Adventure

Photos of Botswana Trip

Dear friends

A Great African Adventure

I’ve just returned from a great adventure in Botswana and the Caprivi. Dawn’s dad, Glen, and I spent twelve days travelling through the length, breadth and depth of Botswana by 4x4. We were part of a group of 19 people in 9 vehicles all set up for the challenges of the bush, sand and mud. Our first destination was Lekhubu Island in the middle of the Kgalagadi Salt Pans with the main interest being a collection of Baobab trees. It took two days to get there, our second day taking nine hours to cover just under 50km’s due to lots of water and large amounts of mud: I learnt a great deal about vehicle recovery (including help winch a stranded twelve tonne Overlander vehicle out of thick mud), and our winches and snatch-ropes were put to extreme test. Thereafter the biggest challenge was soft sand: Botswana is in the main a big bowl of sand up to a kilometre deep in places!

We then headed through Maun to Lake Ngami, which was so full we couldn’t see it as water was right up into the bush, preventing us finding any good view points. We headed up the western side of the Delta, visiting Gcwihaba Caves (similar to Sterkfontein), and spending a few days at Drotsky’s Cabins on the Panhandle. This included some time on the water, and a moment of great excitement as my Father-in-Law managed to get a sighting of African Skimmers for the first time in twenty-five years (he’s a great “Birder”): he was heard to utter more than one uncharacteristic “Halleluia” in a moment of grand excitement!

Next stop was the Caprivi, where the major moments were being charged by an elephant, and meeting up with Kingsley Holgate and his entourage in Katima Mulilo. A poignant moment was driving through the old Buffalo Camp (32 Battalion), now peacefully “peopled” with Kudu. The cement foundations, collapsed prefabs and crumbling ablution blocks paid peaceful testimony to the violence of the past.

We headed back into Botswana through Chobe and spent an uncomfortable night in Kasane. We spent the next two days travelling an “Eco Route” down the Botswana/Zimbabwe Border, and a wonderful night at a waterhole in the middle of nowhere, listening to the sounds of elephant in the bush around us. Game was scarce as it was hunting season, and our human presence unsettled them. We found lion spoor, and felt the adrenaline-rush of being in the African Bush. All too soon it was time to set the GPS for home as we headed through Francistown for the Border at Martin’s Drift.

Wine Tasting

A very big thank you to Isobel Holden for organising last Saturday afternoon’s Wine Tasting. Katherine Simms presented us with some unusual wines from the Joostenberg Winery, increasing both our knowledge of different wine cultivars and the added value different cultivars bring to different foods. The snacks went down well, and a good afternoon was enjoyed by those who attended.

The only “sourness” experienced was that nearly half of those who bought tickets didn’t attend, resulting in Katherine addressing at least three empty tables, and valuable funds wasted on hiring glasses and preparing snacks that went uneaten, resulting in only R1,000 being raised towards the Equestria Building Fund. In South African society generally is seems increasingly acceptable to indicate attendance – either through a positive reply to an invitation or the purchase of a ticket – and then to not attend for whatever reason. This is certainly also most evident at Weddings. I suspect this has to do with the speed at which we live our lives, but also that we double-date and fail to keep a responsible diary. As Christians we need to set a better example in this regard, please!

With Church fundraising events it will be helpful in future if, when we know that we cannot attend but would like to contribute, that instead of purchasing a ticket we give a donation towards the function.

The Rector’s Birthday Bash

Thank you so much to everyone who attended our “Bring & Braai” on Sunday 5 July in the Church gardens. Dawn and my July Birthdays are really just an excuse for a mid-winter Parish get-together for fellowship and a relaxed time. However, thank you for all the good wishes, and the small gifts we received: in most cases the gifts have been much enjoyed, being edible and drinkable! We received a wonderful “African Mirror” from the Catering committee that now has pride of place on our lounge wall; however, it is strangely silent when I ask it if I am the most beautiful of them all!