Day 5 did not start well, and also did not end too well either…
On top of the flu, I also contracted a serious case of food poisoning! Serious! One lamb chop later, and my stomach colluded with Damien and sent me straight to hell. Eish! Not to get too much into the gory details, I woke up, realized my stomach woke up way before me, and so it started.
But, trooper that I am, I got some water, camera, and lots of ciggies (cause who does NOT smoke when seriously ill?) and went off on the first game drive. Luckily I met a farmer and his wife, from North West Province the previous day at the third Cheetah visit of the day, and ran into them again on my way out. So we drove in convoy. But I was basically bent double over my steering wheel, clutching for dear life, and hoping that Farmer North West was more awake and aware than I was. And as luck would have it, 20 minutes in, at the first watering hole, a Brown Hyena! Those that don’t know what they look like, it is a cross between a Desert Yeti, and a Lassie dog! Uncomfortably ugly, and incredibly shy. Basically like I was feeling at that point! Except for the shy bit. I took about 300 photos, but did throw up in between. I know. Gory. But reality bites!
After the Hyena sighting I bravely decided to continue on a bit, and about an hour later realized this was one of those not clearly thought through decisions! Turn around, and get to a Bathroom, PRONTO! (When I get ill, I do speak in foreign tongues. Pronto.). The road I was on, from Twee Rivieren Rest camp to Mata Mata rest camp was in a seriously bad shape. Luckily, Blue Bullet is an Automatic transmission, so I could cross my legs. Every car driving past making the mistake of wanting to ask me what I saw in back direction got a meek wave of the hand and a very pinched face, and an incredibly sour stare! As I am driving, with cold sweat running down my spine and trying very hard not to sneeze (with flu and dust, not a likely prospect), all I can think is, can this road please magically get better! You will not believe. The next thing I know, I am speeding past a road grader! Fixing the road. So, speed limit be damned, I put one foot in the corner and made haste for camp! And just in time.
Lesson one for our intrepid travelers. Please pack medicine for all occasions? As Twee Rivieren had Lewens Essens, and Red Lavender. One for wind, and the other for overeating! I did not overeat (well, ok, I did), I have food poisoning! I need some serious medicine. “Well,” Says the lady at the counter, “Ashkam has a clinic.”. Yes, this is if I want to drive 70km, crunched around my steering wheel!
So, next best thing to a doctor, phone Mom. At this point I am feeling pretty sorry for myself, and as Mom answers, I can barely contain the gulp, swallowing my tears. Ma, help! Eina. What my mom came up with was: “Eat Maizena. It will set in your stomach. Only drawback, you will be plugged up for at least two weeks afterwards.” Ok, Ma, no Maizena here. Right, eat mash. This, for some strange reason, I actually packed, although I never eat mash. But, says Mom, if that does not work, eat jelly, luke warm, so it can set in my stomach. Ok, now what about the cramps part. “Well,” Says Mom, “get something warm, and put it on your stomach.” Ja Ma, I did not pack the warm water bottle. Thanks. But, I can always roll one rock in from outside and put that on my stomach, seeing as it is about 45 degrees outside, and any rock would be oven temperature by now. Yes, says Mom, grand plan.
In the end, I basically slept most of the day. Ate mash, threw that up, and drank heavy pain pills, and threw that up and slept again. Luckily, emergency services Nomad came to the rescue, and moved my booking to another two nights Twee Rivieren. In my pain filled state, I walk to reception to check if I can just stay where I am, or can move. By this point word has spread, and all were asking how I was feeling, and their sisters cousin also came down with a stomach bug, she lives in Pofadder etc etc. Shame, very caring.
Bottom line, with mash and pain pills, and some caring spitting from Damien, I got over it.
