Back to Africa Chapter 6


August 7, 2007, 02:40 PM
That afternoon, when we arrived back at the Lodge, Paul and Iain were still out goose shooting, Sharyn and Max were shopping in East London, so rather than deplete Andrewís beer supply further, I thought I would have a nap. Setting my alarm for 1700hrs, I dozed off and remember waking up at one point and scratching my stomach, as I did, I realised that I had a tick attached to me and removed it, showering, then bathing the site of the bite with medical alcohol gel and then antiseptic cream. I gave it no more thought.

When everyone returned from their respective activities, the bar began to fill up and the happy banter of tired, satisfied hunters and hunting companions filled the air and continued to do so until we were called to the dinner table.

It is a tradition at Rentons Lodge that the last dayís dinner is a seafood dinner and that morning, Andrewís wife Sharyn and Paulís wife Max, had been down to the fish market at East London to purchase the ingredients. Shrimp, scallops, two types of fish, prawns and calamari, along with braised lamb chops and all the salads and vegetables you could wish for. All served up in a heady atmosphere of a hunt now over.

This is a few of the group just prior to departure. Tom, Paul, Heather, her PH husband Dave and Iain. Dave had been giving pistol shooting lessons to Tom, Paul and Max an hour or two previous. They enjoyed the opportunity to fire a Ruger .357 Magnum immensely as no such opportunity exists in U.K., since a Governmental handgun ban in 1997.

The next morning, Andrew and Sharyn drove us into East London, where we were booked into very nice chalet type hotel, on the river bank overlooking the bay. There we had lunch and settled our debts with Andrew for a real value for money hunt.

Our party had, as is our custom, invited our hosts, the PHs and their wives/girlfriends to join us at a restaurant on the sea front for dinner, a gesture to express our thanks for the manner in which we had been looked after the preceding ten days. This was a very happy occasion with much noise and laughter. I shudder to think what the other patrons thought. But heck, thatís up to them.

We made our goodbyes to PHs Allan and Dave and their respective partners and went back to the hotel for our last night in East London.

After a lazy breakfast, we were picked up by Andrew and Sharyn and taken to the airport to catch our flight to Cape Town, where we would spend two days before leaving South Africa for U.K.

Flight formalities, even carrying firearms, are painless in RSA and a short nap later, I woke up landing at Cape Town. We were staying in a four star hotel, in St. Georges Mall, in the city centre. I had managed to book it on the internet at the unbelievable price of £45 ($90) for my room and £48 ($96) for a family room for Paul, Max and Tom, inclusive of breakfast, for two days. We even got a late check out till 1800hrs on the day of departure. (£1=$2 at the exchange rate of the day)
Iain has been visiting Cape Town for a number of years and he knows the city well. He was our tour guide and he took us up to the top of Table Mountain, via the cable car. The view from there is amazing.

Itís a long way down.

Max and Tom were there.

Iain, Roebuck and Paul.

Paul and Max.

We also explored the huge shopping and restaurant area of Victoria and Albert Waterfront Area and a couple of gun shops. A great place for a shopaholic or just for someone who enjoys their food and drink. Everything is reasonably priced and good value.

Itís a truism that time does fly and before we knew it, Iain was waving us goodbye at the hotel door. He was staying one more night, flying back to London the next morning.

Once again, the check in procedure was smooth and easy and we were soon boarding the plane for home. As I sat waiting for the plane to take off, I reflected on how fortunate I am to have enjoyed such a wonderful hunting experience, with truly good friends and welcoming and caring hosts. Making new friends is almost mandatory on these trips and this one was no exception. The introduction to Mike and Don, from South Carolina (I had an E-mail from Mike yesterday, confirming he and his wife will come to Scotland in September, to hunt the elusive red stag and roe buck with me) and Allan the PH, with whom I exchange at least weekly E-mails. As for the Renton family? They have now moved up into the old friend category.

Now you know, and I know, that the heart is just a big muscle pump. But we all believe that it is the centre of our being. From there springs the real, intense feelings we have for our wife, girlfriend, children and buddies, our country, our way of life, our faith and our principles. And we often say that we have left our heart here there and everywhere. That is certainly true of me. I have left my heart in the highlands of Scotland, that is my culture and heritage; I have left my heart in the bayous of Louisiana, where I was welcomed as a stranger, allowed to join in making Cajun music and made to feel one of the family; I left my heart with my hunting friends in Germany, whose respect and hospitality I sometimes wonder if I deserve; I left my heart in Texas, Oklahoma, New Zealand, Australia; and divers other places. The bulk of it, of course, remains at home, as is right and proper.

But a very special little bit will ever be, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

See you again. Same time, same place, next year.


Post script.

I arrived home on the Thursday. I had cleaned my tick bite site daily and applied antiseptic dressing. However, by the Sunday, I was having a small number of large, black, pimple-like eruptions called eschars round my waist. I suspected that I had contracted South African Tick Fever as I was very tired and my joints were aching too. I went to my doctor the next day, was prescribed doxycycline, the classic treatment and had a blood test. Two days after starting the antibiotics, the symptoms stopped and the eschars started to fade. I go back for another blood test tomorrow to make sure I am clear. They say that only one in sixty ticks carry the fever, I was just lucky that day!! Wish I was as lucky in raffles or the lottery!! Plus side was that I never did get the classic blinding headache symptom. Even if tick fever came with every trip, I would still go.

Further post script.

Since arriving back home, I have had some discussions with Kei River Hunting Safaris and we at my little company Kingstone Deer Management Services, have agreed to work together with Andrew Renton in representing Kei River Hunting Safaris in U.K. and parts of Europe. If you would like to know more about the Kei River experience, wherever you are, just contact me. Iíll be glad to help.

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Bottom Gun
August 7, 2007, 03:37 PM
Very well written story, Sir. Thank you for sharing it with us.

August 7, 2007, 05:21 PM
Thank you.


August 7, 2007, 05:51 PM
Great Story!

Looks like you had a great trip!


Don't consider me crass, but what does a trip like that cost for everything?

Semper Fidelis,


August 7, 2007, 06:07 PM
I would never assume anyone crass for asking a question Kent. Especially a US Marine. Most of us Brits appreciate what you and your comrades are doing for us in the current hot spots. Particularly us ex military types. My thanks and prayers go out to all the allied soldiers.

My trip cost me $8000 at current exchange rate. Add $840 for the air fare and another $2000 for front and back end.

That was for a trophy hunt with some high cost species.

A six animal management hunt, gun or bow costs $2790 plus flights and front and back end. Maybe anothe $1000 if you are not too extravagant. That would get you 2 x Warthog, 2 x Springbok, 2 Blesbok, 1 x Blue Wildebeest.

These would be cull animals. i.e. Young males and females. You could keep the skins, tusks or skull mounts at Kei River. Most outfitters don't allow any sort of trophy on a management hunt. E-mail me if you want further information.


August 8, 2007, 12:56 PM
great pics!

August 8, 2007, 01:29 PM
Glad you liked them one-shot-one


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