Kalahari Spring time is here

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So with summer just around the corner, we have already started getting into full swing. With the days getting longer and the nights shorter. Sun shine  goes a long way in the Green kalahari.

 

So with summer just around the corner, we have already started getting into full swing. With the days getting longer and the nights shorter. Sun shine  goes a long way in the Green kalahari.

Spring time really does bring a renewed freshness and vigour to one’s mood and senses. Suddenly people are popping up out of no where looking to have a quick bite to eat, drink on the deck or book a birthday event celebration. And of course fun river adventures.

Crystal clear  and slightly low at present  makes fishing such fun. For the fly fishermen a bit more of a challenge as you need to stalk your fish and have more patience as they see you coming.

Birthdays in the hotter months really do add a lot more spice for outdoor celebrations. With Delicious dinners, lunches or even special breakfasts on offer you can spoil yourself and guests with a fantastic  outing. And ofcourse we are running a great spring special for couples and families. Where you can enjoy  dinner bed and breakfast as well as 2 activities for a fantastic rate with great savings.

We also had a wonderfully energetic group here over the weekend of the 2nd Sepetmber  being a group from Namibia swimming was not a top priority but boy did they enjoy the nature paddle. this is a perfect introduction for non swimmers, kids and people looking to experience something special without the stress of large rapids and more.

This week coming marks the annual South African San parks open week for South African Nationals with free entrance to all parks across the country. Guests visiting us can look forward to an amazing week with the Augrabies Falls San park offering and as an added bonus  on Tuesday the 13th its the Cultural dance festival  which is open to the public as well.

Apart from our great spring accommodation special on the go, we will be hosting an event in October  before the schools re open , this is a project for our 6 Tourism interns that are with us for the next 6 weeks. This is an Open Africa initiative which boasts good prospects and lots of opportunity for our Tourism new comers. They have been with me for a week now and it would seem we are off to a good start. Training, teaching and imparting on passion and knowledge for our fantastic industry is a privilege and I really hope that I have more than 1 student who will choose Adventure hospitality as a career coming out of their time with us.

Ill be writing an update on the final dates and will post an event on our Face book page, Twitter and Instagram. So for all our local supporters watch this space for a great Family Day out.

Orange River Large Mouth Fly Fishing Frenzy

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Winter is the time for large Mouth Yellows on fly. Now these little or should I say large Buggers are not so easy to catch, it takes time  and a lot of experience, patience being one of them. That is why it is revered as the Holy grail of  South African fresh water  fly fishing, but if you have the passion and love of all things fish then this is a definite must try.

Winter is the time for large Mouth Yellows on fly. Now these little or should I say large Buggers are not so easy to catch, it takes time  and a lot of experience, patience being one of them. That is why it is revered as the Holy grail of  South African fresh water  fly fishing, but if you have the passion and love of all things fish then this is a definite must try.

One is actually never sure who is stalking who, You may think that a fish is not aware of your goings on above the water line, But boy are they ever and during Winter when the water is super clear makes this hunt and stalk even more interesting as they are watching your every cast. So how do you get these tricky guys to literally take the bait?

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Its important to note that these fish are only found in the Vaal and Orange River system and Their feeding location and movements are very specific,

Time  and once again Patience is required to learn about this, and if you are like me a person who loves to cast a line but has limited  knowledge on why or when the fish strikes and how to put my own flies on, who gets so excited at the thought of catching something so large and graceful, I simply want the instant gratification.

Well unfortunately  the big boys won’t respond to someone like me Not just yet anyway.  I need to practice a lot more, especially on my Casting as this predator responds to the element of surprise and Ambush. So long far casts are required, placement of the fly on water and how real it appears will result in a take or the fish blowing you a raspberry from below.  When you only have limited time available like a 4 day fishing trip, you want to concentrate on pulling in the Big one and not studying its feeding habits. Saying that thou, the more you fish the more you learn about their habitat and cycles. And once you catch one, the puzzle pieces start to fall into place. This is true for Danie who has spent most of his adult life living, working and fishing on the Vaal and Orange River he has caught some spectacular small mouth, natal scaly and mud fish but never had the privilege of catching a large mouth any bigger than 500grams. It took the fantastically knowledgeable  Rohan  Koeghlenberg to land him an Exquisite 9 pound Largie last month, that is still going down in the books and proving the envy of many a guide and angler. The guys are vibrating to get up here to us on the Orange in attempt to land one like that.  Now mostly only experienced anglers who know how to catch large mouth are successful with a guide. For the rest of us there are casting clinics.

