Sunday, March 26, 2006

Nature walk, too hot and satellites.

1. Our guide was called Skokie -- Afrikaans for ‘Fright’. He had a fine set of dreads under his woolly hat. He told us about the time he was bitten by a scorpion and by a snake. He showed us bushman rock art and bushes that cure coughs and dandruff. We saw where a leopard had killed a porcupine and a dassie toilet. I’ve often seen the white stains on cliffs where their wee runs down, but he made us climb up and look inside to see a 4ft high mass of a substance like hard black tar. ‘Dassie period,’ he explained. ‘My grandfather tell me that it is urine, but at school me and some other boys found out more. Dassie is the only animal I know that have period like a woman.’ He said that his people chip bits off the mass and use it to make a tea (which looks like Coke and smells bad) for treating kidney problems.

2. The heat on the mountain was incredible and by 1pm we’d all had enough. The relief of getting back to the lodge was marvellous. We sat in the lounge gulping down iced roibos and enjoying not feeling the sun beating down on our heads.

3. Lying on the lawn watching a huge satellite go overhead. We’ve seen them as little tiny dots of light moving among the stars. This one appeared well before the stars came out. It looked like a planet and arced slowly across the sky.
Citrusdal to Stellenbosh, South Africa