exploring the river

28 Nov 2011


We take a long drive out to where the Shingwedzi swings south and the east bank rises to an escarpment of high rocky cliffs. It’s a slow, clattering journey over a rocky track that winds through endless mopane but it rewards us with magnificent views and scenery.

Two big pools at a place called Ngwenya are home to a number of hippo and we spend some time there, sitting on the rocks watching them (but being careful to stay out of croc reach). In one of the pools a fight breaks out and we watch as one hippo takes to land and sets off on a run, hotly pursued by another. They dash across the sand and rocks to the other pool some two hundred metres away, creating quite a spectacle and racket in the otherwise peaceful place. Once they’re in the water again, the air reverberates with deep honks and bellows that echo off the cliffs.

Somewhat less awesome is our discovery of a number of fireplaces with smokeracks where people from local communites come to stock up on fish that are confined to the pools. Judging by the piles of fish scales the villagers must be making substantial hauls of tigerfish and other species. Sadly, they also leave their litter.

Poaching has many faces. A crude ladder left by villagers who raided this Egyptian goose nest for its chicks.


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