Adventure Log


02092019
Hallo
Hallo is is how you say hello in South African. Afrikaans. Not mind blowing right? Pronounce it it like you would say aloe, like the gel for a sunburn. It is 3 o clock in the morning here. I cannot sleep anymore tonight, but you get used to it. I am staying with Trevor Selke and his wife Mary here in Hazyview South Africa. There is a South African spider seriously as big as half of my foot looking at me right now. She wants about as much to do with me that I want to do with her. Which means nothing.
I have only been here one day. I flew from Denver to New York, stayed with friend Daniel there and then 14 hours from NY to Johannesburg, one hour from Jberg to Hazyview. That flight is not for eveyone. It was not crowded, but it was 14 hours. People get funny on flights that long. Crowds in the galley, snoring basically people just up giving a shit but everyone is on the same journey. Shoes off tired...exhausted and euphoric.
Rogue Outdoor, the hat company is located in Hazyview.  Tomorrow we will visit the factory, the next day after that we will head into Kruger national park. Trev used to be a ranger and knows everyone. 
Poaching is apparently bad. There are at all times twelve four man teams of poachers hunting rhinos in the park that they know of. Each team has a shooter, an guard, a tracker and and a steward. This is very sick. And that's only what they know of. If these guys get caught, they get out of it in court. Eveyone is paid off. Even though horns and ivory have no medical value, it is essentially a drug. There are dealers, bosses and sindicates. It begins and ends in china and Vietnam nam. This is a certainly a practice that needs to end. At the end of the day, you just don't kill rhinos and elephants for what you grow on your fingers, which is kerotine. That is what your finger nails are.
I am getting the inside baseball tour of the park tomorrow for two days. I am really excited, but at the same time I am getting the impression that I am going to see and hear some things about this poaching bull shit that will not be pleaseant. Either way, awareness is obviously key. The life that you find here is amazing. A rhino, an Egyptian goose, of course even the snakes...and that big ass spider that is still eyeballing me.  Life is to be respected and appreciated ...and only enjoyed if it lets you do so. The moose in Idaho wants its place as much as the lion does here in Africa. Both of them at the end of the day are watching us trash this planet though. And they know it.
Trevor, the owner of Rogue is 59 years old. He joined the company in 1986, which was his fathers then. He married Mary who grew up on a tobacco farm the next hill over. They have 3 kids, all around 30 ish, kind of like us. Married, they are having their own kids. They all live in Zambia, farming bananas and macadamia trees. It is a beautiful family. And everyone in South Africa is beautiful. Just a pretty people, the kind that you would see at the beach on a cruise in the Caribbean. And you can listen to them for hours with their accent. It is very pleasant. We had dinner last night. South Afrikaans are extremely political. They love Trump. They love their country but they are very afraid that people are taking it away from them. They sleep with loaded guns in their bedroom. They do not like china. They do not like Saudi Arabia. Their will always be a white black thing going on here, at least for the duration of my life. 
We will get along famously. It is nice to be a guest in someone's country and house. I am out of practice. TIA. With our family, we are always the hosts, Vail, Idaho, even when we travel, people stay with us in our hotels. You will laugh when I say, that staying with strangers really makes you want to behave.
I am staying at their house. It would remind eveyone of pinto. I will send pictures. 
Kit inspection. Every night here you unpack your bags, fold and organize all of your things. Chargers, knives, gloves, tee shirts camera, check.
Love you all and talk soon
Will Hart -out
02142019
Yesi!. A word that Mary basically made up to describe the concept of giddy up here in South Africa. Mary is married to Trevor. Together they own Rogue Outdoor. Buy some hats. Www.highstyleadventure.com.
We went into the Kruger. Kruger National Park, South Africa. Trevor knows basically everyone in there. When planning my trip here, I planned on going in myself. When I arrived here Trev informed me that he and Mary were coming with me. I got chills when they told me that. Now I was going to get a tour from people that really knew the park. And it gets better. We were going to spend our first night with a section ranger in the north who is a very good military buddy of Trevor's and has been in the park since 1985. Trevor is 60 Mary 55 in case anyone is wondering.
