It is early in the year yet, but thoughts of romance and log fires, good slow food and great Painted Wolf Wine, such as “Guillermo” pinotage, begin to tickle around the edges of my anticipation of the winter months in this southern hemisphere. Hardly winter in the snow sense of the word, here in the lowveld of Zimbabwe! But a cool season coming nevertheless, with crisp evenings spent round log fires and nose-chilling early morning game drives at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, blanket around the legs in the open game-viewing vehicle…….
Guillermo pinotage in the upstairs lounge at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge
The hot months have exhausted me, and I look forward to gardening and birding all day at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, or painting in my studio at my bush house, “Tsaveni”, instead of collapsing in a hot heap by 10 am!
There is another reason that winter excites me-this is African hunting dog territory and the Alpha females den in the cool months. Bearing pups in deserted antbear and warthog holes in the side of termite mounds, the Matriarchs of each pack suspend their nomadic way of life, settle down and have a dedicated support system to help raise the little ones. We visit known dens to watch the Wild dog families interact with the growing pups. Lycaon pictus, aka African wild dogs, Painted dogs, Painted wolves…beautiful tri-coloured animals that are a joy to observe and paint. This image below is of “Claw” and her previous year’s pups. she is a young Alpha female who has been recently seen with her mate “Lizard” in our Senuko area. I so hope she is pregnant………….we will know by April/May.
“Claw’ and her 5 month old pups
Perhaps the Pedals 4 Paws bicycle rides, by Jeremy Borg of Painted Wolf Wines, which will be raising awareness and funding for Zimbabwean Wild dogs, will be able to watch her at her den then……
Pedals 4 Paws
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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