Paardeplaats Nature Retreat – Magnificent & Mesmerising

paardeplaats nature retreat

Paardeplaats Nature Retreat

 

On Paardeplaats the pristine nature will mesmerize its visitors in many possible ways.
Waking up each day to a magnificent sun-rise and the song of birds, one can enjoy unspoiled nature on foot,  hiking one of the five walking trails, on the farm.

EcoLodge

On arrival at this eco-lodge, with it’s superbly restored old mining ruins, you will find a temporary home in one of the four  spacious cottages.
The Fauna & Flora, as surely as the camera has replaced the hunting rifle, will revolutionized traditional family activities. With the growing popularity of nature walks, a unique attraction when venturing out on foot, particularly on a ‘Full Moon Hike’  is the sighting of one of Paardeplaats’s resident cats: the caracal, the serval, the civet or even the leopard.

The Caracal

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Caracal Family in the wild

The Caracal is a medium-sized wildcat native to Africa. The name of this cat comes from the Turkish word ‘karakulak’ which means ‘black ears’ and black ears are a characteristic feature of the caracal.
Although the caracal is considered a small cat compared to other wild cats, it is among the heaviest and fastest. It is also referred to as the Persian Lynx or African Lynx although it is not part of the Lynx family. It is more related to the Serval and the African Golden Cat.
Historically caracals had importance in many cultures around the world. In Egypt paintings of caracals and bronze sculptures have been found and also embalmed carcasses as well.
This means that they were of great importance to the Egyptians. In China, emperors gave caracals as gifts. In India, caracals were used by rulers to hunt small game and also their coats were used to in making fur coats. This also shows that domestication of caracals is not something new but rather started centuries ago.

The Serval

serval in the savannah
Little is known about the African serval– but they are an intriguing species. Their exceptional hunting skills have earned them the reputation as the ‘savannah stalker’. The second fastest running cat, after the cheetah, servals are remarkably successful hunters and catch their intended victims about 50% of the time as opposed to other cats that succeed around 20% of the time.
Strong and slender, these beautiful animals could be the Naomi Campbell of the bush. They have the longest legs of all cats relative to their size, making them one of the tallest cats, with longer hind than forelegs. Their average lifespan is ten years in the wild. The longest living African serval in captivity is estimated to be 23 years of age.

The serval is sometimes preyed upon by leopard and other large cats, but their numbers have dwindled largely due to human population taking over their habitat and hunting them for their pelts. In South Africa, serval is listed under the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Biodiversity Act and as such are subject to rigorous legislation to ensure their welfare and survival.

African Civet

african civet

A solitary nocturnal animal, the African civet is a small, agile mammal found mostly in forested woodland areas where they spend most of the daytime sleeping and resting in the trees, safely off the ground away from predators, which include large cats, crocodiles, and snakes. They are very good swimmers and are rarely found in arid areas as they need to be close to a water source like riverbeds.
They have perineal glands that produce a fluid known as civet, used to mark territories – this is also used in the perfume industry to create the aromatic base, musk. Civets survive on a diet of rodents, reptiles, insects, eggs, fruit, berries and birds.

civet-nocturnal
The African civets are not members of the feline family, which some people are led to believe. They have a short, dense coat that is greyish in color with black spots and have a grey face with a black band around their eyes, making their appearance raccoon-like.
The African civet usually gives birth to 4 young and nests in an underground burrow in order to raise her young safely. Civet babies are quite unusual in the fact that they are born with fur and are quite mobile from a young age. They stay with their mothers until they are old enough and strong enough to fend for themselves.

Dainty Sugarbush covers the veld on the Land’s End hiking trail

Hiking on Paardeplaats Nature Retreat is a very popular hiking activity for the whole family. Lands’ End with its panoramic views and the easy trail has to be maintained during the rainy season. Brian made a beautiful discovery this week while cutting the Land’s End trail with a tractor. The dainty sugarbush was abundantly blooming like a ground cover in the veld.

Protea Parvula veld on Lands' End Hiking Trail

Protea Parvula veld on Lands’ End Hiking Trail

Protea parvula Beard. Is a near threatened plant on the red data list from the. PROTEACEAE family. This commonly called Dainty Sugarbush was first found near Kaapsche Hoop in Mpumalanga in 1928 by Dr E.P. Phillips
The dainty sugarbush is one of the summer rainfall grassland proteas. It is a low-growing shrub of below 20 cm in height, which contributes to its demise during fires. The seeds of Protea parvula, fortunately, survive these fires typical of its habitat, however.

Protea Parvula in bloom on Paardeplaats Nature Retreat
For the past 100 years, the population is has been decreasing and is estimated to have reduced 20-30% is estimated based on 28% habitat loss due to afforestation (pines), mining for soapstone and alien plant invasion.
It flowers in December through to March in the Mpumalanga, KZN and Swaziland habitats. Like many proteas, it grows in rocky terrain in acid soil.

Lands End hiking trails where the dainty sugarbush was discovered

The grassland at the high altitude of the habitat is characterised by short grass. Birds pollinate the plant and wind disperse the seed.

Lands’ End -A hiking trail that is definitely worth a visit!

Early Christmas Accommodation Deal

Get your Christmas gift early this year by booking 4 x en suite rooms for a group of 10 people for a minimum of 3 nights or longer and qualify for a discounted accommodation rates of R234pp/night or R7000/10 pax/3 nights.

Contact:

Brian 082 416 1379 or Gerda 079 515 7799

Rate includes:

  • All activities on Paardeplaats Nature Retreat
  • Total privacy in pristine surrounds on the Longtom Pass.
  • 4 x en suite bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen, braai hearth.
  • Hike to the waterval or the gold mine or chill on the large verandah.
  • Traditional hospitality

Terms and Conditions

  • This offer is only available for self-catering.
  • Applies for December 2017
  • Subject to availability
  • Deposit – 50% to secure the booking

 

Trout, the darling fish of weight watchers

Dullstroom and the Mpumalanga Highlands, with its close proximity to Gauteng, has been dubbed Trouteng with good reason.

 

Trout has become synonymous with fly-fishing as a recreational activity. Areas with pristine waters have become popular tourist attractions. Leisure farmers, guest lodges and numerous tourism enterprises are luring outdoor lovers to their establishments.