Meanwhile, I made friends with my neighbours, also from the Helderberg area. They carried in some immune boosters, and pills and all kinds of stuff not relevant to flu, food poisoning or stomach bug, but still helpful. They went off on a game drive around 4pm, and about 40km out, they saw some lions. Then, they drove BACK, to come fetch me, to also see the Lions. Unfortunately, I was out for the count and did not even hear them! But that is above and beyond the call! See, making people and influencing friends. No, sorry, influencing meetings and friendly people. Ag, yes, Carnegie knows what I mean!
That excitement over, I have been blissfully writing about places, and most probably none of you know where the hell I am! Please don’t feel alone, I very rarely know either. But, to put me on the map, I am currently staying at Twee Rivieren Rest camp. This is the main rest camp for the Kgalagadi transfrontier park. And that is also a whole new story.
Years ago, the South African Parks Board, and the South African Government decided it would be a fantastic plan to merge (love that word, Meeeerge) a National Parks that connects to a National Park on the other side of the border. Country border. So, they started with the Kruger National park. Which became the Limpopo Transfrontier Park. That merged (love that word) Kruger and the counterpart on the Mozambique side. Funny little aside bit, after they lifted the fence in-between the two parks, they realized that the outer boundary of the Mozambique side did not actually have a working fence. They promptly put the middle fence up again, but I am sure a couple of old elephant geezers are currently lazing about with a sundowner on Bazaruto Island (you may find him on our Mozambique tour).
After that a few smaller ones were done, and then came the Kgalagadi. It was first known as the Kalahari Gemsbok National park. This merged (hehehehe) with the Kgalagadi Park on the Botswana side. So now one can actually travel from the SA side, through to Botswana. Well, not really. Only if you have a 4×4 and only if you stay in the park for two days. Not sure why. Maybe they think, if you are going to smuggle cocaine through the park, sitting in 45 degrees for two days, surrounded by Suricates, would make any person snort up the stock, and thus keep Botswana clean of the scourge of Cocaine? Or, perhaps they want to make a little money first before letting you loose on poor Botswana (not so poor really, they have nice diamonds). But, that is the back story of where I am now.
The Kgalagadi has three main rest camps, Twee Rivieren, Mata Mata (close to the Namibian side) and Nossop, close to nothing. I am sitting in chalet number 5, in Twee Rivieren. Please, no stalking!
Now I am hearing you all moan (well, the two people reading this at least, of which one is family, so really, you, out there moaning), why am I not staying only two days, like it says in the itinerary? Because I can! But, please don’t feel cheated out of 4 days in this wonderful, semi arid (hene, but I am throwing those English words now) park. Any visit is like an introduction, you can always come back again!
Enough explaining, if you are still not sure where I am, Google it!
Back to Damien. You know, the hissing, barking gecko in the rafters? Not a gecko, but, wait for it, a freaking bat! And either Damien is the only bat this side of the equator without the ability to echo locate (Google it), or he has a serious case of Narcissism. Damien just got loose, and starting flying wildly through my bedroom! I kid you not, he flew into the mirror, and with possible concussion, now flew into me! This went on for a while, and every time I think he has things under control, Wham, into the mirror again! (this does sound freakishly like George Michael, oh no, his problem was with the restroom, sorry, my mistake). I now called the Parks Board people. No, not a ranger with a 345 elephant hunting gun, the normal lady at reception. Now I though the only way to catch a bat is with a tennis racquet, and although I normally carry one in my handbag, I just clean forgot to pack it this time, it seems there is another way. I always thought there was something just plain wrong with toilet spray! Well, proof! Bats flee for their lives when sprayed with toilet spray! Handy hint this, write it down! So, tata Damien!
And Tata me. I am pooped. Excuse the pun.
Lessons learnt today: Always carry a Tennis racquet.
And toilet spray. The nastier the aroma, the better.
Always carry stomach medicine. And flu medicine. Next to the toilet spray.
Brown Hyenas are lonely too. Not just R.E.M.
Botswana has diamonds.
And I am in the Northern Cape, in the top little bit, and not with the Bazaruto drinking elephants.
Epic I tell you!