balmy days

13 Dec 2011


Balmy days. Sweat-embalmed that is.

The tropical air is steadily working itself into a fever that will only break when it sheds the billions of drops of Indian ocean it’s brooding on.

The Shingwedzi river, where the pools rose briefly after the first rains, hasn’t flowed yet and is still waiting patiently for a seasonal flood that will leave its rocks shiny and its sands swept clear of spoor and elephant dumpings. Wide as it is, it must be an awesome sight when it fills.

What’s also in the air, is Christmas. I haven’t heard the woodland kingfishers sing Jingle Bells yet, but the fireflies that decorate the dark with their little flashing lamps are straight out of a Christmas fairytale. How man’s gaudy electric spectacle pales against this soft, graceful ballet! To me the dance of the fireflies remains one of nature’s most beautiful productions. So gentle, in a world so wild.

Less gentle is the elephant bull who’s been hanging around here for almost a week now. He’s taken it upon himself to trim the jungle around camp and uproot any lumber he deems unnecessary. Which explains why my breakfast cereal seems to snap, crackle and pop unduly loud in the mornings even though Mr J Daniels is not here with me. The bull is quite tolerant of human activity and -presence but I give him a respectful berth since he appears to be in musth.

Still, I think I should have a word with him. Yesterday morning he came to work in a dreadful state without even having brushed his teeth. It must have been a wild night out for him. His tusks, usually bright and unstained, were covered in black mud, as was the rest of him. Tsk, tsk. It’s hard to get reliable help in the tree-trimming business these days…

Too much nyama. Man Friday getting a jab for his gout.






A fallen giant. (Not the work of the elephant.)

Saddle-billed stork. The river attracts a rich birdlife.









These gals from Makandazul village spent a fun-filled Saturday by the river chasing fish with their baskets. Their shrieks escalated whenever a croc was spotted.


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