Bees and malaria; Honey gatherers and baobabs….

Honey Gatherers and bees have been much on my mind…

when we walk through the sand forest near to Mahenye village I photograph the pegs and ancient pegs marks on a baobab trunk…

Pegs in the pitted trunk

Pegs in the pitted trunk

and the giant land snail who has found refuge in a peg mark from ancient history…

Pegs and giant land snail

Pegs and giant land snail

Honey gatherers…intrepid souls who hammer rough pegs into the trunk of mammoth baobabs in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Areas around Gonarezhou National Park, and who climb to collect the honey with only a smoking bundle of embers tied by Lala palm fronds, to deter the angry little insects that will defend their combs swollen with honey….

smoking sticks tied by Lala palm fronds

smoking sticks tied by Lala palm fronds

The paraphernalia of honey collecting in the sand forest…

honey collecting tools

honey collecting tools

these people always leave a comb filled with honey for the Honeyguide bird after they have harvested a tree…not to do so would be extremely bad luck…

A piece of honeycomb left for the Honey guide bird...

A piece of honeycomb left for the Honey guide bird…

The night before I get malaria, I am in Harare, Kelli and I share my bed and cuddle, chatting about her forthcoming departure for the Americas and her cruise ship ms Statendam. A bit of a restless night, then I awake in a cold sweat in the early hours of Saturday morning, gripped by a horrific dream – Clive and I are exploring stone steps downwards into a Raidersof the Lost Ark type cave…we realize that something is horribly wrong as I am attacked by milling black bees which swarm over my head and arms as I try to crawl back up the stairs, Clive ahead of me- he turns repeatedly and reaches towards me – his hands coated in bees as he tried to reach down to me ….each time he tries, his hands can not quite reach mine and I have an extreme sense of lethargy and despair, but no pain, as I crawl slower, slower, and eventually come to a halt, covered in bees. It is hopeless and he must go on without me.

After this dream I am feeling weird but get up and so some basic shopping for Kelli’s farewell dinner party that night. She comes home at noon from her face painting job – Hello Kitty is always a favourite request!

hello Kitties!

hello Kitties!


We have an afternoon rest together… Literally as I lie down , I break into alternate bouts of hot and ice cold sweats, a headache hits and I know I have malaria. Take the old Coartem  medication that I carry in my cosmetic bag. No good . That night I lie shaking in bed while the party goes on without me . By morning I am dehydrated. By mid morning I realize that I better change drugs fast- Kelli can find no close by chemist open on a Sunday. She takes one look at me and hails me off to the Borrowdale trauma centre, where they take one look at me and hook me up to a drip. Next three hours are a daze, slowly coming round to lucidity again, getting onto a hectic course of Quinine tablets. Recovery over the next three days is slow but at least I recover……was the bee dream a warning of the malaria bug beginning to rage through my system ? A foretaste of the potentially  deadly force I was about to be engulfed by?!

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 african wildlife, birds, community conservation, eco-tourism, food, food culture, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Hello Kitty, home grown food, Honey gatherers, Hunter gatherers, hunting, insects, landscape, organic slow food, slow food, taste, Uncategorized, wilderness, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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