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Anja’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 18 Oct 2005

Location: Shamwari/Alicedale, South Africa

MapHad an early start today. Had to leave for the reserve at 7.15am as Terry had a meeting to go to & we were off to walk the Ground Hornbills... They're very sweet & just hop along pecking at the ground looking for food! Nightmare to get them back into their cage though! We then met up with Anthony & the APU unit again to finish what we started last week; i.e. shooting big guns! Last week was the rifle - a Ruger mini 14 .223 calibre (this info is for Ollies benefit!) & today was the pump-action shotgun using 7 guage ammo. I felt like I was in a hollywood blockbuster! Anja does Die Hard! It's a cool weapon with a big kick - mind those dislocated shoulders - but I'm obviously destined for bigger things as I was the best shot out of the group (including the boys)!
We went hunting for hippo down at the river but they were in hiding so we picniked on the ridge at look-out point (you just never know whats round the next corner...) Looking down over the ridge we spotted a group of white rhino so went down for a closer look. Luckily they were quite relaxed as you sure don't want to be on the receiving end of one... Anthony & one of the APU guys got charged by a black rhino this morning & didn;t have time to fire their weapons (they only do warning shots into the ground). They started to run (which is pretty much all you can do if there isn't a suitable tree to climb) but both got knocked off their feet. Lucky for them the rhino just kept on going...
We then went on a lion hunt as the guys here are preparing to dart one of them next week to fit a radio collar. In true ranger style we found the Northern Pride & radioed in. Job done!
It's been really really hot today & muggy as there's a storm approaching. We sat up on the ridge for a while watching the rain come across the mountains but it didn't come to much - just a few drops. We're in a drought here as it hasn't properly rained for 3 years & there's serious problems with the water holes drying up. A number of wildebeest have been found dead through dehydration as they're too stupid to find water! Came across some old barbed wire fencing which we picked up to dispose of safely - once again I found myself sat on what I can only pretend was a sharp sprung bed!!!
Lucky again on ride home as spotted the Wild Dogs again but didn't stop as the cheetah & 2 cubs were in open ground so we went to spend some time with them.
As a surprise Terry took us back via Eland Dam & lo & behold there were 2 hippos. We've finally seen them! So where on earth are the buffalo???