Day one we get into the park and we have four hours to get to Marius' house. Four awesome hours. Loads of elephant, impala, zebra, giraffe wildebeest and kudu. Let me just say this. It does not get old. I will talk about the elephant in a bit. The impala are small, beautiful deer. They are darling and they are everywhere. The prettiest creature that you can imagine. The males with tall sharp horns. As with many animals in Africa they have herds. The female herd is referred to as the breeding herd. It consists of about 30 adult females, the little ones and one male to look after the lot of them. The male gets challenged and defeated and replaced every few years. But one male per breeding herd at all times. The females get pregnant and wait until January to what the South Africans say "drop". Have their babies. No one has used the word doe, but they are referred to as little ones. But here is what is fascinating to me. The moms wait until the rains come before they drop. In Southern Africa summer is November to April. This is also the rainy season. The female impala wait until they know there is enough grass available to feed the little ones before they drop. They actually control the time of birth. Amazing to me. The other grazing anilmas, wildebeest, kudu, etc follow suit. Elephants are different, once again those guys later on.
Marius is a section ranger in the Kruger. His main job Is to try to catch rhino poachers. And he needs a lot of help. He has a staff, some of them corrupt (which means that they are taking money from the poachers in exchange for locations of rhinos and the whereabouts of what Marius s doing). That is problem number 1 unfortunately. Problem number 2 is political. This is a bad problem. As long as rhinos are being poached people have jobs. This means the ministers (who are also getting paid sometimes) to middle management of government,  straight to regular park employees. From a political perspective, there is no will to act to stop this horrendous practice. This also means that if Marius wants a flashlight he has to beg for it. He is pretty good begged though. He has managed to get a truck, a polaris, and motorcycle and a even a dog. Duke is a blood hound Doberman mix. A beauty, and my good a lover. His absolute favorite thing is to jump up and hug. Tongue hanging out floppy ears. Duke however is not allowed to be out most of the time. He has a nice home with a pool but his job is to catch poachers. He is good at it when the weather cooperates, but he would run himself to death in 120 f heat which is not uncommon here.
 Problem 3 is court. Poachers are in groups of 2 to 4. The guys that are really good at are in 2 man teams. Experienced bushman with military backgrounds usually from Mozambique. From the east side of the parkthey sneak in with intelligence provided by corrupt rangers. They track the rhino (this isredicukous because you can come to Africaten times and never see rhino, I have been lucky enough to see one in Northern Namibia in the middle of the night) shoot it and cut its horns off. If it has a baby they will do the same. I will not go into detail as to how this is done here. If anyone wants to know, email me. But as anyone can imagine, the procedure is horrific. I debated wheather to share this and I will, maybe to my regret but I believe that people need to hear what goes on here. When these assholes find a mother rhino with calf, they chop the horns off of the other while the calf nurses, then they do the calf. Undisputed, none of these people deserve to breath air. None of this would happen save one thing. Demand. Wealthy Chinese and Viet Namese people believe that the rhino horn is an aphrodisiac and has healing powers. Buy some fucking viagra, drink your tea and quit killing fucking rhinos for what you can buy at Walgreens. Excuse my language. Apparently having a rhino horn on your coffee table in China is a status symbol as well.
Court. The poachers get off because the magistrates are bribed, the rangers that are subpoenaed are required to drive four or more hours to attend, for a case that is going to be continued eight more times on average on technicalities by attorneys hired by the Chinese until the poachers caught have either received bail (on which they takeoff back to Mozambique) or have time served and get out. When the good rangers are in court, they cannot catch the poachers. This is corruption at its finest.
I said that problem number 2 is the worst because the politicians in South Africa know that problem 3 exists and intentionally do nothing about it....because they are getting paid.
Last year 457 rhinos were poached in the Kruger. An optimistic guess provides that there are 4,000 in the park left. Kruger is the size of Delaware. Forget about hunting in the wild, when you can shoot fish in a barrel. Marius refers to it as the war. And he is correct. By the way there are really only 20 guys like Marius in the park. 20 guys passionately trying to stop this with one arm tied behind their back.