These Casting clinics and Guided trip are offered  not only  for the novice angler or general fisherman looking to hone in on small and large mouth yellow fishing. But to gain new knowledge and skills.  By joining in on one of these 3 day clinics. not only do you learn new skill and the amazing freedom fishing gives one. But you also learn:

  • The fish’s habitats,
  • Feeding
  •  Breeding
  • Prey  & movements.
  • Familiarization of rods and reels,
  • Casting techniques
  • The take
  • The strike and retrieving of the fish.

And of course fishing time!

The Courses are led by the very knowledgeable, well renowned Rohan Koeghlenberg  Large Mouth Specialist and Danie van Zyl experienced fishing guide and host.

So what are you waiting for, Get booking and get up here.

In the words of Rohan “ The Orange River is at this stage the most untouched , unfished and unspoilt river system  catering for the best fishing and most awesome scenery with amazing romantic sunsets that leave an unforgettable impression, topped by the best fishing experience under the African Sky’s”

Memory of Seasons

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For a few months I wanted to start writing a blog about each exciting happenings that have taken place at camp, yet every time I started to write I seemed to have been faced with the dreaded writers block. Blocking blog writing? Hmmm thought it was only for novel writers.

So I woke this morning and it suddenly dawned on me that its autumn. There’s a chill in the air and the seasons have definitely turned. And I’ve had such great experiences at camp with our guests this past summer. What better time to compose a blog featuring all these exciting happenings in one great capsule.

Bushman’s River Tented Camp is most certainly becoming the Highlight of our little company. We have started from extremely humble beginnings and are taking it step for step (Canvas strip to Canvas strip) Although they love our activities, which are Ten3safaris speciality, we are finding that our guests are in dire need of rest. Sleeping late without interruptions(Mobile phones and email). Long walks, bike rides, book reading, bird watching, fishing and eating, along with a good glass of red wine and plenty of laughter are the focal points of what is making our little camp so sort after. Relaxation is fast becoming food for one’s soul. And one acquires the opportunity to enjoy this with the people you love in a place that is private and beautiful.

I have come to know so many wonderful people over the past 6 months. My guests arrive as a client and really do leave as friends. Each day my life feels richer for the experiences I’ve been able to offer people, and the sheer positivity that they leave me with after opening my world to the fantastic lives they lead. (That is another blog entirely)
So what activities has been happening at Camp over February, March and April in between eating, laughing and staring into warming wisps of fire.

Well with the late rains and unusually low levels we decided that any river activities must be about quality not quantity. So our Nature Paddle became very popular and really is now one of our permanent feature. Guests float down river for about 5km, enjoying the beauty and bird life, with enough fun rapid’s in between to expose ones pearly whites . Our wonderful guests over valentines enjoyed this with a river picnic lunch at the take out spot. It was the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A romantic tent, Amarula, flowers and delicious fire prepared meals, completed a loving weekend.

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March I hosted a beginners kayak school and as Murphy would have it, the level rose considerably (which is not great for a beginner paddler) as water can be very intimidating. The speed, colour and size of rapids can scare most peopl and now you expect this person to get into a small, unstable boat, with an almost impossible option of getting out (this is why we learn to Eskimo roll) and tell them to go into all that stuff cause its heaps of fun!! Ok so white water kayaking is not for any person with a fear of water, but something so special I cannot begin to describe. Fortunately the water dropped to a very enjoyable level, and I had 2 full days of teaching on a 1 on 1 basis which was AWESOME. Follow Christiaans weekend events and write up on trip advisor:

Awesome place to get away from the city bustle, and find yourself in Nature. 

April to this point has been great, Easter has just passed over, and fishing was the focus of the weekend for the men. Ladies enjoyed long walks, bike rides, wine and laughter (and lots of chocolate) while the guys just wanted to hook those yellows. And boy did they!

