Flowers fit for a wedding indeed… announcement has been made!

Kelli and Anton at Chilo Gorge

Kelli and Anton at Chilo Gorge


Kelli's toes and a stunning dietes species, in the botanic gardens of Hawai'i....

Kelli’s toes and a stunning dietes species, in the botanic gardens of Hawai’i….


Flowers fit for a wedding…..joyous colours of flowers in the Hawai’i Botanic Gardens reflect the happiness we all feel for Kelli and Anton…….

 Best view ever, the photo doesn't do it justice! Full moon of the ocean 15 floors above the sea

Best view ever, the photo doesn’t do it justice! Full moon of the ocean 15 floors above the sea

Anton’s photo of a full moon, 15 floors above the surface of the ocean…..!

I am very very thrilled- My darling daughter Kelli Barker has got engaged to her special man Anton Milner -he is currently working hard, cruising the Caribbean and she is cruising Hawai’i – so this is truly a long distance but very committed relationship! Welcome to our family Anton! Gramps sends his best wishes to you both and Clive Stockil and I look forward to being part of your family as well.I am very very thrilled- My darling daughter Kelli Barker has got engaged to her special man Anton Milner -he is currently working hard, cruising the Caribbean and she is cruising Hawai’i – so this is truly a long distance but very committed relationship! Welcome to our family Anton! Gramps sends his best wishes to you both and Clive Stockil and I look forward to being part of your family as well.

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Beauty specialist on a South Sea Cruise: Humpback Whales, Dance and turquoise waters…

Kelli, my Zimbabwean African child,  is sailing as a Beauty Specialist on a South Sea Cruise from San Diego to Hawai’i and Tahiti this month…


My child loves hats....!

My child loves hats….!


This is one of her orchid photos from the Hawai’i Botanical Gardens…

imageWhat wonderful culture in store for her!


images (13)




dance….images (15)

and more dance…!

culture in French Polynesia...

culture in French Polynesia…

First stop, Hilo Hawaii………….

Hilo Hawai'i

Hilo Hawai’i

The landscape of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is diverse. Beaches of black, gray, brown and white sand give way to mountains and dramatic waterfalls.

dramatic waterfalls

dramatic waterfalls

Hilo’s Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo is the only U.S. zoo in a tropical rainforest. A day trip away are snow-capped Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, with observatories near 11,000 feet on both mountains, and Kilauea Caldera, an active volcano.

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Back in town are a farmer’s market, restaurants, shopping and banyan trees planted by celebrities and politicians.

Then Honolulu….





then Lahaina (Maui, Hawaii)………………



Here are Kelli’s stunning photos of orchids in the Botanic Gardens….


Delicate beauties….

Fit for a wedding....

Fit for a wedding….

Flowers fit for a wedding indeed… announcement has been made!

(See my next post for some stunning news!!!!)

Next, Bora Bora,  an island  of French Polynesia, which is an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The island, located about 230 kilometres (143 miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the centre of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point at 727 metres (2,385 feet).

Bora Bora is a major international tourist destination. Produce of the island is mostly limited to what can be obtained from the sea and the plentiful coconut trees, which were historically of economic importance for copra

The island was inhabited by Polynesian settlers around the 4th century AD. James Cook sighted the island in 1770 and landed that same year.  Bora Bora was an independent kingdom until 1888 when its last queen Teriimaevarua III was forced to abdicate by the French who annexed the island as a colony.

Queen Teriimaevarua III, forced to abdicate by the French ....

Queen Teriimaevarua III, forced to abdicate by the French ….

Over the last few years several  resorts consisting of over-the-water bungalows ,have been built on motu (small islands, from Tahitian) surrounding the lagoon,extending on stilts over the lagoon. 

beautiful stilt bungalows

beautiful stilt bungalows

Snorkeling and scuba diving in and around the lagoon of Bora Bora are popular activities. Many species of sharks and rays inhabit the surrounding body of water. 


Tahiti is the largest in a chain of islands that make up French Polynesia.

images (5) The name can either refer to the main island or the entire destination. Commonly referred to as The Islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls scattered across an impressive nautical surface area the size of Western Europe. Still, these tiny islands—many of which remain uninhabited—make up a total landmass of only 1,600 square miles (4,100 sq. km).

cultural dance

cultural dance

Papeete, based on Tahiti, is a vibrant and multicultural city with busy boulevards and a bustling harbor. The downtown municipal market, Le Marché, is an exciting place to purchase all things Tahiti including vanilla beans, monoi oil and colorful pareos. To live like a local, head to Vai’ete Square after sunset. This waterfront promenade comes to life at night when gourmet food trucks, Les Roulottes, open their windows to serve a range of affordable meals including Chinese food, French crépes, steak frites, fresh fish and pizza.

