Greetings from RJB6.
The sight of Christmas related food products when visiting my local supermarket last week jolted my attention to the time of year with as much surprise as a close encounter with a reptile! Mid October and Christmas is knocking on the door with purpose!
I have to say that 45 C days spent in the Swaziland low veld during December makes a mockery of the image of Santa Claus arriving at the chimney with his herd of reindeer dripping ice and snow flakes. If there was any truth to this story, I am certain Santa Claus would suffer heat exhaustion long before crossing the Lavumisa border and the reindeer would have more than likely gone on strike long before that!
I wonder how long it takes before my kids start questioning this suspect tale!
So let’s see – it has certainly been some time since my last estate update. Despite my quarterly newsletters morphing suspiciously into biannual updates – at least I have some content to include for all you investors out there.
As predictable as the rising and setting sun, the green veld was replaced by some dry and cold times in what is one of the longest winter periods I can remember here in the Kingdom. A distinct lack of humour was highly visible in our game population with conditions being so dry that any drop of moisture attracted the unwanted attention of shiny bottle flies and African bees. A quick toilet stop in the bush last month during a run almost turned into a potentially highly uncomfortable situation as African bees swarmed towards my mid-region! I must have moved quicker than a striking pofadder as I managed to avoid their pursuits.
No rain has touched the land here since March earlier in the year and the scorched black earth of our mosaic and block burning initiatives showed little recovery up to the end of September. During the winter months we also breezed through a variety of Acacia blossoms and the magical beauty of the Aloe Marlothii in July. Then the clear skies changed and in rolled the cumulus and nimbostratus clouds signalling the end to the drought. Last Sunday we were blessed with a thunderstorm, high winds and good rain which has jump started the growth period and already green flushes of grass twinkle in the rays of the morning and setting sun.
Both a leopard sighting on Mpangele road and a leopard kill found near Gumbi’s pan signal their attraction to the protected sanctuary we try so hard to create in RJB6. Recent buffalo sightings confirm the bovine presence as we now lay claim to 2 of the Big 5. Rhino populations and elephant herds a short
gasp across the border move us closer to the Big 5 status objectives. Of course we must not forget the striped tiger fish and I can say that some good sizes have been coming out over the past 2 months. Check out some of the catches below.
Ryan Goss, lodge 84 – 5,2kgs caught on 21st August using a popper in Northern tip of dam.
Size and bait unknown, caught near Mapivene slipway.
Dick Barkhuizen, guests to lodge 526 – size unknown, caught on rapala trawling past Mapivene slipway.
Ross Montgomery, lodge 39 – 3.76 kgs caught on 5th October.
This is certainly positive signs ahead of Tiger Fishing Spring Festival to be held at RJB6 on 24 – 25 October. Literally a handful of days away, we have over 50 anglers on 14 boats confirmed so far. All accommodation on site has been fully booked and we look forward to an enjoyable couple of days on the water with all those attending.
Another water related issue to notify you on is a fishing charter that will be running boat and skipper hire from RJB6. I have ordered a local D7 Wave Glider cathedral hull boat for this purpose which can fish up to 6 and game view up to 8 on a cruise. Please call (082 442 0290) or email me (email@example.com) for more information on rates and availability.
On our estate side, we have been plodding away at upgrading the marina breakwaters. Further upgrades have been done to staff accommodation in the security and labourer compounds. Continuous maintenance is done to perimeter fences, roads, treatment plant, estate vehicles and machinery as well as the creation of new roads into unexplored areas. Crocodile track off Mara Way on the Western shores leads directly to the dam edges and makes for some solid crocodile sightings.
The TLB has been on a long term contract to Crookes Plantations near Big Bend. All valuable income for the LOA.
A solar operated pump has been installed at Funga Village to increase water flow and save on future costs. This will also mean the hopeful resurrection of our attempts at the live bait reservoir and of course a water supply to Motolo’s pan as you exit Funga on the North side of the road.
Well besides that, the other big news has to be the recent visit to meet King Mswati III at his palace in Nhlangano. I know you all received notification of this visit soon after the event but let me tell you what an intense experience it was. With any potential visit to HMK, it is imperative to bring a gift and in our case we purchased 3 x Bonsmara heifers from a local cattle farmer North of us. They were beautiful beasts and definitely caught many admiring glances from King Mswati’s livestock men as well as other visitors.
In order to document this auspicious occasion, I asked someone to take a picture of Mike Oldfield and I next to our gift. Anyone who knows our Chairman, will also know that he is usually well turned out to any event and this was no exception. However in his haste to get the ‘’shot’’, Mike managed to stand within excretion distance from our ‘’gift’’ and was serenaded by some fresh dung splattering of the trailer side bars. Hence the lack of a blazer! See below……………………………..
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