I am not exactly sure how Chris or his dad Pieter Gunther heard about me. Chris is a good friend off Pieter Adendorff and through social media, I was invited to visit ‘Stillerust’ Game Farm, near Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal. Stillerust is Afrikaans and means as much as ‘Tranquil Rest’.
This farm covers about 80 km’s of dirt tracks through thick bush, grassy plains and up to mountain Hnumbe.
It was all about camping, watching wildlife and meeting new Afrikaans friends, with German descendant. This wasn’t exactly how things turned out.
From Dina and Dirk’s farm, I left south to Newcastle. There I needed to finish off insurance for Zimba, which included the installment off a tracking system. Once I passed Botha’s Pass, I noticed the the ‘Madman’ turbo diesel gauge was running hot, which was most unusual. After pulling over for a wee while, it cooled down again and I continued my drive a little confused and anxious. The car tracker installment took a bit longer as expected from the very friendly team at ‘Streetwire’. I didn’t really mind, but made plans to be at ‘Stillerust’ in late afternoon. Zimba gathered a lot of attention again and owner Aden started chatting about his old fashioned bakkie and the good old times they had. Eventually, job well done and I cruised further south and passed through Dundee. Just before I reached the turn-off to the game farm, the turbo diesel gauge ran hot again, very hot. Something definitely isn’t right and I got somewhat worried.
I met Pieter Gunther at the farm and shortly after a brief hello, he lead the way to the campground as the sun already set. I tried to stay focused on Pieter’s friendliness, but Zimba’s engine clearly was on my mind. It was a beautiful setting on the foothill of mountain Hnumbe, which means thunder in Zulu language. The easterly gusty winds were chilly and thunderstorms were on the horizon. Great to watch and eased my mind a little.
Early morning start and with a coffee in my hand, I checked Zimba’s cooling water, oil and steering wheel oil. There was way too much oil in the engine and it looked very dirty, some spat out over the engine block. The steering wheel fluid had run dry too. Not a good sign. When Pieter came around a short while later, I told him what happened and that I am concerned about my 4 wheel bakkie friend. We were gonna go on a game drive, but the sensible thing to do was getting Zimba looked after.
Fortunately, he knew a very good mechanic in town, to where we drove to shortly after. As soon as Koos opened the bonnet, he realised a lot of things were wrong and/or untidy. Bolts of the head gasket weren’t tightened, oil filter dirty and loose but most importantly, the ‘pully’ was very loose. According to him, it wouldn’t have lasted another 100 km’s. The sad and frustrating part of this is that Zimba just underwent a mechanical makeover over at Newcastle’s car mechanic Bobby, which I paid a good 10000 Rand for. Obviously a bad and expensive mistake, which could have turned out even worse. We left Zimba in Koos’ capable hands and hoped that he would be able to fix everything needed.
I met Pieter’s son Chris briefly at the Game farm. Just to explain what the word game farm means; wild game has been bought in and populated this vast land. They retain wild, just like in a National Park. People from all over the world ‘holiday’ here and go hunting for wild game. Some people go skiing, some surfing, others go hunting. One has to respect other people’s hobbies.
These farms are closely monitored by hunting and government agencies. All parts off the animal are used, nothing gets wasted. A lot of work goes in to keeping these healthy and fair game to everyone. In the last few years foreign hunters, and tourism in general, have dropped after the announcement from former president that white farmers will be chased off their farms, possibly being killed. Let’s not kid ourselves, there is a risk and it has happened to a lot of farmers already. But with the new president, there is new hope for a better future for ALL South Africans. Hunting is still very popular in South Africa with people from all across the globe visiting.
This is a safe and friendly environment in spectacular nature. Luxury chalets accommodation and typical hearty South African food is served. More info under www.aloeafricahunting.com
Anyhoe, back to my visit here. We got stuck in mud on another outing. I don’t want to get in to it too much, but there were loads of similarities to when I was a passenger getting stuck outside Belo sur Mer in Madagascar. Son Chris and the American hunting party pulled us out with the winch. I am fairly certain, they had a cheeky smirk on their faces.? It just wasn’t a day for cars.
We picked Zimba up late afternoon again. Koos worked his magic and Zimba is ready for more adventures. This time I felt confident. He couldn’t believe that another mechanic would do such a lousy job for very good money. Neither could I, but reminded myself, that I am in South Africa. Glück im Unglück, as the German saying goes. Lucky it happened here. Lucky I was.
Pieter and his wife Margarete offered me to stay in the doll house, which I gratefully accepted.
I got happily greeted by three dogs. Young Rotweiler ‘Rommel’ was the first to come over. Anyone who knows some history can imagine where the name came from, even though he wasn’t the size off a desert fox.
‘Vlooi’, a long-haired Dackel stood uncertain in safe distance. ‘Boerbull’, an African hunting breed massive dog just watched from the distance.
He gotten a bit old to move to much. I got to meet grandson Pieter and granddaughter Anke. Both challenged me for a game of ping pong.
They had plenty of practice and hit the ball expertly.
Happy and playful kids without a worry in the world. Great to see.