Salmon and Trout represent the backbone of aquaculture worldwide and South Africa is no exception. Trout started reaching the South African food market in noticeable volumes by the mid-seventies. It was first introduced around 1890 when brown trout ova arrived on a sailing ship from Scotland. The first fingerlings were hatched at a Cape Town brewery where Newlands is today. Few people realise that trout pioneered aquaculture in South Africa.

trout-babies

TROUT – THE SUSTAINABLE OPTION

Fish consumption has globally increased more than five-fold in the last fifty years with aquaculture becoming the fastest growing sustainable food producer in the world. The world’s food requirements are expected to double over the next 35 years to sustain the planet’s population of 9.1 billion people.Natural fisheries cannot meet the demand and aquaculture, with its green economy, has become a lifeline in food production.

 

ECOSYSTEM RESOURCES

Trout aquaculture is a good choice for a variety of reasons.

•              Talk trout and you talk minimal carbon emission with an infrastructure footprint that relatively small in relation to production.

•              T trout is not a consumptive water user and has little impact on river health.

•              Trout are cold-blooded and do not require energy to maintain body temperature. Their feed conversion ratio is 1.2 to 1 which compares favourably with other farmed animals.

•              Trout is accordingly SASSI Green Listed.

trout-brian TROUT, THE HEALTHY OPTION

Trout has become a popular alternative to weight watchers and health-conscious consumers.

It is known to be:

•              High in Omega 3 & 6 oils

•              Recommended as a healthy way to reduce risk of heart attack, stroke or heart disease

•              Ideal for weight loss

•              0% carbohydrates

•              0% trans fats

•              High in Vit D and Vit B-12

  TROUT, GOURMET CUISINE

Although trout appeals to the health-conscious and the general fish lover this fish has also become preferred cuisine to people with cultural or religious preferences.  Suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner and functions, many caterers use it as an affordable salmon replacement. The processed products make for convenient, easy starters and canapés.

Suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner and functions, many caterers use it as an affordable salmon replacement. The processed products make for convenient, easy starters and canapés.

Cool Cuisine caterer Bevvie Marais from Kook, lists filled pancakes, crostini’s, mousse and trout pies amongst her popular catering favourites.

Saucy Chef Brian Whitehorn’s Trout with lemon and herb butter accounted for 40% of his sales in his awarded Dullstroom restaurant,  Die Tonteldoos Bistro. Brian served trout for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Source: Lunsklip Fishing

trout-banner-w-logo

 

 

 

vuture

Vulture Restaurant on Paardeplaats

VULTURE RESTAURANT

A vulture restaurant is an area where non-toxic, poison-free meat and carcasses are provided for vultures and other scavengers. This area must be free of human traffic and totally undisturbed. The supplementary feeding, such as an animal carcass, supports the vultures in times of food scarcity and when young birds fledge.


As well as providing a safe food source, vulture restaurants provide landowners with a clean and cost-effective way of disposing of waste and unwanted carcasses. Using vulture restaurants, Paardeplaats Nature Reserve is contributing to conservation efforts and disposing of their waste in an environmentally-friendly way.

Local farmers and landowners bordering Paardeplaats Nature Reserve have started donating domestic livestock that otherwise had to be buried or burnt and is that are unfit for human consumption. Carcasses that have been euthanized or treated with certain veterinary drugs or dips are poisonous to vultures and Brian and Gerda check the validity of the donated carcass for safe feeding.

The Whitehorns utilise their vulture restaurant to raise public awareness of the plight of the species’ as these restaurants play an important role in eco-tourism.

VULTURE CONSERVATION

Vultures, positioned at the top of the food chain, are an indicator of the health of the environment below them – and dependent for their survival on a healthy environment.


They form an important ecological component of our natural environment, cleaning up dead carcasses and decreasing the spread of some diseases. Despite this, vultures face an unprecedented onslaught from human activities. They have to cope with the changing landscape of progress such as electrocutions and collisions with electrical structures as well poisonings, to name a few.

In order to ensure the future of these vultures, we need to work together, spread the word, and actively contribute to the conservation of our indigenous vulture species.

 

 

hiking & mtb

Hiking in Paardeplaats Nature Retreat

explorePaardeplaats Nature Retreat

Hiking and mountain biking for both the serious and not so serious is a popular pass-time on Paardeplaats Nature Retreat

You have a choice of seven different routes totalling about 25 kilometres
The views on all the routes are absolutely spectacular!
Enjoy the explosion of sub-alpine flowers and plants in summer and the wonderful birding and small selection of game through all seasons.

No guides are needed and time is of no importance on your trail of exploration to a nearby derelict gold mine (10 – 15 minutes). Alternatively, you can follow the river to the top of the waterfall (20-30 minutes).

Pack a picnic basket for the longer hikes which are well suited for families. Don’t forget to bring binoculars and a birding book.!

Mountain biking is allowed on the Jafrie Ramble Route

hiking & mtb Paardeplaats

The Gurney’s Sugarbirds of Paardeplaats Nature Reserve

Gurney Sugarbirds on Paardeplaats Nature Retreat

Gurney’s Sugarbirds and the Paardeplaats Nature Reserve has become synonymous, mainly because of the clump of proteas on the slopes near the Sabie – Lydenburg road and the scattered protea sites all over the farm which provide a perfect habitat for these birds. During winter there is an influx of sugarbirds feeding on cultivated proteas (Western Cape species), aloes and other flowering plants. The influx to the town areas, however, is not like that observed in the 1980 and 1990’s, as fewer sugarbirds were observed in the suburban gardens during the past several years.

gurney sugarbird eggs This seasonal movement occurs mostly after the summer flowering periods of the Silver Protea (Protea roupelliae), but was also influenced by the rainfall seasons and the fire regime in the area.

Sugarbirds (and in this case – Gurney’s) has formed a close relationship with the protea species. They nest in these plant species and use the old protea flower seeds to lay out their nests for their breeding season which lasts from November to March when abundant protea flowers are available. The protea flowers, in turn, attract insects and beetle species on which they foraged. A very beneficial relationship! The conservation of their protea grassland habitat remains a high priority.

Protea bushes for Gurney Sugar BirdsGurney’s Sugarbirds have a limited distribution range on the eastern escarpment of Southern Africa in association with protea species, mainly the Silver Proteas, and this habitat are also affected by fire regimes.

These proteas are killed by hot fires and regrowth only occurs from seeds in the ground or in canopies of the trees which escaped the fires. During winter months the sugarbirds will move down the ravines on Paardeplaats where they will forage on the winter flowering Krantz Aloes (Aloe arborescens), but will return to the protea clumps which have still have flowering protea flowers available to forage on.

