The Elephant in the Shower…

The Elephant in the Shower

A tented shower on the edge of the steep bank of the Runde River, hoisted upon a carpet of gold, under a Cordyla Africana tree in the wilderness of Gonarezhou, ‘place of the elephants’,  is probably not the wisest place to be when a hungry bull elephant wants to eat the multitude of fallen yellow Cordyla flowers….
This afternoon everyone else except the camp staff had departed on a game drive, and then the staff went down to the river to wash and collect water for our camp. Relishing  the thought of a wash,  I entered my shower, which was fully charged with lovely warm water by the camp staff, and happily soaked my hair and body. In the back of my mind was the knowledge that perhaps the gentle bull we had seen yesterday eating fallen flowers at this same tree, would return to do the same this afternoon…so I was listening and was half-expecting the sound when it came.  Wet, and with hair just rinsed of shampoo, encased in the flimsy canvas of the shower cubicle, I suddenly heard a long drawn out sigh, a breathing-out of warm air down a long grey trunk. I had company. No footfall had warned me, this quiet giant had arrived in silence, save for his breathing….
What to do? He was there, in my space and very real. I coughed once to let him know that the shower was not as empty as he perhaps presumed…and slowly peeped my head around the canvas edge to see what I was dealing with… Oh my goodness, there he was, as close, and as immense as I had anticipated. He was frozen still, poised in mid-step, pondering my cough! My mind bounced- should I stay or retreat…. staying would not be clever , caught like a fly in a canvas fly trap…a flimsy canvas fly trap! But retreating was a challenge – he was so close upon me that no matter which way I exited the shower I would be literally under his nose and might startle him into challenging the space between us. Quick decision and I prepared my escape…wrapped my tiny towel around me, (forget trying to put clothes on) and crept out on the far side, keeping the canvas between him and me so he did not see my exit, and straight down the steep bank into the river bed I went, no shoes on so I could move more quietly and prepared all the way to throw my toilet bag behind me for him to stumble over if he came after me! It worked, I managed to disappear from his space without alerting him and when I climbed the bank again into our camp area and looked back he was still standing there thinking about my cough….
I felt bad when sitting relaxing on the bank later, watching those incredible Chilojo Cliffs in the late afternoon sun……
…..he had politely trundled off, his sweet flower meal forgotten because of my intrusive presence, my cough, the smell of shampoo ….
I had had my shower but he did not get the meal he had probably been thinking about all morning. Sorry Mr. Nzhou!
Posted in adventure travel, Africa, African child, African flora, African Safari, african wildlife, animal rights, beauty, bicycle rides, bush camps, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, chilojo cliffs, conservation, eco-tourism, edible plant, elephants, flowers, food, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Rivers, runde river, serenity, travel, Uncategorized, wilderness, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lin and Clive, Art and Conservation!

In the south  east of Zimbabwe, Africa, lies the Save Valley Conservancy, (SVC), a wildlife reserve of nearly one million acres. A semi-arid wilderness of spectacular granite kopjies, golden savannah, ancient leadwood forests and monolithic baobab trees, this tantalizing territory is home to endangered Black and White rhinos, African hunting dogs, elephants, buffalo, lion and a host of other species. As an annex to the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) which comprises Kruger National Park, Limpopo Park and Gonarezhou National Park, this lowveld area is also home to artist Lin Barrie and her life partner, Clive Stockil. Lin and Clive share each others lives and are committed to the conservation of eco-systems, endangered wildlife, and community livelihoods and cultures.

Expressing herself with found objects, palette knife and paintbrush, Lin Barrie believes that the abstract essence of a landscape, person or animal can only truly be captured by direct observation. She immerses herself in her subjects, whether observing African night skies,  sketching rhinos drinking at a favourite waterhole, watching African wild dogs and their pups, or capturing the mood of an abstract landscape or traditional dance…

She is fascinated by the synergies between elements of landscape, people and animals, such as the flow of water which becomes fish, the texture of baobab skin which so closely resembles that of elephants’ limbs, the shapes of monumental rock outcrops which take human or animal forms, plants which echo human parts, animal totems and people….

Lin says, “Whether we are humans living in sprawling cities or traditional villages, or dung beetles rolling our food stores; whether we are monumental baobab trees thousands of years old or whales birthing our young in cold currents; each of us has a vital role to play as strands of the greater web of life. Diversity and linkages between people, plants, animals and their environment are insurance for the future of our earth.”