Now those of you who love fly fishing will know that there is quite a science behind it. (it’s a bit like Golf of the river) so much to buy, must always look good doing it, who catches the most and biggest fish and requires a lot of practice- That sort of thing. But really the crux of wading in the water, casting a line and the hypnotic therapy it offers is quite unique. The Bushman’s is a small very wild stretch of river and almost unfished, so although some say fishing can be hard, there are plenty to catch and once you know how, or have figured it out (if you have not been under the guidance of host and fishing guide Danie van Zyl) Nothing will stop those guys taking your flies! Weather and Moon (as the science of fishing would have it) were against the group, yet throughout the long weekend, chilly winds, fronts, and full moons, not a day went by when the fish weren’t biting and the biggest catch of the day was on Monday. A beautiful thick lipped yellow 56cm in length. The Easter Bunny certainly delivered the best Easter fishy hunt, sweeter than chocolate.

So that’s a brief summary of what excitements had been happening at Bushman’s River with Ten3 Safaris, and as we move into Autumn and then Winter I look forward to writing about cosy evenings round the camp fire, walks, sightings and more. I’ll spend many an evening wrapped in a warm blanket, glass of red wine in hand, remembering the beauty of the day.

We have some great winter specials running, sign up to our newsletter, and you’ll soon discover that nature is closer than you think.
So if you are in doubt whether to get in your car and drive a couple of hundred km to us over the chilly months to relax. The question to ask is why would you not?

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Back Yard or Bioscope

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A farmer friend of ours called us the other day, almost in tears, his life line of newly planted maize, had been  Tripple D’d.

Demolished, depleted and destroyed, leaving him devastated!! What caused this? “Pigs” he said. Bush pigs. He wanted us to go investigate and sort this out for him. I believe his words were: “Either you help me with this or I’ll have to do it my way.” Now when a farmer is angry after losing such prize crop one can only imagine the method his mind conjured up to deal with these devious creatures. “Not to worry, we will make a plan” we assured him.

So hubby and I set off late afternoon with all the kids to the field where this carnage occurred to see how many pigs got stuck into his field. I was looking at spoor in the soft soil and one set in particular caught my eye. I was convinced it was  kudu (please bare in mind im no great  African game tracker) but I have a fair idea when it comes to hooved animals. (not counting the gemsbok I tracked backwards once)

Anyway, with the size of these tracks I thought it was definitely a kudu, but my husband, on closer inspection said nope it’s a boar. “Wow that is one huge pig” I said and one huge confirmation that you need to brush up your tracking skills again he added. Being a full time mom of 3 and workaholic really does not give me much time to get out and master my tracking these days, but I really loved being out there and feeling like I knew what I was doing.

I was so excited surveying the land, and putting out feed to entice them.

We would return later that night to see what time they came in. The kids and I prepared an early dinner and packed a few snacks and drinks for our great Pigging Escapade in the field behind our house. (clearly I don’t get out much) It was 7:15pm when we got all warmly wrapped up, kids loaded in the back of the bakkie with dad and the spot light. I was designated driver as my driving skills surpass my tracking and we were off up the road round the bend and into the field at a slow pace with vehicle headlights off. (we did this to not frighten the pigs as you have to surprise them as really you only have 1 chance before they bolt). We rolled up to the prime positioning, switched the engine off and sat in silence….. waiting….. listening… almost holding my breath in anticipation. When you are sitting in  pitch darkness of a cold winters night, straining your ears and eyes for sound and movement it’s very exciting and your imagination can take flight.

Danie switched on the spot light  directly on the feed but alas there was nothing. Scanned to the left then to the right and back again. I was so hoping to see these elusive creatures feasting like… well pigs on this irresistible stinky feed. “That’s it for the night, they clearly come in a lot later” Danie said. “What!” I answered in surprise “We have only been here for maybe half an hour” I did not even have time to take a sip of juice or crunch on a chip! (did I think I was at the movies… a show of sorts? perhaps) Any outing when living in a small town becomes a big event.