I am really hoping Kelli will see Humpback whales, since they visit Hawaiian waters each year from November to May with the peak of the season being from January to March.

Humpback whales

Humpback whales

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was created by Congress in 1992 to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i. The sanctuary, which lies within the shallow (less than 600 feet), warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands, constitutes one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats.

Through education, outreach, research and resource protection activities, the sanctuary strives to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i.

Humpback whales, now an endgangered species, were plentiful in oceans worldwide before the global population was depleted by commercial whaling at the start of the 20th century. In 1993 it was estimated that there were 6,000 whales in the North Pacific Ocean, and that 4,000 of those came to Hawaiʻi. Through an international ban on commercial whaling and protections under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the North Pacific humpback whale population now numbers more than 21,000. The population of humpback whales that uses Hawaiʻi’s waters as their principle wintering ground is likely more than 10,000 animals. This number is based on a comprehensive research effort that occurred between 2004 and 2006 that estimated the population at approximately 10,000 animals, and the likelihood that the population is still increasing at some unknown rate.

The North Pacific stock of humpback whales feed during the summer in northern waters (between approximate latitudes of 40-75° N). The cool, nutrient rich waters around Alaska provide ideal feeding locations. Humpback whales have plate-like bristles known as baleen in their mouth instead of teeth. They feed on krill and small schooling fishes, such as capelin and herring. A variety of feeding methods are used including bubble net feeding and lunge feeding. Humpbacks rarely feed in their wintering areas and it is not known if they feed along their migratory routes.

migratory routes

migratory routes

Hawai‘i is the only state in the United States where humpback whales mate, calve, and nurse their young.

mother and calf humpback

mother and calf humpback

Humpbacks may find Hawai‘i suitable because of the warm waters, the underwater visibility, the variety of ocean depths, and the lack of natural predators. Mothers can be seen breaching alongside their calves and males can be seen competing with one another for females in fierce head-to-head battles.

Whale behaviours

Whale behaviours


Posted in Africa, African child, art, beauty, bio diversity, conservation, cruise ships, culture, dance, eco-tourism, education, endangered species, flowers, food, food culture, French Polynesia, gardens, gardens and flowers, landscape, plankton, taste, whales, whaling industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rabies, Vets and River Sunsets; Wild dogs and Domestic dogs….

Whew, after the rush and fun of Valentine’s weekend, the pace of life  has not slowed down….nor did we expect it to! We do still make time to sit and watch the sunset every now and then, though….with the end of the rainy season looming, the Save River is dropping in volume daily, and this gigantic tree that rolled down with the last floods is being left high and dry….

Sunset on a special river

Sunset on a special river

In response to reported cases of rabid dogs, and a little girl suspected to have died of rabies at the end of 2014 in Mahenye community, adjacent to Chilo Gorge  Safari Lodge and Gonarezhou National Park, Clive Stockil, Chilo Gorge,  African Wildlife Conservation Fund and Frankfurt Zoological Society  donated accomodation at Chilo Gorge Lodge and further secured funding for VAWZ -(Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe) to carry out a rabies vaccination campaign in the area.

AWCF header

Some of the VAWZ team based in Harare:

some of the VAWZ team...

some of the VAWZ team…

The campaign officially started on February 17th, and a pre-awareness campaign resulted in a positive response from the community, with over 300 domestic dogs being vaccinated on the first day!

rabies vaccinations

rabies vaccinations

The community, local ground staff and veterinarians have made this happen. Mel Hood and Vawz team were assisted by Dr Chris Foggin and Jess Dawson, and Dr. Helene Donohoe assisted VAWZ in their very important work in the Lowveld. Helene and Ant Donohoe helped to run an eco-workshop educational workshop at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge for 2 days alongside the vaccination initiative…(more about that wonderful workshop in a later post…)

dipping day...

dipping day…

Cattle dipping day was chosen as a time when many herders would come in to a central point with their dogs…

some reluctant patients...

some reluctant patients…

The vet team were impressed with the general health and well being of the dogs that they saw in the Mahenye area, and commented that these were some of the best looking, and fiercest dogs that they have seen around the country!

I guess reflecting their Changana owners personalities, these are proud hunting dogs!

