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Karoo Heartland



Mount Melsetter is home to Great Karoo Safaris, and advertises itself as Plains Game Outfitters. Plains Game are soft-skinned antelope and gazelles.  Each year, over a number of years, Mount Melsetter has hosted two groups of hunters. The glue that keeps these two groups together is that they all went to the same school together – The Grey, Port Elizabeth, in the South, and Pretoria Boys High School, in the North. Not only do they come to hunt, but also to reconnect with each other and have fun.

The groups have never met each other, but each have heard of the other group, and their prowess in hunting. In 2013 the Grey Boys started a tradition by writing a poem in our Visitors’ Book to the Pretoria Boys, to which the Pretoria Boys were moved to reply.  Since then, they have continued to write to each other, via the Visitors’ Book, bringing in something that they may have heard about their opponents’ hunt.

The Pretoria Boys are about 10 years older than the Grey boys; their emphasis is  perhaps more on the après-hunt, while the Grey Boys are probably more serious about their hunting. Have a read through the past five years’ poetry: 


The Grey:

We walked, we laughed

We ran, we drank

It’s Mike and Candy, we must thank

A great time was had by the magnificent seven.

To the Pretoria Boys:

You gave the nation John*,

The rest seems a bit of a con

We laid 4 gnus to rest

We challenge you to beat the best!

*John Smit, Springbok Rugby Captain


Here we meet, as before

(Every year since ’94)

The Boys High Boys have shown their SALT

By bagging buck – despite the MALT

Melsetter Mount has served again

To tightly bind our souls as men

‘Tis here – and now – we do acquire

The SPIRIT to which the Grey Boys do aspire.


The Grey:

A coolbox of beer and box of ice cheer

We ragged and we joked

Some cheroot we smoked

Remembering memories of long time ago

Some boyhood agility we may have let go

But experience and wisdom we did not have then

Have come in its place and we’re nearly men

The game that we hunted and stalked with our crew

Is the reason we come here!

Pretoria Boys remember

We are younger than you!


Assembled again from afar and asunder

Melsetter Plains were made to thunder

Youngsters all in bodies of men

The Boys High Boys are here again!

Tales will be told until we are old

Of Babies, of Bokkies with DAMARA tags,

Finding their way into Hunters Bags.

To the youngsters from Grey:

All we can say is THE MEASURE OF MEN Is not what’s to come

But what has been done!!


The Grey:

Thanks to Mike of Melsetter and its stories of kills

To Candy for sustenance and remarkable culinary skills

We visit the Karoo as we visit our past

The more often we remember the taller shadows we had cast

New adventures we’ve had

And opportunities we took what we could

Unlike the visitors we shot what we should

If the measure of life is what is already achieved

The fact that the Grey again beats Boys High leaves us much relieved!


Again assembled in the cold

The Boys High men but NOT SO OLD!

Stories were heard of those who sashay-

To neighbouring farms, there to shoot*.

Could these be the lads from Grey?

Thinking that another’s buck they could loot

Fun was had –from the Saddlebum Straddle

To more painful Mike and Warrie – waddle

Then this we must right now declare

In 2016 we return, for fine food fare

And to make the fields ring again and again


*During the previous Grey Boys hunt, one of them crossed one of our boundary fences into the neighbour’s farm, hence the lines in this poem. Our bar area is called The Saddlebum, where a couple of saddles are placed on some wooden rafters. These are often climbed onto in the early hours of the morning! Warrie is one of our horsemen who fell off his horse while springbuck hunting.

The Grey:

To Candy and Mike, Hosts Extraodinaire

Thanks for meals delightful and the cold beer

A time for us Grey Boys to remember and reflect

On Great times in the past and new Grey hairs to detect

Our bodies are painful, but our minds are alive

Because of this bond, we don’t merely live….but thrive!

Pretoria Boys……Welcome to the East Cape

Once a year only, but well worth the wait

Pathology. Urology….Radiology too

Are important skills within your crew

These remarkable professions will help you at home

But here they can’t tell you where the antelope roam.


  Arrived at Melsetter to find sewerage in disarray*

Thanks to the excessive bowel moves of the Grey.

But lets not fret, the comfort and cuisine were as usual fine,

Especially combined with music and wine.

A shock to the system for Rob newly ordained

When witnessing Oom Rohr** by Hot Lips being maimed,

As he was pulled off his mount on the bar wall

And bore down on the culprit in wide-eyed appal.

Now to the matter of the springbok hunt……..

We must be polite and give our Grey friends a punt

To our tally of 19 they added their one, makes twenty

Thanks to all old boys for a combined bag of plenty!

*When the Pretoria Boys came this time, we were in the process of sorting out our sewerage lines, separating the grey water from the sewerage water. During the previous Grey Boys hunt, they were very successful with their Walk and Stalk hunting, but during their Springbuck hunt, only managed to shoot one springbuck.

** Very sadly, one the very special Pretoria Boys died of a heart attack while out cycling the previous year. This was an enormous loss to all who knew him. He was affectionately known as Oom Rohr. This Grey Boys Hunt was part of a celebration of their having left school 30 years before. Two of their group flew in from Australia, one being the poet for the poem, and another from the USA.


The Grey:

Tria Juncta in Uno, Virtute et Labore,

Values we are proud to share –

About the Springbuck hunt, do not despair

Thirty times since, we’ve circled the sun

We had finished, but barely begun.

We came to Melsetter to laugh, reconnect and reflect

To your Oom Rohr we offer our respect

Though PBH is a new school, you are a lot older

We are now all of The Grey and inconveniently bolder

Springbuck in the valley, who’s keeping count

We toiled with a Gemsbok on top of the Mount

Cricket we played as if we were young

And then drank a toast to the setting sun

From the four corners of the world we came

I’m sure for you it was the same.

Shoot true and shoot straight

For a year is certainly a long time to wait.


The Boys High Boys have raised the bar,

Brought their boykies from afar*;

So it seems that Schoombee Station,

Will yet resound to another generation!

To our brethren boys from Grey

(Some may ask who are they?)

We braved the cold and bagged our buck;

We held our own, as in the ruck.

But all we say is just in jest-

This light heart rivalry is quite the best!

*The Pretoria Boys came with three sons this time.

We’ll look forward to the prose of upcoming years as these two groups continue to return to Mount Melsetter for their annual reunions!