Charmaine spent her first 12 years in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) on farms. Her grand parents owned several game farms and she would often sleep with some or other orphaned lion, warthog, meercat etc in her bed. After leaving Rhodesia during the war years her parents moved near Durban in South Africa where they started a crocodile farm and this is when I met her.
I (Hylton) have always had a love for nature. I grew up in Durban and our family used to spend all our holidays on farms , Kruger National Park or the other Parks.
We married and after a few years started to farm near the Kruger National Park. We can tell lots of stories of trying to outsmart monkeys stealing our crops, how to keep hippo out of the fields, how to try and stop kids swimming in the river with crocodiles, how my induna (foreman) saved me from standing on a huge black mamba, how to catch a python that has eaten your chickens and what happens next, what happens when you set up a picnic under a tree with a black mamba in it, why it is safe to live in a house with black mamba’s on the roof, how you know a snake is poisonous after it has bitten someone, etc.
During this period we would spend all of our time in the Kruger national Park and made friends with many of the rangers.
We moved to the Cape and bought a guest house in Hermanus and whilst we live in paradise we longed for the bush. After a disastrous holiday to Namibia staying in expensive accommodation that was awful we decided to take a tent on our next holiday as it would be preferable to most of the accommodation we stayed in. We have never looked back. There is something about being in the bush and being part of it when you camp that you cannot experience in a hotel, luxury camp, etc. Waiters do not belong in the bush.
We spend months every year in the bush camping in unfenced camps and love every minute of it. We have never stopped learning and now have our own record of events that we have witnessed that differ from literature on the subject. This is what makes it so interesting, animals don’t always behave the same in varying vegetation, etc.
Both of us love photography but are not experts by any stretch of the imagination. We love cooking on fires and Charmaine can cook up a meal that will have you wiping the pot clean with bread to get the last bit. This has happened to often for it not to be true, either that or we had starved our guests for the previous couple of days. We try and identify the trees, grass and bushes of the areas we drive through. Not always that easy. The little animals fascinate us as well as birds of prey. We are useless with most of the small birds and only know the more common ones.