Baobabs and Wire; Elephants and Mud

Early morning on the deck at Chilo

Early Morning at Chilo Gorge

Early Morning at Chilo Gorge

leads into a fabulous day of exploring the newly wet Gonarezhou…on the lookout for our guests favorite animal…Elephants!….today strangely absent today from the landscape! They must have moved far and wide with the little shower of rain we had a night ago….we keep hunting…

Anyway, we see fun little stuff, such as lady tortoises, Spoonbills…

Spoonbills hunting for breakfast

Spoonbills hunting for breakfast


a ponderous and stately monitor lizard…

reptilian splendour...

reptilian splendour…

we find many signs of elephants….(poor baobab!)

evidence of elephants at work......

evidence of elephants at work……

and at last, we find a perpetrator!

naughty but hungry....

naughty but hungry….

caught in the act, this bull is intent on extracting as much succulent fibre as he can from this doomed baobab…



and then decides to manage an itch on his posterior, after his meal…



Gonarezhou has numerous huge baobabs, many over two thousand years old…I love these multi purpose, all-embracing monoliths-


Here is my “Baobab Silhouette”, an acrylic painting on canvas…..

Baobab silhouette acrylic on loose canvas, 103 x 103 cm lo res

Sadly, in Africa,  we have to think of ways to protect them from my other wonderful favorite mammoth, the Elephant! They are going down like nine pins, chewed on by elephants in this present hot and dry period that we are having…a sad loss to the general environment…

Innovative ways to protect them are being tried by the Gonarezhou Trust, Ant Kaschula, Clive Stockil and of course the Chilo Team….

such as Hardwood barricades:

IMG_7864 lo res.JPG

Stone barricades:

boabab protected by stone moat- lo res.JPG

My favorite method is one I have tried successfully over the years on hardwood trees at our Bush house, Tsavene, and entails wrapping chicken mesh or diamond mesh snugly round the trunk of the tree to a height of at least three metres. The elephants just don’t mess with it !

IMG_7544 lo res.JPG

Carrying on with our drive, we come across a very, very unusual and special find…Clive shows us a footprint and digging left by a little Pangolin…! Wow…so amazing to find evidence of these highly secretive nocturnal creatures who eat only termites and are highly endangered…


Pangolins, fascinating creatures, that fire my artistic imagination….

pangolin sketch from a wooden sculpture by Lin Barrie

We are later delighted to meet up with the naughty baobab-eating bull again, plus a cow herd that has just crossed the Runde River, who politely stroll past us….showing off their tiny tots…


and then give us a wonderful half hour of mud bath antics


in a small depression that has collected just enough water to become a mud jacuzzi…


and a last farewell to the gentle giants as they wander away from the mud pack session, with the Bull bringing up the rear, and very much part of the group…interesting social interaction, he seems totally accepted in this “ladies’ society”!


Just as we need to think innovatively to protect baobabs, so do we need to think outside the box to create space for elephants in this ever shrinking wilderness that we all have to share….we are excited to be sharing our Gonarezhou elephants with a team from Tusk Trust who will visit…a dynamic group who are doing so much for elephants and rhinos, plus other endangered species, Africa-wide…

“The Last Elephant” by Lin Barrie

last elephant





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 adventure travel, Africa, African flora, African Safari, african wildlife, animal rights, anti poaching, art, art exhibition, baobab, beauty, bio diversity, birding, birds, Chilo Gorge, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, chilojo cliffs, citizen science, clive stockil, community conservation, conservation, conservation news, culture, eco-tourism, edible plant, elephants, endangered species, flowers, food, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, landscape, Lin Barrie Art, Poaching, Save River, travel, Tusk Trust, Uncategorized, wilderness, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Baobabs and Wire; Elephants and Mud

  1. melyander says:

    Beautiful Lin! I am so thankful for your blog. Your written word is enticing and your artwork as always touches my soul. Given their struggle, it warms my heart that you saw signs of the Pangolin. Blessings my friend!

  2. Pingback: Baobab skins get a coat of chain mail; Elephants get something else to eat….. | wineandwilddogs

  3. Pingback: Marhumbini Mission in Gonarezhou; Education and Elephants! | wineandwilddogs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.