Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Visit To The Elephants At Elephant Whispers

 My youngest daughter, Jessica and I took  her visiting veterinary students to see the elephants at  Elephant Whispers in Hazyview yesterday.





And just like at my riding school,you first sign a indemnity form before you even really set foot on the property...


 



Walking through the little museum there I saw this picture of a man I have much respect for..Mr Richard Branson..mmm.... he was there visiting the elephants at some time. I would love to sit down and have a chat with Mr Branson one day!!! Would be VERY interesting I am sure!


 


There were about 38 Italian visitors with us there on the day!

I saw a lot of Roman noses...it's true!

 


The oldest elephant there having a quick wash down before the lecture began....so funny to see a 36 yo elephant bull weighing 6500 tons parked in that flimsy little crush!!

 


Amazing to see even the young ones patiently and obediently standing in their designated spots calmly waiting for the lecture to finish!


 


A close up of Thembo the older bull...he was hair raisingly beautiful!! 

A magnificent creature if ever I saw one!

I got real up close and personal with him a little later...one of life's moments for me for sure!!!!


 



Going through their paces for us on voice command only by the lecturer..these animals are superbly trained by professionals ...no force used here!






The lecturer told them elephants to back up to their enclosures and they obeyed immediately at great speed...I could now see why Hannibal used them to cross those mountains, huge big animals moving at great speed and so stealthily...


 



Check my pedicure...

I was fascinated by their feet...they use them to pick up vibrations through the earth...amazing...


 

 



The head groom giving us huge amounts of info and showing us how to correctly feed them horse cubes!!


 



My beautiful daughter Jessica feeding them elephants!

She knows  no fear...

 



My turn, I wanted to stay and chat to Miss Elephant all afternoon!!


I told her to come live with me.


I will feed her carrots all day long!!


..Until they told me how many carrots it will take to keep her happy!!....


 
 



They then had one of the elephants lie down so we could pat it and kiss it and cuddle it  and squeeze it....


 



Look at those feet   this was such a cute moment for me....

I told the lady next to me that Miss elephant had less callouses on her feet than me....She thought I was being funny...luckily she didn't take a good look at my wintry heels!


 
 



Amazed ...that's the only way I can describe what I was feeling there...


 



I gave Little Miss a kiss just before this pic was taken!!


 


They showed us how an elephant's skin absorbs water...couldn't believe my eyes!!


 



Themba coming up already saddled to have a chat with us!!

We were all overawed by his presence...


 



Put your hands on his legs so Themba can feel where you are and don't accidentally stomp on you or...even worse...stand on your toe!!!!

It looks straightforward to pose like this under an elephant bull...but it isn't....


You have to move out from under him to the side the grooms tell you and pretty lickety slick too...otherwise he feels you up with his trunk and one of his teeth might butt you on the head when he lowers his head!!!


 



There you go! My pic of a lifetime!!!

He kept on shifting his weight around on his legs and my nails dug into his skin to be sure he knows where I am!!
 



The elephants patiently lining up for their riders...


 


Some of the students from Belgium. Britain and Holland waiting to mount up!

The girl on the left showed me a pic of her as a tiny little girl eventing on her pure bred Welsh B gelding in England after hearing from Jess that her Mom breeds them!!!

Amazingly...the very same bloodlines as some of the mares I have!

 



..And on arriving back to our vehicle in the car park...it has been broken into and my handbag stole with my id books,wallet with bank cards,cell phone...the lot...the thing I hate most about Africa...The bastards didn't get any money.....and the phone was dying anyway...



The End


 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

An Update And Snippets Of Our Adventures From Our Side Of The World.

Hallo all,been too long since I last posted but here's a peep as to what we have been up to lately!





Two Welsh B part bred foals that I have just weaned...


 



Cules, Minki and I went visiting the 2000 year old Baobab tree near Rubbervale train station one Sunday morning and had loads of fun there..





The tree is so big 5 grown men can go inside quite easily...It is completely hollow inside!


 


We started revamping our kitchen using Matumi wood from a tree that had died about 60 years ago on our farm!


 



Graffiti scribbled on the inside of the Baobab tree .






Spraying on the resin/varnish mix on the kitchen tops...


 



The piece of wood that had to be cut out where the kitchen sink went in was made into a butchers block by Cules!


 



Thoroughbred broodmares being checked over and dipped...


 



Minki making it clear she will not be left behind when we started climbing up the old Baobab tree!


 



On a friend's Game Farm....This Hippo made his way back to this dam after being swept away by the floods earlier this year!


 



Feeding one of the Rhino bulls...


