A wet season wonderland awaits in the sandforest of Mahenye…life in the raw, strange and wonderful, beautiful and fierce…from the gorgeous wild hibiscus in the sand forest near Chilo, admired by Rich Thornycroft….
to the frantic millipede desperately trying to escape the vicious attack of fierce little red beetles, minute predatory Davids overcoming the Goliath…
The great Nyala Berry tree is King here, looming inscrutably over all, the largest in Southern Africa we think, circumference about 15 meters at chest height…
it scatters sticky fruit on a carpet of deep humus
as Clive and Rich squat beneath its venerable branches
what are they thinking, I wonder, (sucking up some of its ancient wisdom I hope…)
My dear dad, exploring the soft-footfall forest path,
overhung by a trellised network of the most delicate greens
beauty galore…a purple-tip butterfly
Then beetles get my attention, with the motto “eat, or be eaten!”
Thinking food, here is the pockmarked Honey Gatherer’s baobab, a landmark in this special place, where the local Changana people still harvest a pot of wild honey regularly..
back to life in the raw …
an ichumenid wasp drugs a hapless spider….
and hauls it to a hole, ready to lay eggs on the living abdomen of the spider; a ready-made and helplessly living larder to supply nutrition to a new generation of baby wasps once they hatch!
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.
Greetings fellow Africans,
I thank you for all the great work you are doing in Zimbambe esp. around Mahenye area. We really appreciate all the efforts and spirit in the work you are doing. Please continue doing what you do regardless of the challenges.
We are also trying 2 emulate you this side of Africa. We started in 2014 with livestock, birds and chickens, planting indigenous trees and veggies. Now we are introducing small wildlife little by little. Since we started, we are seeing wonders and fulfillment to our lives.
Musa Mhlongo (Giyani, South Africa).