So we decided to drive around the field closer to the thick bush to see if they were perhaps lurking in the background before making their break into the open field. But these creatures are extremely intelligent and if they were, they would not openly expose themselves. Dad was scanning the field and bushes with the spot light and suddenly there were eyes. “Pigs!” I called. No Duiker. There were about four Duikers heading into the field from the one corner so we switched off the engine again and sat in silence. This was now turning into a night drive. How wonderful! More sets of eyes. Two beautiful bush buck suddenly appeared, one really large bull and his female. They did not stick around though once they caught our sent they leapt back into the bush.

I looked up and the skies were so clear  and the stars were in abundance. I could see for miles into the heavens. And I saw two shooting stars. Then a huge eagle owl landed a couple of meters away from our bakkie, when we gazed the light in its direction it flew off into the black night, so quietly as though it were never there. Rabbits, more Duikers, Night Jars calling. I honestly did not expect to see all this beautiful wild life almost in my back yard. By this stage I had forgotten all about why we came there and my parched throat.

077I was jolted back to reality after I heard a couple of soft taps on the roof and being asked to drive back to the feeding spot so we could place our trail camera up there to get an accurate time and pictures of the pigs, which we would retrieve the following morning.

I was in such high spirits as were the boys. I mean I know we live in a wild and untouched area with plenty of game farms but there are still a lot of rural settlements, farming communities, busy main roads and the like, really only a couple of hundred meters away from this buzzing field.

Driving back to our home I could hear the boys chatting in the back recalling the wonders they had seen. One forgets when you are in your everyday routine of bath time, dinner time and TV that  outside your door and even in your back yard there is a whole other existence, be it in the city or remote towns.

I really encourage you to explore that time, break your routine for just one night and go see what is out there. You will really be surprised. It makes for fantastic viewing, even better than a movie.

So what’s happened about the pigs I hear you ask. Well you’ll just have to wait and see what I write about next.

A Winter Holiday In The Kalahari Is Truly A Warming Experience

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Winter is finally here and most people just want to hibernate home after work, making excuses to stay in instead of going camping or partaking in some adventure activities with friends or family.  Here in the Kalahari we know what to do  with the family for the winter school Holidays.

Winter is finally here and most people just want to hibernate home after work, making excuses to stay in instead of going camping or partaking in some adventure activities with friends or family.  Here in the Kalahari we know what to do  with the family for the winter school Holidays.

Before deciding on where to book a winter holiday it is important to remember that South Africa is a country of extremes, that means hot summers and cold winters.  Here in the Kalahari in the Northern Cape the mornings are cold and clear and then it heats up to a reasonable temperature during the day, to the point of being able to peel off some layers, and at night the temperatures drop dramatically again. So with this in mind and the right gear, attitude and destination choices there are a lot that can be enjoyed during the school holidays in winter.

Right here on the banks of the Orange River you can expect  clear night skies, clean low flowing river, big camp fires, quieter camping spots, less crowds  more quality time and special winter season rates. The Green Kalahari is truly one of the most beautiful places all year round and  days are simply blissful and can be filled with fantastic things to do because  the Sun rises late here during the cold month’s;

  • which is great for romance
  • it creates colourful contrasts for photography
  • trees and bushes can be seen in a seemingly inanimate state
  • theres an early morning silence before the birds begin to stir

Though day’s should not be planned and rather experienced as in the Kalahari normal comforts and daily routines don’t apply. If you are of the planning kind here is a guide to a day in the Kalahari during winter

  • Sleep in a little later but do try and catch the morning sunrise with your camera
  • Eat a hearty breakfast and plan your day’s adventure
  • local cultural or historic tour
  • 4×4 drives and trails
  • Head out to Riemvasmaak which are the natural hot springs
  • Spend the day driving through the Augrabies falls national park
  • End the day off with some lekker brandy and/or wine tasting.

Evenings are great as the sun sets early and as usual the Orange River never ceases to amaze.  At night pack your camp fire high, eat early and enjoy the evening with your family sitting around the cracking fire sipping on some warm hot chocolate or Milo  enjoying each other’s company wrapped under a warm blanket in the fresh night air. Look up to the heavens and be in wonder of the billions of stars that cover us.

Visitors to the Kalahari in Winter suggest that you pack:

  • Beanie
  • thick coat
  • gloves
  • Walking boots
  • warm undies

Time is so precious; spending it with the ones we love albeit in the cold, a winter holiday in the Kalahari is truly a warming Experience.