Monday 2 May – On top of and out in the untamed world

There are good days and there are days to really remember. This is one of them.

Breakfast in style and a few turns down the road and the call of the open spaces shouts it’s greeting!

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My venom is racing and I’m all go-go-go when what do you know, over the horizon and as if straight out of a timeless novel come Tredoux (11) and Christian (9) Willemse, cowboys to the core.

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And if you’re wondering what’s in a name, then eat your heart out: this is an authentic pair. The boys were heading home having taken their family’s beef herd out to pasture. Home schooled and kitted the way cowboys ought to be, even their steeds “Savannah” and “Chivas” boast fitting names.

“Can you speak Zulu?” they ask. But after my fumbling and learning that “Jeanette” is teaching them the local lingo at home, they figure galloping away is best. Eish!

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But I soon learn that I am not the only one left behind and after a little bit of neighing with the onlookers, I canter on down the dusty road as they watch me, probably wondering if my bright coat will keep its colour in these sandy surrounds.

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My ego is dented. But this place is teaming with views to beyond and further.

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And while I am still thinking over this whole “Zulu” thing, I wander straight into a steak-out.

There are soloists

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[Rather cosy] duets

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And the [shall we say, unruly] mob.

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And there is loads of evidence of their lack of concern for the environment. But I’m not about to get drawn into a meaty argument about greenhouse gases!

Further down the road, I come across donkey, ass-ing about in the distance.

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I shout. I call. I whistle. No response. I give up. It’s no wonder this particular specimen did not make the Shrek cast!

Trying to communicate with animals is not proving to be much fun or even remotely successful. It’s so bad, I even consider striking up dialogue with some rocks.

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But these fellas won’t budge for anything or anyone.

I head higher up the hills to get some clean air and freshen up my thoughts. Its peaceful here, 2005 metres above sea-level

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And I am not alone. Nor am I the only colourful one here.

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Did-not-get-his name is a tad grass-stick-jumpy and does not seem keen on idle chat or taking in the scenery, so I head down to the lowlands again in search of anything to hook up with.

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A few miles later and as if heading into nowhere-mans-land, I come across “Boing-Boing”. That’s not really his name, but Richard sure does walk with extra spring in his step.

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Richard “Boing-Boing” [sorry, I just had to say it one more time] tells me he is travelling from Memel to Mount Pelaan……………………on foot…………….over 25km! In between sharing some interesting tit-bits about the area, he hitches a lift with us down the Normandien pass where we even stop to greet a local visitor who has his motorcycle, fishing rods and bed on the back of his bakkie!

And a short while later, as if getting a serious chuckle out of it all, Siphamandla Sibaya is on hand at the Normadien filling station to confirm that it’s closed.

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Ain’t much point in hanging around a joint that’s all caged up and so it’s further around the loop to the little village at Koenigsberg. There the locals are all smiles and eager beavers for pics.

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I even get to meet someone with a smile and a wardrobe just like mine!

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I also get to make Google eye friends with little people my height

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Fezeka (7) and Asanda (3) Mathebula are as wide-eyed as can be at the sheer sight of me and its quite some time before they are so much as cosy with me. But not being no slouch myself, and also to fit in by doing something of use for them, I wander over to the water pump and put in some honest work for the day.

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A little while later, and still about work and good deeds, I use duct tape, some bubble gum and my know-how to soon have the broken down van back on track.

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But there has to be a limit to all this hard manual labour, so I catch my hissy breath – by the bale – before soaking up the warm glow of the end of the day

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And then the open road escape to the comforts of my abode at the Mahem Country Guest House for some serious dining!

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Today I did it all. The lows, the highs, the ups and the downs. And I showed my mettle as an avid explorer, a smile-maker and a do-gooder. Try and beat that!

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