At the end of the day you have experience operators that are obviously well funded infiltrating a park where species are suppose to be protected from this shit (protected by a government that provides no resources to people that care (Marius)) who if caught, get off to play another round. It starts at the top. South African politicians are as bad as the Chinese person who has the rhino horn on his coffee table. I will send under different cover an email on South African politics. Trevor and I spoke at length regarding the subject. Very touchy, very disturbing, very not PC.
Highstyleadventure.com refers to 5 percent of all proceeds donated to African wildlife conservation. When I return thosè proceeds are specifically going to fund the war against rhino poaching. Enough is enough and ancient Chinese medicine can go fuck itself. Apologies.
Day 2 in the park. So we are staying with a ranger right? The rangers hate the tourists understandably so. Marius sent (graciously let us use) us to the ranger hideout in "Hungclip" hanging cliff in South African speak. 
I always tell people when you go to Africa, everything wants to kill you. It is true. When you go to a park it's is absolutely forbidden to get out of your car. We go to hungclip. It's pearched on a hill that over looks the tavamboty river. The hide is rustic as hell. Running water (none hot and not filtered) that pumped similar to how Idaho works, but powered by solar from the river. In the river. 50 hippos and as Mary say crocs to Africa. I saw a crocodile that no joke would have a difficult time fitting itself into the pool a table pinto. I know it is frustrating that I cannot share photos right now, but they will all be on google drive shortly. Hippos. Hungry Hungry hippos Greg. They are a noisy bunch. They keep in the water all day and "get out the pool" at night. They snort and complain all the time. They knew we were in the hide and were proper pissed off. I cannot describe the noises they make. They are big cranky magnificent animals. And they will keep you up all night.
When I said that you are forbidden from getting out of your car and walking around, I meant it. But at hungclip, you get out and walk around at your own risk. Apparently in the night, because the hippos are on land at night that is risk number 1. Hippos are the number 1 killers of people in Africa second only to mosquitos. But at hunclip, you can see and hear the hippos...but you cannot see or hear the leopard. I went for a walk about....
I have never been lucky enough to see my leopard. Obviously it did not get me. What did get me were the stars (I went at night). And for hand raisers, you would not in right mind go anywhere near the water. The crocs will get you. No contest.
Elephants. On this earth (of which I have not seen anything close to a sliver of), elephant are the MOST remarkable creatures that I have ever encountered. Eventually you stop taking pictures of giraffes and antelope. Never stop with an elephant.
Elephants are mesmerizing. You have the breeding herd and the bachelor herds. The breeding herd consists of females (matriarch who is in charge) and juveniles and babies. Females always get to stay in this herd and no fighting. The matriarch eventually passes just as humans do and then the next female takes over. I was talking about how impressive the other gamer were, if this does blow your mind I don't know what will. In the breeding herd the elephant know exactly who is going to lead them. They agree on it. Which means they have some sort of cumunication system. So at the hide you have five different breeding herds coming to drink. They basically run down the river and you are watching 20 -30 elephants babies to adult females have a drink. When the matriarch figures out the there are people in the hide, she looks right us and bolts. At somewhere touristy in the park she would not mind, but we are at the ranger hide which is seldom occupied, and she knows it. She sort of hoofs it back into the bush. The breeding herd instantaneously follows.
The bacealor herd. When the males in the bachelor herd get old enough, the females kick them out. The teenage male elephants must join a bachelor herd. A big bull elephant is in charge of that operation. The bull usually has 5 or 6 escaries or understudies. He is the boss, you behave or get your ass kicked.
Here is what is amazing. You have a breeding herd and a bachelor herd drinking at the same time. A young bull from the bachelor herd walks over to the females. A young female straight chases him off. She is bigger than him and she runs him off. The big bull boss slowly walks over to the breeding herd, makes contact with matriarch and he gets to just stay and hang out with with the ladies. All the while homeboy who was chased away is watching from one side of the herd and the othe younger bulls are watching from the other side not making any moves.
One ambitious bull gets driven away, the boss steps in to make things right and younger bulls sit and watch. To me unbelievable.
