1 September 2010
Barely able to sleep I am up at the crack of dawn. The Sunrise was so beautiful and while everyone was asleep I had one of those “sigh” moments where you wish you could just let time stand still.
What more could you ask for? I make coffee for all of us and spend a last hour with my girls before we head up to reception and wait to depart on the hike. Butterflies are racing in my tummy. Bags in the trailer and ready to go. This is when we meet our “first” Rifle, Piet. He is the real deal. No doubt with over 40 Olifants trails behind him - this is the guy you want! We head toward Phalaborwa, pick up Andre(Rifle number 2) and hit the dirt road to the great unknown. Together these 2 will be looking after our gang! It is a 30 min drive to our drop off point. I feel a bit like a soldier in Vietnam. Dropped off and now given all the advise and rules to survive in the Kruger.
Rule one: Listen to “Buck” as we fondly call Piet by the end of the journey. Anyone who has children and has watched ICE AGE 3 Will appreciate the name. Buck is the leader and he makes the rules!
Rule two: If you feel like you want to run - DON’T EVER RUN!
Rule three: no talking while walking, the guides need full concentration and noises form a large part of their ability to read what is happening.
Rule four: “Buck” hates toilet paper. To many hikes where he has had to clear up others paper! Ladies “drip-dry” or light the tissue (this option is time consuming and never used for pee pees!)
Rule five: Ogre is your best friend : if you need to go : Dig first!! Also Ogre must be carried by the group in rotation but my darling hubby offered to carry this +/- 2 kg hunk of metal the whole way! He is my hero.
The “Mother-Theresa” medical bag also gets rotated in the group but luckily for Tracey and I (we were the only gals on the trip) the men carried that too. So the 6 PLUS 2 guides begin our walk along the Olifants river. Ok at this stage I should introduce the group:
Piet aka BUCK rifle 1
Andre Rifle 2 - The first thing you notice about Andre is he only where’s “Rocky” sandals. We breed “MANNE” here in SA
3 and 4) Martin and Tracey
Close friends who are proving to be our “African Explorer” companions. We always have a brilliant time together and Tracey and I have known each other for over 20 years now, so we have no secrets and plenty of laughs in the memory banks.
5)Johan : Tracey and Martin’s Son and very near to our hearts.
6)Marius: Best friend of Johan and part of DIE MANNE that I spoke of earlier. Yip these 4 guys do most things together.
7) Ray: my better half. Together we have done 10 trips to Kruger (starting back when we were at school and dating!)
We love being out in the bush and Kruger is especially close to our hearts. It is the one place we can always find each other and now that we have the girls we are determined to make sure they come as much as possible to pass on the legacy.
Me: Nicole aka Pink Lady.
This is the most ironic nickname you could find. I have always been a tomboy and pink was never my colour but on this trip I realized that my very girly girls have turned me!! Without realizing it I had bought just about every accessory in PINK!!! but that is not the only reason I got this nick name. On our first morning I was so worried about the guys seeing me get dressed that I carefully chose a bush to get changed behind with Tracey standing guard.Only problem is that my back was to the guides!!!!
They had a view of note and this is when Piet branded me PINK LADY because even my panties were pink!!!!
Sorry about the detour of introducing everyone but I find that when I read TR’s I like to put faces to the names. This was our group and we had the most incredible time together.