Some patients were reluctant…..

more reluctant patients...

more reluctant patients…

others were more resigned to their fate….

Three dogs wait loyally behind their owners....

Three dogs wait loyally behind their owners….

Not only the patients were reluctant….

even although a pre awareness and outreach had taken place the week before the vets arrival, some of the  more remote villagers felt suspicious of what effect the vaccinations would have on their dogs apart from disease prevention, feeling that perhaps the jabs might make their treasured hunting dogs less fierce, less ‘hunterly!’

For these few sceptics , time will tell, and next time round they will be hopefully more willing to vaccinate their dogs, having seen not only a marked improvement in their dogs’ health, but no resultant lack of hunting skills!

Dr Chris Foggin provided expert assistance and advice…

Chris Foggin and team

Chris Foggin and team

Mel Hood and Caroline keeping records…

Mel and Caroline keeping essential documentation in order...

Mel and Caroline keeping essential documentation in order…

A potential rabies outbreak could not only have severe consequences for the health of the local community, but also local wildlife (including African wild dogs).

In the past, I have seen whole packs of our African wild dogs die in a short space of time due to rabies, which spreads fast among theses very social animals…

Painting-“Dog Dance”, by Lin Barrie- acrylic on canvas, 100 x 130 cm ……………..

"Dog Dance" by Lin Barrie- acrylic on canvas, 100 x 130 cm

“Dog Dance” by Lin Barrie- acrylic on canvas, 100 x 130 cm

With the easing of our rainy season, the Save river is dropping, allowing easier passage of wild animals such as wild dogs  and increasing the chances of wild mammals coming into contact with rabid domestic dogs, so this initiative is non-too soon…..

Every dog vaccinated makes a potential difference….and by the end of this exercise over 1000 dogs were vaccinated and treated for worms!

One man and his dog....

One man and his dog….

Posted in African wild dogs, african wildlife, african wildlife conservation fund, animal rights, art, bio diversity, Chilo Gorge, community conservation, conservation, conservation news, culture, dogs, eco-tourism, education, endangered species, Frankfurt Zoological Society, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Lin Barrie Art, Machangana culture, Painted Dogs, painted wolves, rabies, Rivers, Uncategorized, VAWZ, wilderness, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, Painted Wolves, red wine and happiness to you all…


Valentine's Hearts from the bush...

Valentine’s Hearts from the bush…

-nothing better than to share a bottle of Painted Wolf Wine…especially since drinking this excellent wine fully supports real conservation for endangered species

Wines for Life...

Wines for WildLife…


Pictus I is such a wine, read the story in this link

Pictus I wine in Gonarezhou

Pictus I wine in Gonarezhou

and read more about my favourite painting subject, endangered African wild dogs, (aka Painted Wolves, Painted Dogs),  in my facebook page, A Celebration of Painted Wolves….

African wild dog sketch 1 BW - lo res will take you to my art catalogue page in this blog……

seems to me that fine food, good wine and conservation go very well, hand in hand…. has gorgeous images for Valentine’s Day..

two hearts

two hearts



Posted in conservation, eco-tourism, gonarezhou national park, Africa, African flora, wine, cooking, love, Painted Wolf Wines, bicycle rides, culture, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Lin Barrie Art, taste, conservation news, food culture, gardens, Valentine's Day, endangered species | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valentine’s day preparations…Cute kissing slugs, bugs and orange Crossandra Flowers

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day…

Today, Friday 13th…Kelli, the cruise ship traveller, gets to San Diego on her ship today, off to Hawaii tomorrow…hard work but wonderful travel experience…

A beautiful day dawns for me, at Chilo

early morning at Chilo

early morning at Chilo

An amazing grasshopper on the deck, who has a solid, rhino-look about him, walks very s-l-o-w-l-y like a chameleon,  then shocks me by leaping into my coffee cup when I try to move him!

Swiftly rescued from the semi-hot coffee, I pour cool water over him, and he seems non the worse for his Starbucks experience….

rhino chameleon grasshopper

rhino chameleon grasshopper

Some of my nocturnal photographs reflect fascinating night life…

Here is a mummy spider carefully carrying her babies, even while she eats a flying ant snack……

Spider mummy eating a flying ant

Spider mummy eating a flying ant

A diminutive, astonished-looking snail…..

tiny snail and deserted egg case. or  cocoon...

tiny snail and deserted egg case. or cocoon…

And cute little kissing slugs, getting in the mood for Valentine’s Weekend at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge……

kissing slugs

kissing slugs

I collect a gorgeous bunch of our indigenous  (and Edible!) Crossandra flowers which are going to decorate the lodge for Valentines Weekend..follow the Edible link to see more about the Crossandra flowers at Chilo Gorge…I have survived eating them for more than a week, so now we know we can safely serve them as food decor!

