No rain, no resolution, buffaloes bombshell…….

29th December: A few days of no rain and no resolution…
A few days of no rain and the grass is grey and curling. Strong winds have blown apart a forked Brachystegia tamarindoides tree over our swimming pool, but it fell alongside the pool, not onto it, fortunately! I have been hoping that the constant booming of the Ground Hornbills day and night foretells a big change coming….the heat saps me of strength so that I collapse by 10 am most mornings, incapable of further movement! The only relief has been to dip into our mud brown pool with the grandbabies, braving the opaque depths which hide water scorpions, biting water beetles and hopefully nothing more sinister such as an itinerant python!
The pool edge is a delight for our budding little bug collectors, who swoop delightedly on the myriad tadpoles with kitchen sieves and bottles, and even capture a fierce water scorpion who proves his predatory reputation by immediately piercing and sucking the juices out of an unfortunate water beetle, captured and incarcerated with him!

water scorpion

water scorpion

Today Clive and I wake from a hot and restless afternoon nap, and drive through Banyene, past a tree filled with precious White Backed vultures, (no sign of lions or a kill, though), past herds of fat giraffe munching on yellow acacia flowers, to arrive at Senuko Lodge, a sad but still- beautiful place nestled in granite boulders….the living area being foundations only after the raging fire of 2009, waiting for tender loving care and refurbishment…
We sit quietly on high rocks in the late afternoon, overlooking the lodge waterhole and watching the herd of buffalo that we have heard grunting in the tree line earlier, slowly approach for a drink…a magical time of day, promises of rain in the surrounding skies which flash distant lightening all around us….
Waiting, waiting for the rain and for the arrival of the cautious buffalo, I muse on the parallel wait that we endure ……waiting to hear a final Governmental resolution on the Indigenisation solution for the Save Valley Conservancy. Extremely stressful times for Clive who can not settle to any single job these last few days, his head full of “What if…?” scenarios.
If resolution is not found soon, the looming New Year will be a sad time for Senuko, with no easy way to pay staff and field scouts, an very uncertain future for us and indeed for the whole Conservancy.
It is a delight now to watch the buffalo, 100 strong, ease their way into the water below us, becoming relaxed with our presence. They drink and we sit happily watching, with our Jack Russels calmly at our feet. Pleasant minutes pass.

pleasant minutes pass...

pleasant minutes pass…

A sudden whistle pierces the air, a cattle herder’s whistle! We stare at each other, shocked, as the frightened buffalo bombshell into the Mopane trees…and I see Clive’s fave darken with a deep anger that he rarely shows…



Below us, along the bush track, emerges a man, peering to see if the buffalo have departed, before he brings his family out into the open…
Clive contains himself and calls to him, enquiring as to who he is, and gets the answer that he is a settler from our boundaries, making his way homewards, his family accompanying him on two bicycles. The buffalo are gone, this man has far to go, and Clive sends him on his way, through the darkening bush. A dangerous journey for him and his family, who have been settled on the margins of Senuko- a difficult, game-filled environment, with no reliable water and no easy way to make a living off growing crops. Solutions have to be found soon if these marginal areas are to be part of a sound conservation plan, and if people and wildlife are to co-exist within the framework of a strong drive for sustainable tourism in Zimbabwe.

Buffalo – Acrylic on Handmade paper by Lin Barrie…..


About wineandwilddogs

Lin Barrie 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.
This entry was posted in Africa, African flora, african wildlife, birds, conservation, dogs, eco-tourism, family, frogs, Lin Barrie Art, predators, Save Valley Conservancy, Senuko, Uncategorized, zimbabwe and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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