Nov 1973 Nossob.The only people in Nossob were Lanette and myself together with staff, being Elias and Doempie le Riche with their little son Klein Joep, as well as some cleaning staff and SAN tracker FRANS his wife and little son PIETIE as well as Gus Mills . Elias is a remarkable person friendly , knowledgeable,and very jovial, petite Doempie handled the tourism side ,Klein Joep spent his day on his bicycle riding around in camp and amusing us.Gus was doing Brown Hyena research. Pietie herded the camels and Frans did everything else.A new brand of beer namely "KRONENBRAU" just came on the market and I got quite a supply as a gift ,which we took with to quench the thirst.We found the Kwang cubs and spent many hours with them sharing the KGP wonderland.The second day at Nossob ,we purchased our bundle of wood (10c for a wheelbarrow full), Frans brought us the wood and I made the fire.I always enjoy the company of the locals as there is always a lot to learn from them and of them.I was braaiing and Frans pitched up and we started chatting, he told me quite a lot of his experiences out in the bush together with Prof. Fritz Eloff the famed zoologist from TUKS who was mainly doing research on the Kalahari Lions. There were quite a lot of laughs . I asked him about his family and he told me he had a wife and one son PIETIE , he told me that PIETIE herded the camels , now PIETIE was still small, he could barely look over a table.His job was to take the camels out to the veld in the mornings , look after them during the day and return them to camp in the late afternoon.I asked whether Pietie knows about the Lions and other predators . The reply was yes , but he is not afraid of them. (ja , hy weet van hulle maar hy bang hulle nie).I asked whether Pietie has ever been bothered by the Lions , yes quite often.Now what does Pietie do when this happens. He throws sand and sticks at them and he shouts at them and then they give way.I was rather sceptical about this story but took it for what it was worth.I asked Frans whether he drinks beer his eyes lit up and said yes.I then told him to go to our unit and ask my wife to give him a six pack of KRONENBRAU which he obligingly did,on his return I told him not to have all the beers that evening. He promised not to because Elias would kill him if he got drunk.I shared some of the over catered meat with Frans and he left. We had our meal and off to bed.The following morning off to the cubs.On our return to camp we ran into Elias and we started chatting, eventually we started talking about Frans and eventually about Pietie.I told him about what Frans said about Pietie herding the camels, and not being afraid of Lions.Elias confirmed this , I asked how is this possible.Elias' reply was Pietie does not know that he is supposed to be afraid of Lions.I then asked but what does he do when he comes across Lions , The reply : he throws sand and stick at them and he yells and shouts at them , but the language ..................... too terrible. Lanette and myself decided we were not braaiing that evening. We went to the cubs again late afternoon. Upon our return we noticed that there was a big fire in the camp ,and we were met by Frans with a big smile on his face telling me that the fire is ready........................ We then decided to not disappoint Frans and had another braai, again with a lot of chatting and of course Frans got another reward.Wonderful memories like this make the Kgalagadi TF PARK such a special place to me and my family.Because they are so precious to us ,it is why I love sharing them with whoever cares to read them or listen ,they may fade away one day but hopefully that will be in the very far future.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
Convenor of the AIKONA Group.
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 142 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.