Monday, August 25, 2008

More Enkosini

19th - 21st Aug

I am well into week 3 at Enkosini now. I've still haven't clipped my hair so my head is starting to look like a pin cushion. Some good news since my last post. Firstly I have found my lost tent pole which means I can use my tent at Kruger park (It would have looked slightly stupid having a tent with one end lying on the ground except for the outline of my legs!) Secondly I got my tax refund! They sent the cheque here so I have to somehow post it back to Ireland and have someone lodge it for me. In the mean time I have bought a new camera and I am thinking of using some of my refund money to go to another game reserve for 2 weeks before heading to oz.

Ranger Station:

Ranger Station

I'll tell you more about Enkosini starting with our ranger station - home for the last week and the next 2 weeks.

The first thing you notice on the way into the station is a bottle hung on a tree. This is our security system. Its called a "muti" and consists of a snake skin and finger nails (I didn't ask whose!) which are supposedly meant to keep anyone from trespassing on the property. It works too!


The actual station consists of a main wooden building for lounging around in and cooking/eating. Everything electrical is powered by a battery connected to a solar panel. This provides more than enough power for light and charging mobiles/laptops/cameras. The other electical device is the two-way radio used for communicating with the main house or rangers when they are out on their quads.

This is fine for some of the time but only one frequency works up in the mountain and this frequency also happens to be used by the local bread delivery company who use their radios for everything from singing to chatting up the despatch girl.

So a typical radio conversation might go like:

Mitch (enkosini boss): Come in Chas.
Chas: Chas here
Mitch: There's a fire at the east fence get up there now!
Bread Delivery man 1 (singing) Halleluyah, Halleluyah, bongo bongo dooby doo,
Chas: On my way
Mitch: Get a move on!
Bread delivery man 2 (Laughing) He, He, He, aloo de do do coca cola (or something like that - its all in swati language1)
Chas: f£$king bread men!

As well as the main building there is also 4 sleeping cabins with bunk beds and corrugated iron roofs (guarenteed to keep the huts cold in winter and roasting in summer)

Lastly there is the outside shower and toilet. And when I say outside I mean outside. There is no roof and only a wall of branches to hide behind. I have been told that there is a very large spider that hangs around the toilet. A previous volunteer had an encounter with said spider and refused to go to the toilet again for 3 days.

Oh one other thing - the ranger station is not the cleanest - in fact when I decided to do some floor sweeping I was regarded as a freak - I mean me clean!

The Main House:
On the 19th Aug we finally got to visit the main house - all except Claudia, our new volunteer from Sweden. At the moment no females are allowed up at the main house. Its not sexist but is for the female volunteers own protection. This is because of the 3 vervet monkeys that live in the house, Pickles, Guyas (wee shit!) and Milo. Any female that comes to the house is regarded as a threat to the alpha female status and they attack them. Males only get nips and bites - especially from Guyas if he is looking to nick some food.

The setting of the house is fantastic. It is situated beside a small river which cascades down a ravine as a series of small waterfalls. There are even 1000 year old bushman painting near it. At the top of the ravine are partly built thatched chalets which will eventually be used for volunteers and rangers.

Enkosini falls (20th Aug)
An even better set of falls than at the main house is Enkosini falls which are about an hours (forced!) hike from the ranger station. The falls consist of 3 spectacular drops one after another. Its possible to climb down and go swimming in pools at the bottom. (except the water is freezing). Of course I managed to slip on wet rocks and fall on my arse in mud. Oh how everyone else laughed!

Enkosini falls

List Updates:

Due to time I will just update my lists as I go along rather then place them in the appropriate posts - I can always update them later:

Beers I hve drunk:

Castle Milk Stout: 6%!
Found my beer for South Africa! Its stout and its strong. I was going to say that I will drink this stuff from now on. That was before I went walking all afternoon the next day. I forgot what happens after stout drinking nights.

Things I have lost/Broke

Mobile phone:
Yes its gone! Somewhere between Lydenburg and Enkosini I have misplaced my mobile. So if you get a call from someone with a funny accent saying they need money quick its not me! I was about to get another phone anyway as the battery was buggerred so I am not that concerned plus I still have my original ROI number which I can use. The bleeding thing still had £20 credit on it - that's what is really annoying!

Animals I have seen:

Helmuted quinea fowl: Main house 19th Aug
These big partridge like birds were all around the main house.

Woodland Kingfisher: 19th Aug
At main house

Kudo: Near main house 19th Aug
A group of 4 females in the ravine at the main house.

Tawney Eagle: 21st Aug
Seen in the sky while taking down barbed wire fences.

Ring neck dove: 21st Aug
At ranger station.

Puff adder: On mountain road 21st Aug
We were on our way back from fence removal when we seen this puff adder on the road. Adam backed up his quad to get a better view which was ok except that I was on the back at the time and so was the closest to the snake (these things are killers!)

As nobody seens to speak Norn Iron anywhere in the world I sometimes have communication issues with the locals I will keep account of the more stupid ones:

In a Pharmacy in Lydenberg:
Shop assistant: Can I help you sir:
Me: I am looking for soap
Shop assistant: Soup?!
Me: No SOAP! S, O, A, P!

In a local Fried Chicken Take away:
Me: Can I have a 2 piece meal please:
Assistant: What drink?
What I said: Can I have a Sprite please.
What the assistant obviouly thought I said:
Can a have 3 bread rolls with that (which is what I ended up with)

Glossary update:

Minging: pronounced ming-ing (adj) Scottish/Irish: not very nice - esp in taste/smell. eg The toilet is minging Raymond what did you do in there. (Chas uses this term a lot being Scotish)

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