Guney bird ringerThe Paardeplaats Project

Paardeplaats is a private nature reserve at the foot of the Long Tom Pass in the Kruger Lowveld. The closest town is Lydenburg.
Dawie de Swardt, who is the Head of the Ornithology Department at the National Museum in Bloemfontein, has initiated a ringing project in the Lydenburg area to study the seasonal movements of the sugarbirds as far back as 1986.

Gurney Sugarbird school kidsRegular revisits to the sites have been made over the years to obtain recapture data of the sugarbirds. Dawie and other interested bird ringers have covered the lower lying suburban and higher mountainous areas which included the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve and surrounded farms such as Sterkspruit, Potloodspruit and Paardeplaats Nature Reserve on Long Tom Pass. There is one locality on the Steenkampsberg which is also monitored on an annual basis.

The Paardeplaats site is the only locality monitored since 1986 and data have been collected for more than 30 years. An amazing total of 317 sugarbirds have to date been ringed at Paardeplaats with 39 “recaptures” – birds found moving to lower town areas (and to surrounded protea clumps) and also again captured at the Paardeplaats site. A whopping total of 894 sugarbirds has already been ringed in the Lydenburg area!

Paardeplaats NatureRetreat

Sugarbird ringing at Paardeplaats has always been a very popular annual event on the birding calendar. Local school children are given ringing demonstrations and registered SAFRING bird ringers have the opportunity to handle (and ring) sugarbirds and other bird species. This well-attended bird ringing trips also create lots of training opportunities for trainee bird ringers.

Gurney birdringers

The way forward for the Gurney Sugarbirds of Paardeplaats Nature Reserve

Dawie de Swardt has played a pivotal role in the research project on sugarbirds (and SABAP2 bird atlassing project) at Paardeplaats and his interest and devotion to the Gurney Sugarbird have been the driving force behind the success of the project. However, he has assured that the project will continue even in his absence. The bird ringers of BirdLife Northern Gauteng in Pretoria have committed themselves to the Paardeplaats Project and they will monitor the bird populations annually in February, or any time of the year.
The Gurney Sugarbirds have come quite celebrities since nature photographers have discovered that they became quite tame visiting flowering aloes.

Credit:  Dawie de Swardt

 

 

Testimonial

 

Tuesday 21st June 2016

Many thanks to Lydia and party for your kindness, this weekend.

We would love to see you all again.

Lungisile and Lucas

A Man & His Dog

 

  A MAN & HIS DOG 

The story of a farm, a man and his dog: 2005 to 2016

      Our New Life Together  

 Umjoji our new puppy – 9 weeks old! 

honde puppy - Copy (2)

 Just before my 64th birthday, in August 2005, as a special surprise, my family decided that they wanted to buy ‘Brian’ a dog, as a birthday present.  Behind the scenes, the whole of Dullstroom had been inveigled into the task of helping to find a suitable ‘friend’ that would complement the personality of ‘Yours Truly’.

All sorts of breeds were suggested, and the town and my family, came up with plenty of very revealing, weird and wonderful suggestions amongst themselves, considering that it should ‘compliment my personality’. Some suggested a Boston Terrier, some thought a Jack Russell, some even a ‘Worsie’ and worse. All totally behind the scenes and without my knowledge!

We had at that stage, just sold our restaurant “Die Tonteldoos Bistro”, after 14 years of long hours, really hard graft, and very little privacy.
Gerda and I had made a policy decision that we would move, permanently, to our farm ‘Paardeplaats’, near Lydenburg, within the next few years. However my move would virtually be immediate, to prepare the farm for our future life, and our exit from Dullstroom. They informed me of the intended surprise, and supplied me with a copy of  ‘The Dog Annual’  to help me choose a breed, for this special gift. ‘After all Brian should have some say in the matter!’
Now, the cover had a photo of an American Staffordshire Terrier in all his glory – and guess what? I loved it! My family and the town had actually expected me to choose a little “skoothondjie”, but alas! my mind had been made up.

Our beloved little puppy, Umjoji, was born on 1st September 2005. We bought him from Charmaine Hoebben, who lived south of Johannesburg. The dog on the cover of the magazine was Umjoji’s father and he became the National AmStaff Champion for several years in a row (real royalty!).UMGEORGIEs DAD
And so it was, that our little puppy of impeccable background and breeding, came into my life, on Paardeplaats, as my new companion.

His name was to be “Umjoji”, a name I found, and thought very appropriate, in “Shaka Zulu”, a book on the legendary king’s life.
Shaka had, in his time, been a feared, yet very successful, albeit expansive king. He was greatly impressed and intrigued by the fact that the King of England, at the end of the 18th century, had a larger kingdom than his own. The king of course, was King George III. Shaka Zulu referred to him, out of admiration and respect, as “Umjoji”.

 So, 9 weeks after his birth, my new friend and companion, Umjoji, joined me in “our” new life’s adventure in  Dullstroom and on Paardeplaats.

And adventure it certainly would become, not dissimilar to Sir Percy’s, Jock, who had also spent much of his life in our ‘valley’

Umjoji overlooking ‘Masjienkloof’ – December 2008

UMJOJI AT MASJIENKLOOF (2)

‘EDUMACATION’ AS A FUN ADVENTURE

“Now look, my mama didn’t tell me there were all sorts of other dogs out there? I don’t quite know whether I like them or not?- but it’s fun being here.”

Umjoji’s first adventure in life, was to attend Carol O’Leary’s ‘Dog School’, in Dullstroom – held once a week, on the SANEL sports field, on Monday afternoons, together with his new found friend and companion, Yours Truly – after all we both needed schooling, we both had to learn.
Discipline and obedience were, of course, the key words, but being a typical AmStaff, he didn’t always appear to be the brightest spark on the block. Being a puppy, he needed to find himself and his own confidence, and not that it was always approved of, more than anything he needed to have fun. For a month or two, each week, after school, we would pack up, and ride off into the great unknown – To our farm ‘Paardeplaats’, on the top of the Long Tom Pass.

On reflection I do believe that his schooling played a pivotal role in his early life, because it taught him to know and obey my ‘big voice’ and certain commands. We got to know one another. However, he always remained a free spirit, but his main pleasure in his life was to please me. On the “farm” he got to know Lucas’s farm dog, “Fly”, who was a “pavement special” version of what Umjoji was going to become. Fly looked very much like a thinner version of a staffie. He was an adventurous, farm-wise dog of the world, and Umjoji looked up to him and learned all sorts of valuable tricks and fun “things”, from him, in those early days. Fly, like Umjoji was well fed, so he never had to steel – this sets a good example for Umjoji.