 



Minki and Cules VERY high up in the Baobab tree...I was so scared she would wriggle herself out of Cules' grip as she smelled the vervet monkeys close by!


 



All three of us up in the Baobab tree....these are the things we get up to on a Sunday morning!!

Ok,ok,I will admit my knees were shaking and my teeth were chattering from fear!

 


 


Feeding the Sable youngsters..


 



Cules starting the fire at my youngest daughter's house on their Game Farm..

Eldest sister is in Canada at the moment for another 5 months!

 

We had a lovely time last night, visiting our daughter Jessica at their lovely home in the African bush...

All the girls are Scottish Veterinary students doing their Practical with the vets on the Game Farm.

The one holding her head is my Jess!

 




Students collaring an elephant bull in the Selati...






Abandoned old station house at Rubbervale train station....


 



Another pic of the elephant bull being collared,Cules stole three tail hairs for me!! I am sure the bull doesn't miss them though...Elephants do have a very long memory!





 



A lovely old wood burning stove I chanced upon and bought seeing as it is winter here!

I have always wanted one and found this one just across the road from us at our next door neighbour.


The End

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Da Foals Have Started Arriving!!

Huge amounts of excitement in my life a.t.m. as the Welsh B  mares have started foaling! Already there is a slight nip in the air most mornings and I hope the foals will be safe from the dreaded African Horse Sickness. The 6 month old foal should be weaned from his mother soon,but I am holding back as his immunity system will go down from stress the moment I wean him and A.H.S is at its peak just now..





Rowan Yours Truly with her filly foal by Roly House Of Stars.

I named the filly;

 Stonecroft Your A Star. 


Her half brother (same Dam), just cleaned up in the Riding Pony Classes at The Horse Of The Year Show in Johannesburg this week!




Myself and too muddy Thoroughbred mares after being dipped for ticks.

Anabar Reef on the left and Dearly Me on the right.

Another thoroughbred mare is due to arrive on the farm soon,she is a well known, ex show mare named Charmed Circle,who has bred a few Show Winners herself.

Yes the chubby one is Moi...blame it on the Festive season!

 



Cules and his latest toy...he had to acquire it, as our first Hunting Safari is happening this coming weekend!

The name of our outfit??

You guessed it!

A little African Magic Hunting Safaris.

Look who is peeping through the small window in the back.

Hallo Minki,yes I did get your good side!

 



Minki and Bella having a good ole time....


 


Buttermilk buckskin filly foal,
Stonecroft Seren Nimbus, 
...having a stretch.

 



Six months old colt foal, Stonecroft Heartsease.

Due to be weaned soon..

The words "I want my Mommy" will have special meaning to him one of these days.



The End


 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trip To Kruger National Park.

Although I have grown up in the Kruger National Park and still live less than an hours' drive away from one of the main entrance gates, I have not been to the Park in many,many years. A while ago I decided to book Cules and myself for overnight stays in two different locations in the Park for a weekend. I read the SAN Parks website and decided to make things really interesting like staying over in a Hide at Sable Dam, which my Dad, Jan Rademeyer, ( passed away 23 years ago) also worked on. Then I planned that we would go south down to Lower Sabie and Skukuza area rather than north as it is just so dry and depressing up there for my liking. I love green riverine bush,rivers,sand beds etc...very much more exciting!! On further investigation though, I discovered that you have to book Sable hide loooong in advance..so much so, in fact,that when I phoned to make our booking,the clerk said it was fully booked out a year in advance!!!  She told me to hold the call while she got us a date for next year ( I thought I could just as well book it then for next year sometime while I was making the call) I heard the clerk speaking to someone in the background...lots of computer clicking noises...and just as I was getting a bit impatient...she picked up the phone again and told me,that lo and behold, there had just that minute been a cancellation for Sable hide!!! I formally informed her that since I now had done the impossible, I needed another impossible thing done for me in that I wanted a luxury chalet for two in Lower Sabie the night following our Sable Hide adventure and that said chalet should be on the perimeter fence,with river view of course as my husband would love to sit and watch the hienas at night....she replied " hmmmm,just hold on one second please madam...." and after some more frantic clicking computer noises and background voices...she came back online telling me they indeed had one such chalet available for that Saturday night!!  Now,I have to say that Sable Hide was described as "very basic", no electricity,no lights...NOT A SINGLE ONE, no flushing toilets (a definite no-no to me,but it apparently had very decent eco something or other toilets....! There is no one else for miles around,it is just you and the bush and the dark of night at Sable Hide..The hide can sleep up to 9 people and I booked it for just the two of us. No friends invited,no family invited..sometimes you need a break away like that and in our case it would have to be me who takes charge and organise s such a weekend.

