Early Saturday morning, Jan and I are on the spoor of our Rhino, we are making sure they are alive and well plus checking for foreign spoor, poachers spoor. Suddenly both Jan and I pull up short. We both heard a sound that no anti-poaching guy wishes to hear. The only worse sound would be a zip/buzz thump and then the bang. The shot sounded like it came from about a kilometer in the opposite direction from the path we were walking. Shit, shit. What to do? We are reasonably sure the Rhino are in front of us, but not 100% sure, do we back track and find the source of the gunshot or hasten to where we think our Rhino are? I decide to go find out about the shot. The terrain is thick bush, gullies and rocks so it takes time to get to the point where we believe the sound originated. We have cell phone comms and I call Neil to see if he fired a weapon as the shot came from the direction of the farmhouse, or so we believed. Neil is on his way to town, he calls his foreman, Lucas, and gets all the workers mobilized to find the Rhino. Brave lot these little Pedis, they dash off into the bush unarmed, not even a panga or knopkerrie. Meanwhile Jan and I reach the area we think the sound came from. Nothing. Then two more bangs! This time it sounds like from behind the farmhouse. I scan the hill, nothing. Jan and I decided to go back to the place we last saw the Rhino tracks. Again about a kilometre or so, on the way we pick up two of the farm workers, we set routes and split up. Half a kilometre later we find Lucas and the signs of where our Rhino slept last night. Finally the two workers find our Rhino, all safe, just stressed out about all the noise the workers have been making. Neil and I have had some cell phone comms and he is already back at the farm.
Because of the hills and the wind, Jan and I heard the sound echo and were in the wrong place, Lucas, closer to the sounds pin pointed it correctly but could not tell Jan and I in time as we were in a dead zone, no cell reception for some time. The farm behind us is not a game farm, perhaps they shot some pigs….
Point of this story? Any one that has worked with me in the bush before will verify that I am quite capable of doing this job, BUT, I am severely handicapped in my efficiency by lack of equipment and manpower. This was made glaringly apparent today.
This extract is from some Mexican Chronicles that are not published yet, but here is how to find the ones that are.
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