She states: “I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and I love travelling to the wilderness outposts of our world.  From my field sketches I create works on canvas,  using oils and acrylics.  I enjoy the immediacy and abstract quality of my preferred tool-a treasured old palette knife inherited from my father, to create expressive strokes. In the field, pencil, oil pastel or charcoal sketches are my first step. I love the intense colour, the smell and the sumptuous texture of oil paint, but I often use acrylic, oil bar and mixed media as I find these are perfect mediums to do quick sketches in situ, in the field. When I have to travel with my paintings, between bush camps, acrylic is practical as it dries fast.”

Biology was a passion for Lin during her school years. Plans to enter the world of science were superseded only by the radical decision to pursue the lonely path of an artistic career! After completing a Fine Art Diploma in print making at Durban Technikon in 1980, she  gained experience as a textile designer, travelling extensively to Europe and the Far East for business and pleasure. In 1991 Lin returned to Zimbabwe from Singapore, having completing courses in Chinese brushstroke painting and Indonesian batik.

Lin Barrie’s work is in various collections worldwide.

Part proceeds from her artworks benefit the conservation/community initiatives that she and Clive support, such as Save Valley Conservancy, Tusk Trust UK, African Wildlife Conservation Fund, Painted Dog Conservation, Painted Wolf Foundation, Painted Wolf Wines,Tikki Hywood Trust, Miracle Missions wetlands initiative and Birdlife Zimbabwe.

Lin collaborates with her daughter Kelli Barker, a professional Make Up Artist, to create exhibitions combining her canvas artworks and Kelli’s body paintings.

Lin Barrie contact:
Mobile: 0772922148

Lin and Clive

Posted in abstract art, adventure travel, Africa, African child, African flora, African wild dogs, african wildlife, african wildlife conservation fund, animal rights, anti poaching, art, art collaboration, art exhibition, art on clothes, beauty, bio diversity, books, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, chilojo cliffs, Chilojo Club, community conservation, conservation, conservation education, cultural beliefs, culture, dustbin art, eco-tourism, endangered species, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, landscape, Lin Barrie Art, Lin Barrie publication, mopani trees, painted dog conservation, Painted Dogs, Painted Wolf Foundation, Painted Wolf Wines, painted wolves, Poaching, Prince William Award For Conservation, Save River, Save Valley Conservancy, tradition, Tusk Trust, Waste no Waste, wetlands, White rhinos, wild dogs, wilderness, wildlife trade, wine, wolves, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks, Zimbabwe Sunshine Project | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A woman in vulture conservation: Katie Fallon

Turkey Vultures are fascinating..endearing scavengers who clean up our world…

Big Birdie


Katie Fallon is a remarkable non-fiction author. She has authored two environment and conservation related books, children’s environmentally educative books along with articles for countless publications and journals in the United States. She founded the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia with her husband who is the resident vet there and they live in West Virginia with their two daughters who also help at the center. She is a powerful, influential and inspiration educator and a woman in conservation.

1.You published Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird last year. Briefly tell us what it is about.

katie fallon book

My book, Vulture, tells the story of one of the world’s most widespread and abundant scavenging birds of prey: the turkey vulture. Turkey vultures can be found throughout most of North, Central, and South America in a variety of habitats—they’re a bird that unites people across the Americas. Where I live, in the…

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African wild dog, my observations…

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“wild dogs”; what’s in a name?…a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

The debate, what to call wild dogs if not just that….!

this is my sketch of “Tip”, a young dog I watched for a few years in the Save Valley Conservancy…

African wild dogs is the accepted English-use name for the unique species Lycaon pictus, literally meaning painted, wolf-like animal. But they are known variously as Painted Wolves, Painted dogs, Ornate wolves, and of course the local names for these enigmatic and charismatic creatures varies from community to community over Africa..such as Iganyana (Ndebele), MhumiBhumi or Bhumhi (Shona), wildehond  (South Africa), Mabeco (Mozambique), Mbwa mwitu (Swahili), Hlowa (Tsonga), Lekanyana (Tswana), Dalerwa (Venda), Ixhwili (Xhosa), Inkentshane (Zulu)

What’s in a name? 

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet….

Portrait, acrylic and oil bar on canvas, 76 x 51 cm

Just for fun, a great link to other “wild dog” species worldwide: taken from the Active Wild site..

This list contains all of the currently recognised dog species. In the case of the Grey Wolf (Canis Lupus), included are two well-known subspecies: the Dingo (Canis lupus dingo), and the Domestic Dog (Canis lupus familiaris). A list of dog species would be incomplete without them! However, these are the only subspecies*  included.

* Subspecies are very closely-related animals, and are able to interbreed. They’re different ‘types’ of the same species, and are often only separated geographically.