Fly’s favourite pass time was to chase Vervet monkeys, and he was alert to all the farm noises and smells, which taught Umjoji a lot. Fly was never aggressive towards the wild horses on the farm, and did not interfere in nature. In fact he was very cautious of baboons, a valuable lesson he passed on to Umjoji.

This healthy relationship continued through Umjoji’s first eight months. Fly was the dominant male, and he was respected by his junior.
Umjoji’s mother had taught him ‘pack behaviour’ well. In fact, Charmain Hoebben, his breeder, maintained that puppies should only be separated from their mothers, after 9 weeks, for it is between 6 and 9 weeks that they are taught important social behaviour, without which, they can develop unstable personalities.
By now Umjoji was weighing in at about 25kg, and because of the physical lifestyle he lived on the farm, he was becoming very muscular, and strong. Whenever I worked on my ‘blue tractor’, Umjoji and Fly would run with me, where ever I went. Sometimes up to 10km a day.

Yours truly on the ‘blue tractor’ You must watch out for those wheels!

brian & trekker (3) But by now Umjoji had developed his own typical AmStaff mentality, his true personality was coming to the fore. He loved all people to a fault, particularly children, but there was not actually enough room in his life or on the farm, for himself and Fly. He had started to lift his leg to mark his territory – this was his place!
One short tête-a-tête, one afternoon, was enough to teach Fly who the new boss was! Keep out of my territory, was the message.
So from then on, Fly lived up at Lucas’s house, about a kilometre away, and Umjoji at our house. Unfortunately, Fly, lost perspective one day, shortly after their disagreement, and broke the golden rule – he chased after some baboons, never to be seen again.

Alfa male baboons are vicious, and dangerous towards any unsuspecting dogs or even leopards. They cunningly, lure them into a trap and then attack and tear them apart, with their sharp canine fangs of up to 10cm long, rounded on the front edge and serrated on the back edge – ideal for ripping apart and tearing!

I think baboons hate dogs!

 The Big Water

‘Water, water, everywhere nor any drop to drink.’

F1000008 - Copy (2)Brian jnr. & Umjoji at Fish River

In December of 2005 with Umjoji, just a few months old, we planned a family holiday to The Great Fish River Mouth, over 1400 km from home, near Port Alfred. Our son Arno was already two years into his university career at Tukkies, Roland had just written matric, Brian jnr. was 12 years old and my daughter Kate at 37, lived and worked in Durban. For the two week  holiday we would be staying in my friend Johnny Bonsma’s ‘packing case’ cottage, in blissfully primitive conditions, in a seaside paradise, that defies description. Our only challenge was that we virtually needed to take the ‘kitchen sink’ along with us.

So, after weeks of careful planning, with many phone calls and emails, and with long lists and checklists, with details that would be hard for most to even imagine, except possibly those who really know ‘Yours Truly’, we were ready for our holiday adventure.
There were detailed route maps from Dullstroom for us and from Durban for Kate. Roland and Brian Jnr. packed all, and with carefully planned meeting and resting places along the road, and plenty of padkos, we set off from Dullstroom at 02h00 on Friday 23rd December 2005, in my Toyota 4×4, packed to the brim, and towing a trailer (also packed to the brim) with a boat, and an outboard motor (remember this detail later!). Arno would be arriving at Fish River by bus, from Cape Town, as he had been visiting his school friend Sieve Bans, for the December holidays, so we were at least spared his body and baggage. in our journey to the sea.
We met Kate at Bethlehem at 06h00 for our ‘on-time’ breakfast appointment, after which we shed Roland plus some (lots) of baggage, into Kate’s car. Off we drove again, with an equally excited Brian jnr. and Umjoji lying in the back of the bakkie, with considerably more room for them to move in.

We were heading for the great unknown – heading for the Great Fish River Mouth.
On reflection, we must have looked hilariously like a typical ‘old South African bakkie’ heading for an ‘old South African homeland’. The only difference being that we didn’t have chickens on the roof!
There was no room for slackers, though, as we were driving ‘right through’ (1400 km) in one day.
Yours Truly, having lived and worked like this for over 30 years, as a land surveyor, knew nothing else – ‘don’t just talk about it, do it!’ was my motto.  It was an ordeal, albeit, a pleasant and exciting ordeal, but we arrived at our holiday destination on schedule at 16h00.
We pitched a tent for our maid Agnes, who wore her customary ashed white face, and turban, with spots around her eyes. I’d known her for several previous family holidays before my wife Jean had died. Agnes’s home was just over the river in the Ciskei.

We moved in, and had a few cold beers! Agnes had arrived, as planned, a few days before, and although primitive, the cottage was clean and the gas fridges were switched on, and cold. We were ready for our holiday.

This whole experience, for Umjoji plus the three young boys, Kate and ourselves, was to leave a lasting impression and memories for all.
Our little dog was living in a puppies dream world come true. We all, including Agnes, spoiled Umjoji rotten. His new experience of this vast unending ‘big water’, chasing vervet monkeys, as Fly had taught him, left him ‘dog’ tired at the end of each day.
If this was what life was all about, he was ready for it!
Many of my well intending friends, from Dullstroom, who had ‘helped’ choose my puppy, had warned us that Staffies were not good swimmers – ‘so be careful – keep an eye on him!’ they said.
Umjoji took to this big water like a duck to water. He was a born swimmer, without a scared hair on his head. He loved the adventure, and the company and friendship of the children. He loved gambolling in the surf – he was everyone’s friend. What a life!

A few days before the end of our holiday we decided to use the boat, once more, to cross the river mouth, for a picnic braai under the huge boulders at ‘bats cave’, as we had done a few times before.
Again the planning was thorough and off we went at low tide, in our boat, to squeeze some of the last drops of pleasure and enjoyment from our holiday.                                                                               

It was almost time for my snooze

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A wonderful day was had by all – we had eaten oysters, we had, had a fish braai, accompanied by a bottle of well chilled Sauvignon Blanc. We had lazed and swum, but now we needed a snooze.