We had the pleasure of observing the elephant for six hours and it's funny how you stop watching the creature but shift to watching the behavior. Maybe I have described this poorly, but it is indescribable. The interaction between elephants. Trevor and Mary had never seen anything like it either.
Last note. My hosts were and are amazing. And Trev is my business partner. Rogue Outdoor and High Style Adventure. Without meeting me they welcomed me into their house. It was beyond comfortable. Too comfortable. They asked me when I was coming back, and who else would visit them. I said that I am definitely coming back. My thoughts were, maybe the Futryk cousins would come. I did not suggest that anyone would come their way soon.
Off to Namibia.
Thank you for flying South Africa airways may good bless you in abundance and goodbye. Said by the flight attendant this morning. I will leave you with that.
Will - out
Windhoek
02102019
There are three things that you need when you travel. Transportation, a phone and money.
I am pretty lucky here. Aggies picks me up from the airport and beings me to a hotel in Windhoek. That was yesterday. Very easy.
This morning, Aggies picks me up from the hotel to grab my truck that will be my lifeline for the next 30 days. That is mode of transpo. Check box number 1. My money works so box number 3 is checked. 1 USD = 14 Nam.
Now im driving on the left side of the road on the left side if the car in Wind. I know the town now so no big deal. I know where I need to go now and even know how to get there. The mall. You have to go to the mall to deal with your communication. I have a Namibian phone with and Namibian number that I have used for a few years now. 
You have to go to the cell phone store to re-up your minutes. ..At the mall.
So I drive to the mall, take my ticket, drive into the parking garage, which if you are driving a truck d okes not fit and cannot make the turns. Its turn, reverse first gear off again. Finding parking is equally fun. Everyone that knows me, knows that I do not search for a spot. I obviously end up on the roof. Not a problem.
Now you have to go into the mall and find the cell phone store. Daunting. The mall is a maze. Even though I know town, I cannot ever figure out the mall.
Get to cell phone store. Try to reup minutes. No. Sim card expired. To reactivate my old number, I must go to the police station sign some report and wait three days. Not going to hapoen right. I tell the person, fine Ill just buy another phone. She says, "you dont need another phone, you just need a different sim card". I say "beautiful. What is the cost?"
"7 Namibian", to which I replied, "Do you take a card?" I handed her a ten and called it good. Cell phone problem fixed. Box number 2 checked.
Find the car on the roof, jump in, find the exit, turn reverse, forward all the way through. Get to the gate. Put ticket in. To which it replied "go back to pay station".
Shit. The pay station is in mall. And now there are four cars behind me. Shit times 4. This was an ordeal to get out of that. You dont even want to to know.
Park on the roof again, run down, pay.  Run back up. Unlock the car get in, good to go. Going to start the car.
Im sitting in the passenger seat.
WH-out
Windhoek-mall.02122019
03132019
Sandro is the manager at the solitaire guest farm. 5 foot 3, he is is a little Portuguese guy, has a a daughter, one sister, parents killed ina car accident when he was three in Cape Town. When I arrived he would follow me around. Hey will, can we do coffe, can we do breakfast, can you drive these guys down to the lodge, on your way back, grab me a meat pie? We were friends instantaneously. Two days ago, he came and woke me up, grabbed me a cuppocino, and wanted to hear stories. I told him pool stories from Martha's Vineyard, Denver and Seattle. 
One of the best stories that I have for the vineyard, is that when I left, I put an ad in the local paper, that eventually got picked by the boston globe. The ad ran "free monkey" with my friend Jay Pappas' telephone number. Pappas is from a family of Boston cops and he was working as an officer at the vineyard while I was doing pools there.  As Pappas tells the story, he was looking at the newspaper in the vineyard, saw my ad laughter his ass off and then started dialing the number to call the person with free monkey. He dialed eight digits in and realized it was his number. Pappas had roommates on the vineyard, we were all friends and still remain in contact. What these guys did waster 200 people called them from all over the east coast asking about the monkey and or monkey, they got high. Sat around their answering machine listening to the messages, video taped it and sent to us a Gonzaga. It was clear that there was one group of peoples home also decided o get high and call about the free monkey. Those people could not keep straight faces obviously at their inquiry and just on the answering machine just burst into laughter, Pappas group could not keep it together either. They called them back. You can imagine where it went. Sandro loved this story.
Last night, Sandro tells me it's his birthday. Him,two other guys, and me stayed up drinking beers, playing cards, grilling cheeseburgers,  carrying on, midnight swim, betting on the Super Bowl until 3am. Just an unexpected bachelor party in the middle of the African night. It was fun.
What was not fun was waking up. My plan for Monday, today was to drive south to Luderitz. It is tough to make it in one day there fromthe middle of the country, very tough at 110F with a hangover. I made it two thirds of the way. Two hours left to go. Tomorrow. 
I drove 5 hours today, not ever being this far South, and you start to watch your gas gage go down driving in the middle of nowhere. I had to divert and stop at a town that really has one street, one hotel, one restaurant, a petrol station  with two pumps. But it would be catastrophic to run out of gas in the Namib desert.  You might not see another person for days on a gravel road.
I am going to go take a nap. Hope everyone is well, much love.
WH-out
Helmeringhauser
Luderitz tomorrow.
0908209
Yessi,
I am writing from Marius' house in the Kruger. Marius is a ranger, his duty is to find and catch rhino poachers. This is as mentioned in other. Emails, a big problem. Marius is a beachelor, fifty years old, never married, celebrate, does not drink, takes a shower every night, reads his bible (in Afrikaans) sleeps, rinse and return. He regards the the rhino situation as a war.
He is not wrong. And he takes it personally. Tonight is Saturday.  I am staying at his house. With me, although independly, is a helicopter crew. Pilot, ecologist, and get shit down guy.  I planned on making dinner tonight but the pilot John, wanted to make spegetti. His get shit shit done guy Pauli, grilled (called brie) basically grilled cheese. Delicious. The ecologist is a beautiful black woman in her late 40s. The pilot, Pauli, and Kathy work  together all the time. Basically they take their show to various section rangers, as contracted fir by the corrupt South African government. 
What the corrupt government does not know or understand is that this crew knows that that the government is corrupt. 
They operate accordingly. They are very tight. Their agenda is to pick up section rangers and census rhinos. This is very sensitive data. Anyone corrupt can sell locations .  They are all very extremely passionate about saving rhinos, but that is not their job. Their job is to fly, observe and count. The pilot shared some sensitive information with me tonight over dinner. He wants to talk more about additional steps. The stuff he showed me tonight was military...I have to stop there. Anyway he wants to talk more tomorrow. Flattering. These guys want to stop the poaching, which may be the most complicated conservation problem on the planet given the bullshit South African politics, practicality of the situation and people involved. Pilot wants to talk in private, cannot wait.
I was in the Kruger last week with Trev. We saw wild dog, hyena, elephant, lion, every African antelope etc.
Today I woke up just jacked. Trev loaned me a Land Rover. Bags packed. Rover loaded. Wheels up at 7am. Cruising. Get to Phabeni gate. It took me an hour to get in because of theque (line). It is free South African week. It does end tomorrow. But, today was a shitshow. Next Friday is a school holiday....for three weeks. This place is going to be a mess. Note: do not come here in September without me.
It is still spectacular. You stop stopping for impala and giraffe. The elephant never get old. The lion are sometimes very close but usually about 100 meters away at all times.
Today, after the que to get into the park, from Phabeni, to Lower Sabie, Lower Sabie up north, I took a cut off.  It took me twenty minutes to figure that I screwed up...so instead of turning around I committed to the road.
I committed to the wrong turn.
Up a dirt road hill, left, right, left, the road is windy. Bank right. 
Boom!
White rhino left side of the car. Twenty yards away. I was first. Pure luck. 
Usually if you see something rare (like a rhino) there is a complete cluster fuck of a traffic jam at the sighting. 
This was just me and the rhino 
Until 100 plus cars showed up. Then I left...satisfied. The coolest sighting ever. I had five minutes with that guy, man to man before the mob showed up.
Tomorrow us another day.
Much love, hope all is well
Will -out
Timvazi
More to come...
WH -out