  1. African Golden Wolf (Canis anthus)
  2. African Wild Dog (African Hunting Dog / African Painted Dog) (Lycaon pictus)
  3. Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus)
  4. Bat-Eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis)
  5. Bengal Fox (Vulpes bengalensis)
  6. Black-Backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas)
  7. Blanford’s Fox (Vulpes cana)
  8. Bush Dog (Speothos venaticus)
  9. Cape Fox (Vulpes chama)
  10. Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac)
  11. Coyote / Prairie Wolf (Canis latrans)
  12. Cozumel Fox (Undescribed Species)
  13. Crab-Eating Fox (Cerdocyon thous)
  14. Culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus)
  15. Darwin’s Fox (Lycalopex fulvipes)
  16. Dhole / Asian Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus / Canis alpinus)
  17. Ethiopian Wolf / Abyssinian Wolf / Simien Fox / Simien Jackal (Canis simensis)
  18. Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda)
  19. Golden Jackal (Canis aureus)
  20. Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
  21. Grey Wolf Subspecies: Dingo (Canis lupus dingo)
  22. Grey Wolf Subspecies: Domestic Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
  23. Grey Wolf (Gray Wolf / Timber Wolf) (Canis lupus)
  24. Hoary Fox (Lycalopex vetulus)
  25. Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis)
  26. Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis)
  27. Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)
  28. Pale Fox (Vulpes pallida)
  29. Pampas Fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus)
  30. Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
  31. Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
  32. Red Wolf (Canis rufus)
  33. Rüppell’s Fox (Vulpes rueppelli)
  34. Sechura Fox (Lycalopex sechurae)
  35. Short-Eared Dog (Atelocynus microtis)
  36. Side-Striped Jackal (Canis adustus)
  37. South American Gray Fox / Patagonian Fox / Chilla (Lycalopex griseus)
  38. Swift Fox (Vulpes velox)
  39. Tibetan Sand Fox (Vulpes ferrilata)


plus, for ten “biggest” wild dogs, view:

Posted in Africa, African wild dogs, african wildlife, african wildlife conservation fund, animal rights, art, bio diversity, citizen science, community conservation, dogs, eco-tourism, education, endangered species, Lin Barrie Art, oral history, painted dog conservation, Painted Dogs, painted Dogs, painted wolves, predators, wild dogs, wilderness, wolves, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wine and Wild Dog Weekends; What better way to celebrate great wine and meaningful Conservation…

What better way to celebrate great Wine and meaningful wildlife Conservation… come to the yearly Wine and Wild Dog Weekends at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge to find out about the conservation of African Wild Dogs, Lycaon pictus, in the lowveld areas of Zimbabwe, with research team African Wildlife Conservation Fund, plus enjoy learning about world class Conservation Wines, created by Jeremy Borg of Painted Wolf Wines…

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Last year, the event at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, raised a healthy check for the African Wildlife Conservation Fund, a small thank you for the ongoing educational and conservation outreach work they do in our rural communities surrounding wildlife areas…


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Posted in abstract art, adventure travel, aeroplane, Africa, African Safari, African wild dogs, african wildlife, african wildlife conservation fund, aircraft, animal rights, anti poaching, art, beauty, bio diversity, bush camps, Changana people, Chilo Gorge, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, chilojo cliffs, Chilojo Club, citizen science, clive stockil, community conservation, conservation, conservation education, conservation news, cooking, culture, dogs, eco-tourism, endangered species, food, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, landscape, Lin Barrie Art, organic slow food, painted dog conservation, Painted Wolf Wines, painted wolves, rabies, safari, Save Valley Conservancy, travel, Uncategorized, wild dogs, wilderness, wine, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pangolin Love embodied, in paintings, knitting and silver creations…

Pangolins are Precious….bottom line is we ALL need to increase awareness of trade in endangered species such as these armoured cuties…

and so I am happy to continue show my new work in conjunction with Patrick Mavros to raise awareness for this charismatic little creature…

Some of my previous paintings displayed at the mavros showroom in Harare  have sold, raising some funding for Tikki Hywood Trust, 

and these are available;

Rolled Silver pangolin, acrylic on stretched canvas, 3 x 3 feet…

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and Rose Gold pangolin, acrylic on stretched canvas, 3 x 3 feet…Rose Gold Pangolin, acrylic on stretched canvas, 3 x 3 feet, lo res.jpeg

If you visit Patrick Mavros showroom you’ll find exquisite  rose gold jewellery to match my Rose Gold pangolin painting!!




Oh – and look at this amazing little knitted pangolin from Gogo Olive;





Posted in abstract art, Africa, african wildlife, animal rights, anti poaching, art, bio diversity, conservation, conservation education, conservation news, eco-tourism, education, endangered species, Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, Lin Barrie Art, lowveld, Pangolin, Patrick Mavros, Poaching, Uncategorized, wilderness, wildlife trade, world pangolin Day, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment