My original plan was to spend the week in the Kruger but seen as I was out now I thought I may as well carry on up to Hoedspruit and enjoy the comforts of home. I checked into my usual guest house, Hoed and Berg for four nights.
When you live in a tent it’s great to unpack properly and go into “nesting” mode, so this is what I did. Once I was settled in I dropped course mate Ben a line, we met up that night with some of his fellow rangers at Sleepers. It was a good night but oh my, there are some weird people that hang out there. Present company accepted of course.
Ever since I arrived in South Africa Hoedspruit has been the place that we went for supplies, leave and any other necessities such as pizza. It soon became a home from home.
It’s very much a safari town, you’d be hard pressed not to realise you were in the heart of bush-land with all the game viewers buzzing up and down the main streets as well as seeing the various guides in khaki popping into the shops with a knife or Leatherman hanging from their belt. Then there are the anti-poaching crew in their camouflaged fatigues stocking up on smokes and other suppliers to take back into the bush.
Whilst I love being in the bush you do need to come into town to sort out your personal affairs. Having reliable internet is important for banking and visiting Pick n’ Pay for toiletries is unavoidable. I also had a speeding fine to pay, this was so easy, in fact it’s the easiest beauriocratic thing that I’ve had to do since I arrived in South Africa. I wish everything else worked like this, but then it probably would if you were giving the government money for nothing.
My last day in Hoedspruit was a complete write off. I pretty much spent the whole day in bed watching movies, cricket and rugby. I’m not sure what was wrong with me but I spent the night throwing up and I felt horrible all day with dizzy spells whenever I tried to haul myself out.
It certainly wasn’t caused by alcohol, far from it. Ben came over the night before and booked himself into the guest house so we could have a big night out. However, we only got as far as the pizza place before we reached the conclusion we were both shattered and opted for an early night.
There are only two months left before I return home, it’s close now, so close in fact that I’m actually ready to head home now to see friends and family. It may have been because I’d been ill that I felt like this but as I left Hoedspruit to return to camp I was heading back with some trepidation, I had that Sunday night back to school feeling. This was by no means because I don’t enjoy it, far from it I love it up there. But what I will miss is the connectivity with the outside world, that’s something I’m going to have to get used to again over the next month or two. But once I am used to it, it’s pretty blissful.
However, this all changed when I pulled through the Orpen Gate back in to Kruger. As I drove along the tar road I was imagining stepping into the yellowed grass as I set off on my first trail when back at Makuleke. This was full of the knowledge that every step I would take could lead me to yet another amazing experience that will live with me forever.