Dispatch No.5 - In the footsteps of cattle rustlers

2009-05-22 00:00

The Bushman’s Nek Border post is well organised, both governments are trying to put and end to cattle rustling.

Likotsi Lemeke welcomes us. What a wonderfully friendly bloke. He represents the Ministry of Tourism / Environment and Culture of Lesotho and will hosting our expedition throughout our time in the Mountain Kingdom – we’re in good hands.

There’s still time to tap a little Captain Morgan from the secret tank that’s hidden under one of the expedition Landies. Just a small toast “khotso, pola, nala” to the mountain bikers and the members of the Expedition Team who are going to take Basotho ponies up Bushmans Nek Pass into Sehlabathebe Tranfrontier Area between South Africa and Lesotho, “we should make this a habit” chuckles Mad Mike, “a little celebration in every no-mans-land across Africa.”

We’re all in top form after a sponsored night at the Bushmans Nek Resort (beats camping in the cold!). It had been the scene for a great practical joke when Johan Louw – the expedition coordinator – was concerned at the non-arrival of the Lesotho horsemen team last night.

With Johan in the Bushmans Nek pub and Mike Nixon (head of the mountain bike team) wolfing down a giant plate of pasta in the dining room, I smelt an excellent opportunity for a harmless practical joke.

“Pretend you are phoning Johan from the British High Commission in Maseru” I said to Mike. And so he did - pretending to be a certain diplomat by the name of Peter Finch - he span a yarn about an attempted military coup that would put an end to the entire expedition.

It worked like a charm and we all walked into the bar to find Johan desperately trying to phone the minister of tourism and every other government official imaginable. “STOP we shouted…! ALL A BLUFF…..Sorry Johan, We’ll buy the drinks”. But the good fellow that he is, he stood us all a round, no hard feelings.

And so here we were preparing for our first symbolic crossing into a Transfrontier Conservation Area which will lead into another Boundless Expedition community day so linking local communities to nature and conservation.

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