Eventually we managed to pack up, and I planned 2 boat trips back to the other side, to drop our goods and our tired body’s. The first trip went well.
I returned for the rest – We were slightly overloaded, – the tide was coming in strongly! But never daunted, Yours Truly, full of confidence as usual, opened the outboard throttle, equally full, and headed into the current – equally full!
Roland with his normal dry and off centre sense of humour, mumbled something like ‘Isn’t this the way you sink a boat?’
Before you could say ‘Jack strike a light’ we were all in the water, including Umjoji. Fortunately the motor was chained to the boat, but the boat was upside down but still afloat in the surf. Our braai rooster was gone, plus a spade and some other hardware. The red cold box was afloat and Umjoji, as was Rools, Brian jnr. and Yours Truly, were swimming for all we were worth. I was dragging the boat behind me. We had passed the half way mark, and several kind hearted fishermen, all in fits of laughter, came to our rescue.
Umjoji in a very dignified way, did his own thing. He reached the shore, walked out onto the sand and shook himself off, with water spraying in all directions, as if to say ‘you see I can swim!’                                                                               Umjoji saam met die manne! 

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Our two week holiday, as a family, in that paradise, was a God sent blessing, that nobody, including our dog, will ever forget.
Umjoji surpassed all expectations, he was now a well seasoned and experienced ‘old salt’, and what’s more, I think he knew it!

Terug oppie Plaas

Our experienced, and well travelled, young dog of the world, back in his own familiar surroundings.

Umjoji 2 years old

umjoji dec 2007 (7)

Our farm, Paardeplaats, being 770ha in extent, was proclaimed a Nature Reserve, in July 1956. Gerda’s uncle Jaap bought the farm in 1979. We have been graced with the presence of a variety of small antelope: oribi, grey rheebuck, mountain reed buck, duikers, klipspringers, blesbuck and very often elande and kudus.

Elande near the house

Elande

Of course there are also those darn baboons and vervet monkeys, plus other species like porcupines, honey badgers, clawless otters, Smith’s red rock rabbits, brown hyenas, bush pigs, of which there are plenty, black-backed jackals, rooikatte, African wild cats, African civets, servals and leopards. All of these, are virtually permanent residents here on Paardeplaats, but some, being mostly nocturnal, are not often seen.  Old gold mining shafts, of which there are many, become the lairs for some of these creatures, during the day. We have also been graced by the company of two or three warthogs in the last three years – these will no doubt multiply in the future. We don’t see them during the cold months, as they migrate to the warmer, lower altitudes of the farm.
Then of course, our farm derives its very name, registered in September 1874, from the beloved wild horses that have lived here for well over a hundred years. There are, at present, two herds of about 10 horses in each. These animals come and go at will – this is their territory, and they have become quite tame and accustomed to people. Lucas feeds them apples, by hand, in the summer months, with apples from my Dullstroom garden.

We border on the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve on our western boundary, and form part of the Mt Anderson Catchment Reserve, where we have endeavoured to drop all fences, in the interests of nature conservation. This conservancy – the bigger picture – is over 25 000ha in extent. This is the legacy that Umjoji was born into. The unrestricted wide open spaces and freedom, of Paardeplaats.
Being a typical staffie, it was not always easy, in the beginning, to convince him that all these creatures, had as much right to an existence as he does. This is of course what we tried to teach him, at school. All in his own interests and for his own safety – It all had to do with discipline and obedience. Life in nature is a delicate balance – it’s very much a case of live and let live. One being, needs the other and we all have to learn to coexist. Now for a boisterous personality like Umjoji, this was very difficult, because of his fun-lust, and his loner mentality. My rather big voice, that I have, and that he learnt to respect at school, helped a lot to control him, even from a distance.  Big voice to him, meant listen!
Gerda’s voice, which is pitched a lot lower, and with a much lower volume, does not have the desired effect, at all.
Umjoji also didn’t and still doesn’t like to be reprimanded. He gets that ‘hang dog’ look in his eyes, which speaks volumes for him. You can see the embarrassment and humiliation, fully expressed in his eyes. He virtually, without words, is begging forgiveness!
A very good characteristic in a dog is the will to please! Always cultivate that!

Sooo – after all the excitement of that great experience, called a holiday, we were back to the more mundane existence of the plaas, with ‘Yours Truly’, Lucas and Fly. All his exciting, newfound friends were back at university and school.
Now was the time to knuckle down and set a pattern to his life.

 My Life’s Mistakes

Ah-gee man, why can’t I do that? I’ll make up in other ways. Pleeease!

On reflection, if I look at Umjoji’s life, he has made mistakes, at times. Sometimes wilfully, sometimes in error, but I think, all have taught him a lesson.
At the end of the day, I must in all fairness give him credit, for his better characteristics. My ‘little boy’ is now over 10 years old, and he has never once, snapped at, or shown intolerance towards any human being, and most importantly towards children. He loves them all! I have always jokingly said that Umjoji would never deter a ‘farm attacker’ with aggression – he would do it with love and licking!
My command ‘no licking, no jumping!’,  which he knows and understands so very well, says it all.
When it comes to people – he loves them but finds it very difficult to comply with commands. I myself am like that, and I often wish I could comply, cause then I could comply with God’s command to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, far more easily.
Umjoji certainly has got a few of his own personal favourites, in his life. My children and their friends, plus Etienne and Anthony the Vet. Then of course there’s Lilo the Jack Russell,  and his new companion and friend Pampata, the Staffie. They all fall in that category – any child would always be made to feel loved and welcome by him. He was born with an over dose of love for humans!

Umjoji with one of his favourites – Etienne (and Lilo).

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Another of his characteristics is that he never feels sorry for himself. He never whimpers or yelps or cries, when he is in trouble. Even when he is in extreme discomfort, or pain, he takes his punishment like a man.

I must say, I do love classy girls!

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‘All these strange creatures? And I didn’t even know that they were dangerous’

That darn Zebra – so unfriendly he was!

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Some months after our holiday, when I was busy burning fire breaks on the farm, with my neighbour Chris Joubert, we came across the wild horses, one morning.
They had a lone Zebra stallion that had latched onto the herd – I suppose because he was lonely.
Umjoji took one look at this lot, and decided that this horse with striped pyjamas, was an intruder, so he gave chase. The Zebra was not going to have any of this, particularly from a young wipper-snapper, like Umjoji.
Great surprise – the zebra turned on him with vengeance – but the Zebra was serious! His dignity had been hurt. He gave chase, stamping and kicking as he went – he was determined to eliminate this insult.
Umjoji, with his ears hanging, and tail between his legs, which showed his alarm, turned and ran for all he was worth.
My heart sank, because the zebra was much faster, with more staying power than Umjoji. Just one of those kicks would have been the end of him. ‘The lucky dog’ was let off the hook because the Zebra eventually lost interest.
When Umjoji returned, he looked very sheepish indeed, but we both knew that he had learnt an important lesson. As a matter of interest, the Zebra continued his stay with the horses, until I noticed that there were no new foals being born. The zebra was killing them, because they were not his own offspring. I suppose because of his stature, he was not able to reach a mare when in esterus, and he therefore suffered from ‘small mans syndrome’. I had to shoot him to save the foals.

