I’ll be heading to the Caribbean

2nd July 2014

James Bailey working at his makeshift desk outside his tent at Makuleke, Kriger National Park

Tuesday 24th June to Wednesday 2nd July 2014

I haven’t exactly pushed the boat out for my last bit of leave before my year out comes to an end. Rather than heading off to new places and doing amazing things for a week I simply decided to lie up in Hoedspruit. I checked into my favourite guest house (Hoed & Berg) down there and worked incredibly hard at doing nothing. Camp life is pretty full on with little time to yourself so it was just what the doctor ordered.

This was probably a waste but I felt I needed it. I got stuck into some reading, did some study and watched an inordinate amount of TV, way too much including some really rubbish films. I watched a bit of Wimbledon on the tele, sad not to be there, it’s always so much fun when the biggest tennis show on earth comes to sleepy little Southfields.

Despite my TV marathon I did get out for a run each day. Running up and down the roads isn’t much fun for my knees but the road names made it worthwhile. I personally would love to live on Giraffe Street or Duiker or Blesbok, but maybe not Ferret Street.

Running around town does bring with it a few unusual sights. My run takes me past the ProTrack offices, one of the anti poaching operators. They have a display on their front lawn indicating how many rhino have been poached in South Africa so far this year. For each one of these magnificent animals that has been killed for its horn there is a small white cross. There’s simply too many to count so they’re forced to write out the number in black and white. Tragically it stands at 430 so far this year. In a couple of days time this will probably be 433 give the current rate.


I didn’t come across too many other runners on my travellers but there was one guy who sticks in my memory. I was running up the main street in when I see a man running towards me. He was wearing a pair of shorts, t-shirt, floppy hat and a ruck sack. This on its own wasn’t too strange, the strangeness was that he was jogging a long holding a big and mean looking machine gun. He didn’t appear to be military so I wasn’t sure what to make of him. However, there was nobody chasing him, we said our good mornings and went our separate ways.

In between drifting from coffee shop to book shop to coffee shop and the occasional pub I had time to think. This surely is never a good thing and my conclusion was quite depressing. My year living the dream of being a safari guide is almost up. I knew that of course but my realisation was that if you live your dream in this way when that year is up that is the end of it.

I’m well aware that thinking about the future brings anxiety and that I should be living in the now. However, I’d be foolish if I didn’t have a plan for when I get back or at least start to concoct one. With this in mind I’ve been sorting out some cricket to play and watch when I’m back home. I’ve entered my details on a house sitting website, I shouldn’t really be living with my parents at the age of 39 but I will enjoy it for a little while. But the icing on the cake will be spending three weeks in the Caribbean with my brother and his wife. Actually going back isn’t going to be too bad.

My culinary skills either hit a new low this week or I’ve created something very special, it certainly tasted good. Two minute noodles with sweet chilli sauce and a couple of dairy lea triangles melted through.