Reptilian Log stalks Nyala bull; Warthog watches!
Sitting on Chilo Gorge deck with binoculars, I scale across the fast-flowing brown water and up and down the far river bank to see what I can see. The Albida tree where I often see a Pels owl go to roost in the early hours of the morning is leafless at this time of year, no refuge for an owl, so I pass over it….
A faintly disturbing log lies in deep grass on the steep bank of the far shore, and browsing nearby is a plump warthog, busily mowing the succulent grass. Two young Nyala bulls hover in the deep shadows of the evergreen shrubs.
Something about that huge, omnipresent log……something pulls my eyes back to it and I begin to discern scales, a tail, possible legs…
Mr. Warthog munches away steadily, drifting away from the vicinity of the log, and one Nyala steps out, moving past and further on up the bank. The second Nyala tentatively steps out, one step towards my ‘log’.
I hold my breath, binoculars trembling slightly. The size of this log, even from my distance, is immense…it is 14 feet long at least! The clever Nyala seems to echo my trembling, standing one foreleg poised and muzzle stretched out, staring….
Wah! All at once the log opens yellow-lined jaws wide! The Nyala steps backwards, one step, two steps, with a mesmerized Mr. Warthog staring on…and the gigantic crocodile starts advancing ponderously up the bank towards the Nyala who wisely bounces well out of the way.
crocodile in waiting
Now the leviathan turns sideways, facing along the steep bank rather than up it, and settles into the grass again, becoming more like a log than ever….
Mr. Warthog decides discretion is the better part of valour and dashes off, balls bouncing…..
Mr. Warthog…acrylic painting by 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.