 My Life’s Adventures

  ‘Cowboys don’t cry’:

About 3 years ago, one Sunday afternoon after we had, had a Church braai in the ‘old kraal’, Umjoji disappeared. We had remnant visitors, from the braai, visiting at our house.
Now Umjoji’s very absence, was a sure sign that there was something wrong! He always loves to be around when there were visitors. ‘After all they’re people and I love them’ So Gerda left me with the task of preparing coffee and snacks for the guests, and she and Lucas returned to the old kraal to look for Umjoji.
Sure enough, he had wondered off  towards the end of our braai, with some folks who had gone for a short walk, and he had accompanied them – as could be expected!
Unfortunately he had, during the walk, got himself caught in a poachers snare, made of thin steel cable. The very design and nature of the snare, was intended to cause harm. He had only been in his predicament for about an hour or so, but because of his natural determination and strength, he had tried to use brute force to free himself from the snare.
In the process the cable had cut into his groin, and if he had been left for another hour the cable would have cut through his penis! He was obviously in agony.
Lucas and Gerda removed the snare, with difficulty, which in itself must have been painful. Never once did he whimper or cry. His only reaction was to wag his tail: ‘thanks my friend!’

The Vets bills, for the damage repair were astronomical, but Umjoji recovered fully from his trauma. However, I was obviously very angry to put it mildly – Who had set the damn snare?
I had given a contract to clear wattle, to a young man some months earlier, and it was his workers who were the culprits. Needless to say, that was the end of the young man, his workers and his contract!

Tête-a-tête with a wild pig:

Another incident showing his high pain tolerance, was when he was about 3 years old, and tried to settle a small difference with a wild pig.
He had been visiting Lucas up at his house, one afternoon, when out of the blue, a wild pig dashed for cover, from out of the trees. I with my ‘big voice’, was not present, to intervene, so Umjoji latched onto this golden opportunity for a little fun, and gave chase.
Lucas had given him no chance of catching up with the innocent  porker, – but that was an error of judgement on Lucas’s part!

We had overseas guests, from the USA, in our lodge that evening, and at that time I was preparing dinner for our guests and Gerda was busy setting the dinner table.
Again, when Umjoji was obviously absent, it was a sure indication that there were problems. I phoned Lucas, who immediately realised what probably had happened. He dashed off in the direction that Umjoji had given chase, and sure enough, there they were still locked in mortal combat.
Umjoji weighed in at 35kg and the pig at about 55kg. By then they had been fighting for about 45 minutes. Umjoji’s tactics had been to grab hold of the porker, and in typical staffie fashion, violently shake his opponent. Unfortunately for Umjoji the weight ratio was not in his favour. The pig was too heavy, and Umjoji had snapped his top jaw in the middle, next to one of his canines. Both pig and dog were covered in blood – Umjoji’s.
The pig, which was a sow, had only one defence – to bite Umjoji in the rump – a rear guard action. Lucas separated the combatants without much difficulty, and the pig sped off. All Umjoji did was to wag his tail and pant, with the pride of a fisherman that had just caught a whale.

Gerda and Lucas bundled him into the car and again sped off to Anthony the Vet, for help. Umjoji had lost a canine, and with major surgery, had to have his broken jaw wired up with platinum wire. The lacerations on his bum were not too serious, but all in all Umjoji looked a disaster! Like Delville Wood after the battle.
I suppose the pig has recovered happily, with a few fatty scars to remind her to steer clear of the likes of Umjoji, in future. Again there was never any self pity on his part. He never showed any sign of pain. He just loved the Vet, Anthony, and gained another friend, who has become one of his favourites.

Elizca my exciting young friend:

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Elizca and I ‘on site’ the day after

In early December 2012, we were graced by the visit of young family friends -The Middelberg family from Potchefstroom.
Dad – Conrad, Mom – Sanlie and their three young girls, Elizca 7 years old, Karin 5 years old and Sané 2 years old, arrived latish in the evening, at about 18h30. The sun had set and was fast turning to dusk – the shadows were long, and it was becoming decidedly chilly.
Remember we’re situated at 2000 meters above sea level.
With lots of excitement, and fun and games, we proceeded to welcome them, and to help unpack their vehicle.
Of course, the first bonding exercise was between, the children and Umjoji.
This was probably the joy of Umjoji’s life – to meet new young friends, and to share his excitement, with them.

Yours truly, in anticipation, had already started the preparation for our supper. I had made, Aïoli, to accompany the ‘new potatoes’ fresh out of our garden – just as a starter of course.
The rest we’d tackle, around the table, when we’d settled down, with lots of laughter and good conversation … Or so we thought!

All in the space of a couple of exciting minutes, we did our thing.
Then Sanlie asked “Waar is Elizca?”  I was back in the kitchen with Conrad, doing the man’s thing! Preparing the meal! I had of course, learned a few tricks in my 14 years of owning a restaurant!
“Conrad, waar is Elizca????”
Then Gerda asked, “Brian have you seen Elizca?”, but I was focusing on potatoes …
No response!
Then the atmosphere suddenly changed from one of fun and laughter to one of anxiety and stress: “Conrad, Waar is Elizca – sy’s nie hier nie?!” “Conrad!!!”

By now It was past 19h00. The real threat was, Elizca was missing in a strange place, and it would soon be dark and cold.
There was no time to waste!!!

We suddenly became aware that Umjoji was also missing,  and we then realised what had most probably happened – He had taken Elizca for a short, fun walk.

Yours truly and Conrad jumped into my bakkie, and drove off in great haste, to do a recce around the house, area. Gerda and Sanlie would search in closer proximity.
The seriousness and urgency had now dawned on us!

I realised that Umjoji had a couple of favourite routes, and Conrad and I increased our search parameters to include them. I stopped every 100 meters or so, for Conrad to call for his daughter.
Conrad is a man of well over 2 meters tall – he’s large – not fat! But with his size he only has a small voice. When he called out he called: “Elizca”, “Elizca”, “Elizca”.
I become more anxious and impatient, and said “No Conrad! when you call – shout!” “Call  Elizca!” …..  The ‘big voice’ kicked into play!!!
We continued searching – The whole ‘Nooitgedacht Hiking Route’ – calling and shouting as we went!
But with no response!!! This time not because of potatoes!
When we got back to the house at 19h30, it was dark. Still no luck!
We were experiencing a nightmare.
Elizca and Umjoji were missing!

