Our year in review - 2021

Posted on Fri December 31, 2021.

In our busy lives, days, weeks and months blend into a blur, and you don't always remember the good stuff.

We decided to do our year in pictures, and we think this needs to become an annual thing.  It's so good looking back at the year, to see what you have achieved, the friends you've made and the strides you've taken.  The video is great, but take a read, it will make a whole lot more sense if you do.  

It was quite amazing starting the year off with this picture requested by Ed Herbst.  In the middle of our so-called rainy season, the garden and the lawn looked really dreary.  We took a trip to the trophy trout waters north of Cradock, and the scene wasn’t much better.  You could only feel for the farmers, that have to try to keep livestock fed and watered…they all deserve a medal!  Kareerbosch was fishing out of its socks, but the writing was on the wall – this water wasn’t going to last if the rains didn’t come soon.

We took a little break in January and visited a game lodge (yes, we do this for fun too!) north of Johannesburg, and man, what a difference in vegetation and rainfall! The grass was so long, that it was a struggle to see zebras and gemsbok.  Its amazing what good rains can do!

February held a lot of promise, with beautiful cool and misty days, but alas, the rains, the real rains, didn’t come. Whilst visiting Kuzuko lodge, on the northern side of Addo, we could see that the veld was really struggling, and was in desperate need of the summer rains.

March is a wonderful time of year.  Nice warm days, and the nights starting to cool down in anticipation of autumn.  It’s also the month in which we get to experience Sterkfontein dam, near Harrismith in the Free State. This is an incredible yellowfish fishery, with crystal clear water and world class sight fishing.  But back to the Eastern Cape, and the drought is still in full swing, so we set off to Kareerbosch again.  An incredible fishery, and an incredible day, spent with some really special people.

The rainy season is over, but that’s why indigenous plants are so important, they are adapted to the environment, and can survive, even in the toughest times.  It is said that the Karoo is best appreciated on your knees, and this is so prevalent during droughts, because even though the veld looks dry, there is always a little bit of life, you just need to get onto the right level to see it. It was quite incredible, we thought the rainy season was over, but got some really nice rains in April, just enough to see the farmers through the winter, but also, just enough for the locusts to start becoming a problem.  They’re still around (in December), causing havoc wherever they go.

Fast forward to winter…is this when all the birds come out, or are we just starting to notice them?  With all the travel restrictions, International visitors have been scarce, but that doesn’t stop us going out and exploring the area.  Visiting the fishing waters, checking on their status, and taking in a game drive along the way.  And every now and then, we get to experience something extra special.  In February it was Kuzuko Lodge, and in August we got to visit Samara Private Game Reserve.  It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! 

On our travels during the year, we found some very…interesting animals; the strangest Wildebeest we’ve ever seen, and then a Gemsbok that wasn’t a Gemsbok.

October – consolidation.  Staying at home, no flitting all over the place, finishing off the bar cabinets at the Angler and Antelope Guesthouse, and spending some time trying to get the Walter Battiss Foundation on its feet.  The pandemic really has hit the non-profit hard, with not as many feet through the door, and as it’s privately run and funded, the donations and entrance fees are really important.  We managed to find a donor to help with some of the big expenses this year – extremely grateful! Now we can keep the doors open for a little longer! 

And then November came, and with it, some rain.  And then some more rain, and some more and some more and some more 😊.  Big smiles all round!  We don’t want to speak too soon, but the wonderful squishing sound when you walk on your lawn after yet another storm, makes the power outages due to trees fighting with powerlines bearable!  It’s been a long time since we had to plan our outings around the possibility of rain, but we are relishing it.  The area is looking beautiful and green, ready to start 2022 on a high note.  We’re looking forward to taking it by the horns!