An Empty Coast

An Empty Coast
My latest novel

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More interesting than Australia v Brazil


In the spirit of the FIFA World Cup and in acknowledgement of the fact that I have absolutely no interest in soccer (apparently it's now called football) here's a pic of something interesting that I saw on a soccer field in South Africa.


We were on a morning game drive out of Umlani Bush Camp (www.umlani.com) on the border of the Kruger National Park and came across a pack of about a dozen African wild dogs (Africa's most efficient predator and most endangered mammal).

Unfortunately we'd just missed them gobbling up (more like ripping apart) an impala for breakfast, but a pack of hyena showed up and cleaned up what remained. The dogs took off into the bush, but were soon followed by the hyenas. Hyenas often follow wild dogs because they know the of the dogs' killer reputation.

When we caught sight of the dogs again it was on the football field at the back of neighbouring Tanda Thula lodge (where the staff from the various lodges in the area chase a ball around and hug each other, in true soccer, errr 'football' style). We watched the hyenas and dogs chasing each other back and forth across the pitch for about half an hour. Occasionally there would be a stand-off, like the one above, where fangs were barred and snarls exchanged, but it was all pretty harmless.

You can't teach an old dog like me to like soccer/football, but clear patches of ground do come in handy in the African bush sometimes.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Eat your lips out, Rex Hunt


Here's me after an epic battle with a 5.5kg (13 pound) tiger fish on the mighty Zambezi River.

We motored out of the decadently-luxurious Sausage Tree Camp (thanks to my very good friends at www.classicsafaricompany.com.au ) on the Zambian side of the river and tied up in the lee of a small island near the Zimbabwean shore.

While we're on the shameless-plug bandwagon, the location was pretty close to where a plane crash lands in my second book, Zambezi (available from all good books stores and www.tonypark.net ).

Using ox tongue (as gross as it sounds) for bait I landed this pescatorial predator after about 20 minutes of casting into the current, followed by 10 minutes of fish-wrestling. A bachelor group of three elephants grazed about 50 metres away as my pommie mate, Bruce, and I angled and our respective wives, Jenny and Nicola tried hard to look interested over the rims of their gin and tonics and wines.

Bruce landed a prehistoric-looking monster of a vundu (cat fish) a few minutes later.

We let our fish go, in true Rexy style (it's catch and release there as we were within the waters of Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park), though we forgo the traditional kiss. Bruce's Vundu was way too ugly (slimy with whiskers), while my tiger had teeth big enough to rip your bloody lips off.