Everyone was upset. There were lots of tears. The atmosphere was one of intense anxiety.
I sat down quietly, in a corner, trying to gather my thoughts. I tried phoning the police.
In the ‘New South Africa’ there was no such luck!
I tried phoning a friend in the SAPS dog unit, Marcelle Oosthuizen. I got through to explain our predicament. Between he and I, we phoned several other senior regional officers in SAPS, in Lydenburg and Nelspruit. The wheels had started turning – and they said we might even get a helicopter!?
Again no such luck! The helicopters floodlight for night-search, was faulty! Maybe tomorrow?
No that’s too late, for us!

By now it was 21h00, with still no sign of Elizca or Umjoji. The atmosphere was frightening and disturbing!
Marcelle said he would be out shortly with his dogs. Big problem!!! Umjoji is not dog friendly!!! Marcelle suggested he would be extra careful and on guard! “His dogs were disciplined!”
But I still needed to get help, to calm the family and Gerda down. We all seemed to be losing control of the situation.

I phoned our local padre Fred Wilson, for spiritual assistance. But being December, he was on holiday and out of town! He suggested that I phone Christie Smit the ‘Moeder gemeente dominee’ – new in town but very willing and helpful. Christie and his wife Christelle said they would be out shortly to help.

At about 22h00 Christie, Christelle and Marcelle  all arrive as promised.
Marcelle however arrived with half the town: Ettienne, plus all Marcelle’s contacts from the local security groups in town. Even the uniformed police in whom I had no hope, arrived. The two black constables, slotted in with everyone else and helped with the search! Ultimately there were 30 people on site, all ready and able and actively searching for the missing girl and dog.
Christie and Christelle did what they are best at, and trained for: They sat down with the family and Gerda to bring peace and hope through the much needed prayer.

By now it was really cold and Sanlie remembered that Elizca was only dressed in a thin summer dress and ‘plakkies’ –  It would be difficult for her to survive the elements!

I remembered the Aïoli and the garden potatoes. So I brought them out with bread, cheese and olives, to feed the masses. All 30 of them.
I think a little went a long way, that night, in the same way as the ‘fishes and loaves’ did all those 2000 years before.

All of a sudden, out of the blue, at 22h30, my friend Umjoji walked in, wagging his tail, as if nothing had happened. However he was alone and he was wet.
He can’t talk, but we wished he could!
He must have been through water, which boded badly for Elizca. There is a small  dam near the house, and at this stage we needed to be realistic.  Marcelle contacted the police diving unit, who would come out. They were in Nelspruit, so it wouldn’t take too long.
People were still crisscrossing the farm in their ongoing search for Elizca.
Marcelle said: “I have a little girl of 10 years, myself, so I will not stop until I find Elizca”.

 To cut a long story short, most of the team continued through that dismal night, without a break.
Christie and Christelle carried on till the small hours with their prayers and comforting spiritual support, and returned again at 06h00 to continue. The family were distraught and never slept.

As it started getting light, the intensity of the search increased, and the divers started donning their diving suits, to search the dam. Our neighbour, Dean Hunter had been called out in his Microlite to do an air search. He was flying at low level, in a grid pattern, to cover the area.
A helicopter had been arranged for a little later.

A sensitivity, cropped up: It was little Karin’s 5th birthday today.
How could anyone celebrate a birthday, in such dismal circumstances?
However Gerda phoned Andre from the Spar and got him out of bed,  to order a birthday cake for Karin, plus 30 ‘boerewors dogs’ to feed the hungry masses, for breakfast.

As ‘Faith’ would have it at 07h00, who should walk in, but a timid, scared little girl, ‘dying’ of the cold! Everybody cried and shouted with heartfelt Joy – I think, even Umjoji!

Elizca, had run out of steam when it started to get cold and dark.
“Hondjie, ek dink ons moet nou huistoe gaan!”
In the dark, she and Umjoji had found an old shed, not too far from our house. She lay down and fell asleep on an old dirty mattress. That was when Umjoji had left her, assuming she knew the way home.

From that moment onwards, the ‘well intended visit’ changed for the better, and the nature of the prayers changed to prayers of thanksgiving. Needless to say everyone enjoyed their ‘boerie’ roll breakfast, and the Middelberg’s  celebrated Karin’s birthday with great joy.

The family will never forget their experience on Paardeplaats and I’m sure, Elizca will never forget her experience with her friend Umjoji.

 An adder out of Eden:

Same story – plenty of excitement and bravado: ‘Wow, what a day!’

A year ago we were in Pretoria, on one of our normal doctor / business / visiting routines with children and family. Lucas was holding the fort, on Paardeplaats. – Phone call: ‘Sir, Umjoji has had a fight with a snake. The snake is dead but I think it bit him on the mouth’. The snake was a puff adder, and Umjoji was very proud of his trophy – wagging his tail and panting as usual.

We phoned Anthony the Vet from Pretoria, to tell him the story and our predicament; We were away from home etc: ‘don’t worry I’ll drive out and have a look’ Two days later, we’re back home and get the full story:
Umjoji had killed the snake, which had bitten him. Anthony drove out,  injected him with anti-venom, put him into his bakkie, on the front seat, (VIP treatment), with a photo to prove it. He was placed on a drip and was kept at the Vet for 24 hours (more VIP treatment). I really love this man! So, ‘Don’t anybody ever touch him, cause he’s my friend!’

So taai soos ʼn ratel:

Paardeplaats has many Honey Badgers, that tend to wonder around in the evening and at night, I suppose, looking for something to eat, which is quite normal.
One evening at about 7pm when it was just beginning to get dark, Gerda arrived  home, in her normal boisterous, busy fashion. She stepped out of her car with the normal ‘hello Ma se klein kinders – hoe gaan dit met my honde?’, with plenty of French commentary in between – Lots of (over) excitement. All of a sudden, Umjoji, in the confusion, breaks away and streaks off like lightening, giving chase to something in the dark?
The ‘big voice’ is not there to stop him! Further up the hill, about 100 meters distant, a big commotion ensues. There’s no ‘tjanking’ but lot’s of goings on!
Gerda runs off to help. She finds him in serious combat with a creature, which in turn, out of fright, let’s go of Umjoji and darts off into the dark. Umjoji’s snout is covered in blood, with quite a few teeth marks around the nose. Again, same pattern, tail wagging, panting. Great pride. ‘I’m just trying to defend you, but what fun!’ The creature was a Honey Badger.

