+27 (0)82 4000 470 rob@robcaskie.com

The Cape winter nights are long, so we are delighted the Winter Solstice indicates the days are lengthening again. Rains this year over much of the country have been fantastic. The Karoo probably looking better than she has done in 50 years, and the Western Cape is very wet indeed, many parts flooded.
The Abolition of Slavery in 1834 was the final straw which precipitated many moving away from the Cape and British rule, in what is known as the Great Trek. A remarkable chapter in our collective history. Nearly 200 years later scores are moving back to the Cape, in a reversal of the Great Trek. Friends often comment as to what this movement should be called?

Back to the rain – we recently drove through the Karoo. The gravel road between Laingsburg and Ladismith had been graded, and we slipped our way through Seweweekspoort. Stunning scenery. We drove over the Swartberg Pass, through washaways and flooded streams in the dark, only to find a boom with Pass Closed sign at the tar on the Prince Albert side. Karen has always maintained that my time management requires attention. I felt exonerated by having to move storage rooms that morning, and collect a Greenland visa in the CBD prior to departure.

Talks in Graaff-Reinet, Karoo Ridge Conservancy and Knysna all went extremely well, thankfully. Knysna’s Clicky Bitches volun-told me I was joining them for a 20-minute cold water submersion in the lagoon. Thankfully my courage never failed me, and it was infinitely more enjoyable than initially feared. The Prince Alfred Pass en route to Plettenberg Bay too is a beautiful drive.

Warren Buffet famously said “When the tide goes out, you see who is swimming naked”. This applies to so many aspects of Life, and the recent rains accompanied by high winds found many Cape roofs wanting in terms of integrity. So many folks have found their homes leaking in many places. Flat and shallow-pitch roofs most conspicuously.

Wildlife has always interested me. Areas like Schoombee and Graaff-Reinet experiencing increased Wild Pig numbers in recent times. A friend at Graaff-Reinet has a Jack Russell and Ridgeback who work in tandem to bay pigs, dangerous work for a dog. The Mountain Zebra National Park established initially by farmers to save the Mountain Zebras, whose hides were used as mealie bags called “streepsake” (striped bags). Rather like Paul Kruger establishing the early Sabi Wildtuin to conserve wildlife being decimated by the transport riders supplying the goldfields.
Last week, one of our friends who has never been to the Kruger area before, saw a Pangolin on their transfer from Hoedspruit to the lodge in Thornybush! They have no idea how fortunate they are.

Next week I fly to Norway to embark on an expedition cruise in search of the Polar Bear. Hopefully I will see the Fram and Gjoa (Amundsen’s ships) in person for the very first time. The cruise includes Svalbad, Greenland and Iceland.
Polar Bears, like Pangolins are never guaranteed…

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