Yesterday evening Clive and I planned a walk, to dust the cobwebs gleaned from a day of internet interaction. Descending the steep driveway to the base of our hill, atop which perches our Tsaven house, with hand-carved walking sticks as weapons and preceeded by two bouncing Jack Russells, we turned clockwise to perambulate around our hill. We did not get very far. A deep growling greeted us from the long grass, encouraging us to turn tail all and retreat. No sight of cat did we get, but we heard cat and felt cat. Anti-clockwise we went, and on approaching our waterhole we discovered the reason for cat presence-twenty buffalo, waiting to drink, stood watching us and then huffed away between the mopani trees.
Buffalo in the long grass
Discretion then being the better part of valour, we climbed back up our hill, set up chairs to watch the sky opposite the sunset streak with pink and watched the buffalo herd, now below us. Keeping her from rejoining the herd, a bull nuzzled and mounted a cow, intent on matters other than lions in the grass. A hyena yodelled. Scops owls and a White-faced owl called, intermingled by Freckled and Fiery-necked nightjars.
Crack! With the sudden arrival out of previously silent, darkening bush that never fails to amaze me, the elephants came in. Fast and thirsty, they ringed the waterhole but sniffed and inhaled in disgust, water not very clean…..
They drank rapidly, fussily, and melted away into the night.
Elephant trunk at dusk
All night long we drowsed to the intermittant mumblings of lion, and gentle whoops of hyena.
As far as we know, the buffalo all lived to see another dawn.
The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues.
This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil.
Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation.
Lin Barrie states: “Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas.
Lin's work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya and Florida, USA.
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Just found your posts, and hope I can find them again. I found a few photos of the Lowveld in the ’60’s and they are on my Facebook page, and I would love it if you and Clive can identify a spot near Chipinda pools.
Will try to get it to you.
Husband of Rosemary and brother-in law of Carol.