Mist and Honey badgers; Elephants and Lala palms…

Mist and Honey badgers; Elephants and Lala palms…
We wake up to a blanket of mist enveloping us. The winter sun rising is hot enough to soon burn it off and the fig tree below the bar deck is already full of vervet monkeys and Trumpeter hornbills feasting on the ripe fruit.
Off to the excellent Mahenye airstrip which is guarded by a venerable baobab, and has just received one of the top ratings in Zimbabwe, to collect Hugo Van Der Westhuizen of Frankfurt Zoological Society and Mark Saunders of Malilangwe Trust for a meeting. Maybe one day my wild dog plane will fly here from Kafue, Zambia, where she is based….
After a morning of meetings, we head to the Park, crossing the Save River by vehicle and up the steep far bank, entering one of my personal paradises. Guests the day before have seen a pack of wild dogs on the Runde River…most exciting…I wonder if that pack has denned yet? Maybe we will come across them today….
This thought almost makes up for me not being with my wild dogs on Senuko at this traumatic time in their lives….
A gorgeous game drive in warm winter sunlight, glowing Lala palms and parrots flitting and screeching between baobabs. Sitting on the banks of the Runde we watch elephants, vultures and bateleurs bathing, then see a young Martial Eagle land amongst numerous elephant droppings on the sand opposite us. He commences bouncing between the elephant dung balls, landing on each in succession, lifting and dropping them ! Almost a game of Eagle marbles…! What on earth is he playing at!? He does not try to pull at them with his beak. Young, and inexperienced at hunting as he probably is, is he very hungry and searching for beetles and grubs? His antics entrained and fascinate us for many minutes. He is still at his game when we have to leave….
A sundowner at Tembwehata pan brings multitudes of waterfowl, more elephants, baboons, warthogs, zebras and stunningly lit Nyala families, striped gold in the late light guarded by stately bulls and with many baby Nyala prancing among them.
Driving home brings its share of special memories: a scuttling honey badger ducking under cover as we pass; a four-toed elephant shrew bouncing along the track in front of us; the fantastically sculptured silhouettes of dozens and dozens of baobabs on baobab ridge, inky black against the burnt orange sky. Vulture shapes decorate a baobab, against a sickle moon and new stars palely shining.
Down on the riverbank, I catch their scent before I see them, then there they are in the dusk-two bulky bull buffaloes, who snort and stomp away, heads lifted high, as we reach our crossing homewards on the dark Save River. The smell of the warm wet sand and the riverine vegetation envelopes us.

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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 adventure travel, Aeroplane art, Africa, African flora, African Safari, African wild dogs, african wildlife, aircraft, art, beauty, bio diversity, birding, birds, Chilo Gorge, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, elephants, endangered species, Flying Safaris, gonarezhou national park, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, travel, wild dogs, wilderness, zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Parks and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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