On several occasions under similar circumstances, he also ‘defended’ Gerda against a civet which was resident in the area near our carport. I’m sad to say that we know it was a civet, because he and Pampata recently killed it, when Gerda was out for a walk. Unfortunately he does not seem to understand Gerda’s tears and anger, when he does this. More tail wagging and panting.    ‘You can’t win em all’!

A leopard never changes it’s spots:

On Christmas Day in 2013, we had guests staying in our guest lodge for the festive period.
As was mostly the case, Umjoji, preferred the company of the guests, mostly because there were children involved.
So when Stephanie and Arrie decided to go for a walk with the children, guess who joined them? They took the ‘Klipspringer Route’ towards the ‘old mine shaft’, when all of a sudden, and with quite a commotion a young, but startled leopard jumped up and dashed off for its life. Of course Umjoji gave chase and again, the ‘big voice’, was not there to stop him. The terrified animal raced down the hill towards the waterfall, with the dog in hot pursuit. The leopard dashed up a tree, to escape the demon, but Umjoji managed to grab hold of a paw, and hung on for all he was worth. We will never know the full outcome, but the leopard managed to get rid of Umjoji, and he arrived back at the lodge an hour later, wagging his tail, and panting with great pride as usual.

I think that Umjoji should thank his lucky stars that the element of surprise was in his favour, on this occasion. He’s no match for a leopard! Even a young one. 

Brian’s Problem:

Isn’t it strange how one’s pets grow on you like your children?

Its October 2015. Umjoji is now 10 years and 1 month old, he still looks well, although he’s losing weight – his ribs are showing, and he is not himself. He’s down to 25kg. He sleeps a lot and we’re all concerned.  I put him into my bakkie, on the front seat (VIP treatment again) and we leave for his friend, Anthony.
Diagnosis: A grade 4 heart murmur, he might live for another 6 months or with luck, even a year, but this will be the end of the line for him.
The ‘happy hunting ground’ beckons. On reflection, I suppose, that all his physical exertion, must have had a negative effect. He has been placed on a prescription diet for dogs with heart problems, plus pills to improve his blood flow.  This has all happened so suddenly and so unexpectedly.
He looked so strong a month ago?, when he killed that civet and Gerda reprimanded him – with those ‘hang dog’ eyes – to say ‘I’m sorry!’  

Blissful peace. Asleep with his friends Pampata & Lilo (July 2015)

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  Brian’s thoughts, and pain:

My friend, you have been such a blessing to us as a family, we have all had such wonderful times together. We have such rich and full memories of our life’s journey together. You have been a wonderful companion, and friend, for us. I’m no longer so sure, who was blessed those 10 years ago.
Was it you, or was it perhaps us? We were often rather angry with you, because your enthusiasm got out of hand. We often considered using that horrible thing called a ‘choke chain’ to enforce discipline.  Thank heavens we didn’t!
We might have taught you some lessons in your life, but you have taught us a lot too – and ‘nogal’ without words!
We see your example of unconditional love – it’s very good!
We see your loyalty and that’s good.
You place no demands, that’s good.
You’re very brave with no self pity – that’s good.
As God said on the seventh day – “and it was good!”
Umjoji you have taught us a lot! We thank you, for being who you are! We will not let you suffer. We will never forget you! You’re a ‘Good Boy’! We have not told our children, of the bad news yet, because we know that it will upset them, and they will cry. Umjoji still looks at me with those ‘hang dog eyes’ when I pat and scratch him, as if to say ‘Thanks, I love you’.

A man & his dog, overlooking Masjienkloof.

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Sunday 21st February 2016:  Umjoji’s weight is down to 20kg. He does have a heart murmur! But there must be something else wrong – very wrong! His weight loss is too dramatic, he has got a few lumps around his head, ears and neck – I suppose cancer? Today he did not eat at all.
He looks at us with those beautiful but pleading eyes. I think he is telling us that his time has come, and that he is ready! With lots of tears we make the painful decision that tomorrow, early, we will take him off to his friend Anthony, for some sound advice.

Monday 22nd February 2016: I phone Umjoji’s friend Anthony: he says he will come out to the farm at 16h30, to have a look – To preserve Umjoji’s self dignity, we will spare him the embarrassment of going to the vet’s rooms, in his condition.
The diagnosis is that Umjoji is suffering from kidney failure, as a result of his ‘heart murmur’. His time has come! ‘Yours Truly’, Gerda and Lucas sit down with Anthony and Umjoji. We stroke him. We talk to him, we reassure him. He loves the attention. He loves us!!! The tears flow uncontrollably,  and at 17h00 Anthony does what he has to do.
Within less than a minute, Umjoji is relieved of his pain and suffering, and he has found real peace!

We lay him to rest under a lone tree overlooking the ‘Finsbury Valley’. One of his favourite places on the farm – His cool, resting spot, when he was exhausted after running with me and my tractor.

Umjoji, we will remember you for who you were. Thanks for your unconditional love and loyalty. Thanks for the fun and games, we had, together. You have been a wonderful friend and companion. We love you and will miss you terribly. Enjoy the ‘happy hunting ground’.

This goodbye is so very painful, for us,  because you were part of our family!
You will live on in our memories!
God bless you Umjoji!!!   Good boy!  You can lick me!

 

HAMBA GAHLE UMJOJI!

Easter ‘Son Rise’ Service Sunday 27th March 2016

‘Sonrise’ Service

Paardeplaats Jesus Hill

Sunday 27th March 2016

 Hallelujah, the Son has risen!

On Easter Sunday 27th March at 6am, more than 100 enthusiastic people gathered at the ‘Jesus Hill’ cross on Paardeplaats, to worship the most important event on the Christian calendar.
Both young and old, locals and visitors, of all races creeds and cultures, braved the cold and the dark to climb the hill and celebrate the ‘good news’ that the ‘Son has risen’.

Hymns were sung and Pastor Andre Hanekom of the Full Gospel Church, delivered a powerful message that our Lord has indeed risen and that we do not worship a dead God!
As the sun rose at 06h15 there was a very touching and inspiring silence of a minute, held,   as everyone contemplated what He did  for us.

We have been holding this service on Easter Sunday, on the ‘Jesus Hill’ for the past 6 years, and will certainly continue doing so in the future. There will be a similar service held at ‘Penticost’ on Sunday 15th May at 3pm. This service will be held as part of ‘The World Day of Prayer’ when millions of people throughout the world will be praying.
All will be welcome.

Diarise this and let’s join together to make a difference in our own town and country.