Crossandra flowers

Crossandra flowers

they go into the ladies restroom……….for a start………..

chilo ladies restroom

chilo ladies restroom


the end of the day brings a glorious rainbow, a Valentine’s promise….!




Posted in African Safari, african wildlife, beauty, bio diversity, Chilo Gorge, conservation, crafts, eco-tourism, flowers, gardens, gardens and flowers, homegrown, insects, molluscs, Rivers, SAVE, spiders, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crossandra flowers and tilapia fillets; old “churhi” and Blue waxbill grass…

At Chilo Gorge every day brings new beauty, such as this gorgeous Crossandra framed by what I call ‘blue waxbill grass’-

Crossandra and blue waxbill grass

Crossandra and blue waxbill grass

I have called it that because I did not know the latin name, but do know that the Blue waxbills love the seeds!

(I now know the latin name, courtesy of Bart WurstenPanicum maximus!)

Blue waxbill grass....!

Blue waxbill grass….!


Crossandra is one of my all time favourite lowveld flowers; hardy, stunning and not palatable to naughty elephants….here it is growing in the Chilo rock garden, flowing around an old Changana “churhi”…a vessel used for pounding sorghum or maize with a “mutsi”…

Crossandra and Churhi

Crossandra and Churhi


The Chilo chefs love crossandra flowers for food decor……

delicious Tilapia fish dinner

delicious Tilapia fish dinner

so I am conducting an experiment in the name of edible food decor-I am eating five crossandra flowers every day for a week to see whether I have any adverse reaction…thereafter we will feel safe about using it as a table decoration ….

Watch this space……….!

Posted in Africa, African flora, african wildlife, beauty, bio diversity, birding, birds, Chilo Gorge, conservation, cooking, crafts, culture, flowers, food, food culture, gardens, gardens and flowers, home grown food, homegrown, taste, zimbabwe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hyenas and Owl at Sunrise, Baobab pulp for breakfast;Tiepolo sky, Moths and Mango at Sunset……

Sunrise brings a watery radiance, the promise of rain, as two hyenas chat to each other in subdued voices across the Save River and as I relax with coffee, in the chair on my veranda at Chilo, a young owl flies off the beam right over my head where he has been sitting, and the wind from his gentle wings flutters my hair………

sunrise with hyenas calling...

sunrise with hyenas calling…

Baobab pulp at breakfast is tart, delicious, sprinkled on natural yoghurt and sweetened with honey….

baobab powder and yoghurt breakfast....

baobab powder and yoghurt breakfast….

with a list of medicinal and health uses from time immemorial, the Baobab Tree has a fascinating history….we will try cooking biscuits and cakes with this powder from the baobab pod, in place of creme of tarter and bicarb. Yum.

baobab pod

baobab pod

After start like this, the day is guaranteed to be a good one…lots of painting done and jobs achieved, with a body full of vitamin c and va-va-voom from the rich baobab pulp!

The end of the day, looking downriver towards the East, brings a golden glow to the sand that perfectly sums up a happy day’s work…

late afternoon

late afternoon

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, prolific Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice, comes to my mind this late afternoon as I turn from the eastern river view and gaze up at the luminous Tiepolo sky above me…

Tiepolo sky

Tiepolo sky

His paintings have always hovered, elemental in the clouds of my mind…strong shadings of light and dark, coupled with a genuine dramatic feeling, such as this gorgeous painting, “Olympus”…

Olympus by Tiepolo

Olympus by Tiepolo

those angels bearing up the darkening clouds could well be imagined in this sky above me now…

dark Tiepolo clouds...where are the angels...?!

dark Tiepolo clouds…where are the angels…?!


Dark falls, Tiepolo’s angels fade, and our delicious open-air supper of cheese, biscuits and local mangoes is also enjoyed by a cheeky moth that comes to slurp up the juices from the mango on Clive’s fork!

Moth and mango

Moth and mango



Posted in Africa, African Safari, african wildlife, art, beauty, birding, birds, Chilo Gorge, cooking, food, home grown food, insects, landscape, organic slow food, owls, predators, Rivers, slow food, taste, Tiepolo, Uncategorized, Zimbabwe National Ballet | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment