Baobab Christmas Tree and Festive Season at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

What a pleasure it is for Clive Stockil and I  to arrive at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, rain imminent, ground steaming in anticipation!

Afternoon tea on the deck brings a stunning sight…

Chilo Gorge view from the deck with late afternoon tea

Chilo Gorge view from the deck with late afternoon tea

Out of the thick green canopy that lines the swelling river, come the seven naughty bull elephants who recently trashed our gardens, before being distracted by the green offerings of the newly rain-washed grass in the bush…! What a pleasure it is to watch them wallow for more than half an hour in the river below us, playfully tusking and shoving each other in the slippery delicious mud of the foreshore…endangered for their as-yet immature tusks, our challenge is to keep these youngsters safe from the threat of poaching, in this pristine Gonarezhou wilderness…more so than ever at Christmas time, since  poaching is an ever present threat regardless of season or holidays….tourism, Game drives and walks, and presence of people in these wilderness areas is one of the best safeguards against poaching activity

…..my musing brings to mind the Baobab tree ornament for sale in the Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge shop, festooned like a Christmas tree with little locally-carved animals, many of which reflect vulnerable species…including the elephant…the African wild dog…

baoabab tree of life

baoabab tree of life

 

and the rhino….

By supporting local artist in the sale of their art, much is achieved in reducing the likelihood of poaching by people who are desperate to earn a living….for example,Chilo Gorge stocks delightful caved wooden rhinos,  created by master carver Lambert….

Rhino carved by Lambert

Rhino carved by Lambert

Now for the actual Chilo Christmas Tree!

A happy result of creative collaboration between Cathie, (who manages Chilo bookings in Harare and is ably holding the fort together with Chief Guide Thomas Mutombeni, at Chilo during the festive season), and who bought the wire tree from a roadside artisan, myself, who sourced some of the re-cycled ornaments, and Nadine, who collected pods and decorated the lovely tree…..

Wire baobab tree

Wire baobab tree

This is a joyful local creation, and is a happy memory of dear Nadine, who, sadly, with her partner John Laing, have left Chilo to move to a job where they can more easily school their little daughter. Sculpted wire forms into a funky baobab, dripping with local hand-crafted ornaments …such as this beaded “ndoro”

Ndoro decoration

Ndoro decoration

and this hand painted bottle top and cd disc decoration!

Re-cycling rules!

hand painted bottle top and cd disc decoration

hand painted bottle top and cd disc decoration

Baobab pods and glitter go well together!

Baobab Pods decoration

Baobab Pods decoration

These festive holidays we really are celebrating the Baobab tree- tree of life, our Christmas Tree at Chilo…..we are lucky to have wonderful specimens of these giants around the lodge, framing our views of the Save River…

baobab tree and rainy sky

baobab tree and rainy sky

The ethereal white blossoms appear fleetingly…

baobab flower on tree

baobab flower on tree

and drop to the wet ground in splendid decadence…

baobab flowers and pods

baobab flowers and pods

A special season, time for giving thanks to nature’s bounty, and for planning exciting safaris for lucky guests..here is Thomas, Chief Guide, just in from checking the river crossings and now working at his desk. Framed by a sparkly festive tree, he is busy  putting together great ideas for drives and walks…..!

Thomas and tree

Thomas and tree

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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 Africa, African flora, african wildlife, art, beauty, Black rhinos, Chilo Gorge, christmas, conservation, crafts, dogs, eco-tourism, elephants, family, flowers, gardens and flowers, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, landscape, Painted Dogs, painted wolves, Poaching, predators, rhinos, Rivers, safari, Uncategorized, White rhinos, wilderness, wildlife trade, wood sculpture, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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