So as the weeks became days and days hours before our great escape,I had to constantly remind the husband not to agree to go and visit this friend or do that for a customer or go help his boss at work with something that weekend..So we managed to leave home at 3 pm instead of 12 o clock as a client insisted on wanting his motorbike delivered before the weekend...and ooooofffff we went!! Stopped by some or other Dragon or something for Sushi for me for dinner and at Steers for Cules for ribs and chips for dinner. Got organised by the Phalaborwa Gate and into the Park we went...Sable Hide was not far in at all but one has to drive so slowly in the Park that it took a little while to get there...many elephant sightings later...that's when I remembered my Sedatif PC tablets still lying on the coffee table waiting for me to pick them up and lovingly put them in my purse....! As we arrived at the Hide we liked it very much except for the flimsy little poles around the hide and the toilets were a bit to far away from the Hide for my liking,although they were situated inside the "stockade" We went inside the Hide,made the beds up first before it got dark,settled in and whipped out the cocktails and food.Night started closing in very quickly and Cules built us a nice cosy fire...we sat there waiting to hear lion,hiena,elephant and the like...instead it was eerily quiet..I was quite confident that there wasn't any lion near us as there was a whole herd of impala settling in for the night right by the entrance to the Hide. I wondered if my Dad also sat on that particular spot watching the impala all those years ago when they built this dam. We turned in quite early and slept very well except for once when I heard a loud "thump" like something jumping onto the deck of the Hide.... Cules heard lion very far away at around 1 am and woke me up...we sat staring at the water trying to see any nightlife but didn't see or hear anything nearby. Next morning we were up super early and away on the great adventure at 4:30! We stopped by Letaba,Olifants and Satara rest camps as we made our way to Lower Sabie. It was a most awesome day as we saw all of the Big 5 except for leopard. We were also blessed with lovely cool weather but no rain so the animals were really out and about.



 Young Kudu bull.

 



Our cheese platter lunch.





This horn bill shared our lunch with us...he was so tame he took food from our hands..

 



The famous bridge at Skukuza...

 



Lovely statue at Skukuza.

 



White rhino

 



Bush buck ewe and lamb

 



Baboon youngsters grooming each other on the verge of the road..
 




Giant Kingfisher near Lower Sabie.

 



Seen any lion or leopard perhaps dude??

 




 Damage done by elephants...





This old elephant bull had a special air about him..I could sit and watch him for hours just sleeping there under the trees with two askaris watching over him...

 



Maybe this hippo scratched his bum and fell asleep while doing so...

 



On this stretch of road near the river we saw many,many elephant, a lot of little groups huddled under the shade of huge Jackalberry trees.





Game ranger vehicle coming past us quite fast..maybe on a call out for poachers???

 



Luvely mud bath...

 



Hippo having a leisurely day....

 



A bit sad to see this huge elephant skull right next to the road.

We also saw a rhino skull..it looked like a dinosaur skull...
 



Lone lioness and her cub.

 



I could sit for hours watching these baboons feeding on sugar bush blossoms..must taste delicious as they were absolutely gorging themselves.

 



A refreshing drink.

 



 Impala joining the feast.

 

Totally pre ocuppied by this delicacy...

 



This elephant just suddenly appeared out of now where but was apparently late for a pedicure appointment....

He said he would charge our car next time he sees us....

 



We were allowed to get out of our vehicles at this look out point in the middle of a bridge.

 



 Egyptian geese.



My Africa....





Hello, Mr tortoise.

We saw loads of them on the Olifants/Satara road!

 



Deceptive, but this was still a rather fresh kill lying right under the bridge...a couple of days old maybe..

 



View at Olifants Camp .




Placid bull elephant behaving himself....

 



Placid bull elephant FARTING in Cules' face!

Look closely at the folds of skin by his hmmm,......it flabbers when he farts!!

My husband was dumbstruck...we got a fright when the bull let loose...we were already a little bit nervous of him being so near our car and then he went and did that...I am sure he snickered as he walked into the bush...




Beautiful fat zebra..I have yet to see a thin one..

 



Fish Eagle and Marabou stork eyeing each other just outside Letaba Restcamp.

 



Another placid bull elephant..

 



A herd of buffalo....

 


This little calf made a mock charge at the white car...then pretended to be frightened and squeeled and ran off....which caused his mother to mock charge the car as well.....I was glad not to be in the white car!!
 



I told you we saw lots of elephant!

 



The entrance on one side of Sable Hide,it has another entrance right on the opposite end as well..


 



Our vehicle parked inside the "stockade" at Sable Hide.
Total darkness..
Just you and the African night..
Bliss...
 





The End