A night of restless imaginings and shallow dreams, sleep punctuated by the approaching roar of lions. The very ones we listened to late yesterday afternoon as we sat watching the sun sink pink, and then, out under the clouded stars, heated soup and cooked homemade boerewors on our Tsavene fire.
Now the roars are under our windows and jolting me off my pillows in the early morning gloom. So close, yet I can not see them as I peer down from our high windows.
Coffee time….I heat water then prowl the house window to window, hoping for a glimpse of cats and feeding my two Jack Russell pups biscuits to keep them inside….
Last sequence of roars comes from our waterhole, and I quietly creak open the heavy wooden front door to tiptoe out and squat on the front steps…still no visual sign of the owners of those powerful voices…
But enough to know that they are out there, probably watching me as I watch for them! Dzidzi, one of the pups, causes a commotion behind me in Clive’s office, catching her own prey for the day, a fat mouse! She proudly carries it, but prefers to eat the biscuit I give her.
Now as I write this, dawn has broken and I hear a final roar, distant again…as the sun breaks the cats have retreated from our waterhole to a more secluded place for the day. Clive is dressed and driving to town for a day of meetings with local Chiefs and communities, and anticipating the planned visit of various Ministeries, including the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, hopefully all leading towards resolution of the future of the Save Valley Conservancy.
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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