Thank you both ever so much for the excellent cheese which so kindly sent us – and which we have immensely enjoyed. It is far, far better than any cheese we can buy locally. We both wish you all an exceedingly happy year, with all health and prosperity.
It was a great pleasure for me to meet that very nice son of yours, who is managing
Mr. De Kock’s Apiaries.
You have probably heard of the wonderful trip that Anne and I took with Tom Bulpin and his wife – 3.5 months right through the Rhodesians, Belgian Congo, Uganda, and Kenya – and home through Tanganyika. We visited all the game reserves and national Parks on route, and saw any amount of game – many in East Africa, which I had never seen before. At one time, in the Wankie Park of Rhodesia, we watched over 108 elephants drinking by moonlight!
In the Queen Elizabeth National Park of Uganda there are 14,000 hippo, and they are finding them quite a problem, as they are grazing off all the veld, and walk about on land all day.
In Uganda we went after (on foot) and actually saw a large male Mountain gorilla – a huge brute almost as broad as buffalo, standing nearly 6 feet high when absolutely erect, and as broad as two big me! We only saw him running away (which he did on all fours) but quite close (about thirty yards). That was 8,500 feet up in the bamboo belt of the Birunga Volcanoes. By love, you would have loved to have got among those bamboos! They grow from 8,000 feet up in the mountains, and in huge dense forests of lovely slender poles. The gorilla eat the young shoots, which they peel to get at the pith inside, and they also eat the wild celery plants which from the undergrowth, and make a fresh bed each night, of pulled over saplings (to form a springy mattress) on which leaves are thrown down – the whole form making a nice, more or less circular, shallow bed, about 3-4 feet in diameter.
You would also enjoy a visit to the Ivory Room at Mombasa where all the Ivory is collected for sale and shipment. We saw tusks of all sixes and ages, and rhino horns and hippo teeth (much of it taken from poacher, as well as legitimately shot), and were told that the quantity we saw there was worth about 40 000 pounds sterling!
It was interesting to note the difference between the “hard” ivory of the Forest elephants, and the “soft” (more valuable) ivory of the Bush elephants – the type you hunted! In Rhodesia we met Mr Sandes, now Warden at Zimbabwe, who remembered you in your poaching days, and had enjoyed, a copy of “The Ivory Trail”. The book is on sale all over the Rhodesia and East Africa.
Anyhow, one day you must visit us here again, and hear all about it in detail, and see my drawing.
With very best wishes to you all, and many thanks,