“HUNTIN’, SHOOTIN’ AND FISHIN’”
BY MATTHEW MORKEL, HARRY TAYLOR AND KYLE MACDONALD
The week began with unspeakable torture and pain – we had to travel in the Overlander. This horrific instrument of agony is almost as uncomfortable as having your testicles removed with a pair of pliers, as it pulverizes you with its complete lack of suspension. Half the group suffered to Mr. Mpofu’s farm, while the other half journeyed to Cawston ranch, a hunting reservation. After much groaning and bathing ourselves in ice to alleviate the pain, our adventures began. (I think you’d better put some flesh on those bony behinds before the Malawi trip –ed)
The tasks performed at the farm ranged from brick-making to tractor driving, maize picking to filling a seven-ton truck with river sand (which was somewhat exhausting). Our main task however, was the branding and dehorning of cattle. Although some of us felt incredibly fragile due to overindulging the previous night, the cattle appeared to be suffering somewhat more than we were. Although it appears cruel, the cutting and burning of the malleable horns of the young calves is vital to ensure no goring occurs when they have fully developed. The brick-making was also an entertaining experience – Geyser managed to perfect the art of collapsing every single brick that he made.
Fishing in Mr. Mpofu’s vast pond, stocked to the brim with Tilapia, the fishermen in the group managed to catch approximately 150 fish during our stay unfortunately only about 3 of which were big enough to eat. After going to the effort of catching, scaling and gutting the fish, everyone had lost the enthusiasm to cook them. We also went francolin and spring hare hunting, which was ‘lekker’. We finished with a festive evening, in which Ross had a ‘Jesus moment’ and Angus had an altercation with a boat.
We then swapped places, our group travelled to Cawston, while the other group then went to Mr. Mpofu’s farm. We then proceeded to hunt impala, tracking and stalking up to them, releasing the shot, and then posing manfully next to our kill. Fortunately, there was an 80% success rate with shots finding their targets. Sadly, 5% of this was accidental, as Morkel nobly attempted to save the life of a bold buck (whose head rose above the long grass in majesty) by attempting to miss. Embarrassingly, due to his questionable marksmanship skills, he managed to deliver a brutal headshot, stopping it dead in its tracks. So much for good intentions.
In exchange for the animals hunted, we performed a variety of tasks on the ranch, ranging from fixing roads to collecting firewood, cleaning hides and repairing their anti-tick systems, all in all hard but satisfying work.
We finished our week by returning to our base in Esigodini, in order to prepare for our next big adventure: Victoria Falls.