Didnt feel so crash hot waking up this morning, stomach was doing acrobatics and contortions, then tightening and getting heavy then id feel faint. And it would be the worst day for it to happen to considering we were having plans made against us to go and get lost in the bush! Felt a bit better around 1 then crap again about an hour later - WHEN IT MATTERED.
Frikkie sat us all down and put us through “Harnas Survival” where he took out his hugemongous sheets of paper on a large easel and told us that we would be sent out in groups with a compass and piece of paper to tell us how far to walk in which direction for out next ‘clue’.
By that night we should have ended up at a campsite where we would have out BBQ dinner. We were drawn a rough map of the whole farm which we basically knew already, shown where we might be starting (each group was starting in a different spot around the 12+kms of the property). Next page was a list of the animals we might run into and what to do if we did. The animals out there in the lifeline aren’t as ‘people oriented’ as the ones in the farm. So, “don’t run or scream if you run into a leopard or cheetah, Jackal’s are the only animals on the farm that carry rabies so try not to get bit by them, make note of that for the snakes too, but its fine if you do because if you stay calm and send someone to get help, while leaving someone to stay with you we’ll find you before you die within the 6 hours.” I knew it was all just a ‘freak out’ to help us bond as a group and have something in common for the rest of the time we had at Harnas.
Frikkie also went through a few other things like what we should and should not take in our backpacks; “Perhaps take a sleeping bag and box of matches or lighter in case you don’t make it to camp and have to rough it out. Also, I’m limiting each group to one 1Lt bottle of water.” Apparently we don’t need water, and when you start with a sip of water, you feel like you need it constantly after. Fair call.
I felt sorry for the 3 new people who arrived yesterday, they’ve just been thrown in the deep end here. No friendly introduction, just a really rushed one, then a super quick run down on food prep which we had to get done quite quickly in order to have an early lunch and start the afternoon ‘activity’. By the time Frikkie finished his introduction to Harnas survival talk it was roughly about 2:30 pm.
He told us to go somewhere in our groups and sort out a plan of what we should take and who should take and do what etc. Then we set out in 3 different utes to take us out to our designated starting spots. One group got dropped off pretty much straight outside the double gates of the farm and lifeline and our car and another one kept on going... and going and going and going.
We would have got half way to the front gates at least! Still felt like crap.
We waited at the spot we were to start at for Frikkie to give us further instructions. He gave us a piece of paper with a direction and number of kilometres on it and told us to wait 10 minutes before we set off.
Haha, wait?! I think not!! We were in competition! So as soon as the cars were out of sight, so were we. The first part was hell, I felt really bad but once we had been walking for about 15 minutes I started to feel better... go figure?! After about 10 minutes walking NW through thick bush we got to a road which we were told to follow North for 2kms. It took us to the Dam house where we go to watch Lost. Mikkel had picked her up earlier. The only reason I knew this was because I ‘overheard’ them talking before we set out. I also knew she wouldn’t be around because they tell us to ‘run’ from the car into the house when we get there while she’s distracted by Mikkel. (Mikkel was there at Harnas when she was a cub and slept out with her pretty much every night, so she’s got a bond with him) So having said that, there’s pretty much no way in hell that they would let us out there by ourselves with these animals.
Even though I wouldn’t mind it as an experience... if i returned lol, Leopards are awesome!!
At the dam house our instructions told us to look up for our next clue, and there is was, in a brown sack hanging from the top of the windmill. Lovely. So we sent Rob up there with someone’s pocket knife and he cut it off and we watched =D. In it was a can of diet coke, a bottle of pina colada premix and a very very very melted spearmint chocolate. Oh, and baboon mielipop for flavour! Blech! Our next directions were to travel West from the house to the horses and cows that congregate down that end. So we did. The paper said “follow a track that many have followed before” .. exact words! So when we got to the bush there was a path. Would it not be logical to follow?! Off we went.
We were supposed to find a few things as well as out ‘lost team member’ (1 person who was sent out to be found) and after 700 meters there was nothing. So we tracked back and tried another fork in the path, all the while hearing a car circle around the outside roads. We knew they were after us to make sure we were on track and guessing that there was nothing around here im guessing we weren’t exactly on the right track lol. We trekked back to where we started and Frikkie was in one of the utes on the main road and called us over. “What does it say?!” he said. We read it out and he asked how we ended up in the bush. His explanation was that he ‘meant’ well tracked my people not animals, and that we had to follow another road to get to that road. Well come ‘on Frikkie, what are we?! Psychic? Lol ok anyway he set us off on the right path again - his mistake, but he’ll never admit it.
We found Kerrianne, and our ‘few things’ that we had to take with us; A large tank full of water, 2 small wooden logs and a broken wheelbarrow. What the hell?! What on earth did we do to deserve this?! We then had to walk North for 2kms through drastically thick bush (no word of a lie) until we got to a road. What must have been over an hour later, we were still walking through the bush, having found no road to then turn West on. The wheelbarrow was extremely heavy and the logs had ants and spiders entangled within them and the tank was like carrying nothing because we used out initiative and poured the water out...over a particular someone who asked for it, who by some coincidence is writing this blog!! Well it was a hot day and we’d been walking heaps so why not?! As we stopped for a carry changeover break a couple of us heard voices and decided to screw the directions and follow the sounds lol.
Yeah, its not called cheating, considering out previous directions were faulty there was no guarantee that we could count on these ones right!? The sun had just set and the voices seemed too far but not entirely close either, and the bush was ridiculously thick and thorny and ...damaging so I decided to give an Aussie yell; “COOOOOOEEEEEEE” I shouted and everyone we were all stoked to get a reply; “WOOOOOO”. Frikkie and Valentine had brought Lisa and Willis out to look for the two groups that hadn’t arrived yet. One of them being us. They had just set out though so we weren’t too far away...still far enough to have a rough walk to the campsite through large thorn bushes. We finally got to the site about 20 minutes later. With Lisa and Willis leading us though, I was quite surprised we managed to get back at all. We arrived, put whatever we took down, and started on building our groups fire to cook dinner.
I was content with salad but threw in a hand looking for dry bush anyway. Even though I felt better I don’t think a meat and melted garlic butter on hot bread would have gone down too well. The third group arrived about 25 minutes after us led by Mikkel who later said he spent an hour looking for them. After dinner and drinks we all sat around the bonfire and later set our sleeping bags on the tarmac set up and slept under the stars of the Namibian bush.
Today’s lesson: Thornbushes are the absolute killer of Africa. They are the most dangerous thing ever.
..no not ever... E-V-E-R!! Forget the cheetahs, baboons, lions and zebras its the stupid, stupid thornbushes.