Silhouette – travellers on a scotch-cart

This photo was taken hanging out of the window – its often like that – I see the shot and have a second or two to take it. One of the huge plusses of the Panasonic, is the time it takes to start it, and take the shot – only a few seconds.

Taken into the sun, the lady and her companion on the scotch-cart were totally blanked out. The moment I took it, I knew of an artist (Beaver Shaw) who paints the most wonderful watercolours. I tagged him on my page, and before lunch – he sent me a photo of his effort – which I thought was brilliant.

Climbing in Matopos…

The sky really is that blue here in Matabeleland – I love the yellow contrast

The slog up a kopjie is always a bugger, but once I’m there…

I struggled at first, to climb this rock – I felt I was really clomping up – until I removed my shoes! Then I had no trouble running up…

I also hoped that if a snake popped its head up when the dogs were sniffing around the exfoliating rocks, I could use them as a missile!

This exfoliating rock is actually hollow!

I’ve put the rest of the photos in a gallery – I think one can click on the image to view it full size

Fires, in Matopos

I think, in these two photos, I have managed to portray what its like being near a raging bush-fire – you can’t see (as your eyes stream) your throat burns and its very hot.

On one occasion, I began fighting a fire with only two people (I was waiting for assistance from not only Anglesea, but surrounding properties) and I was dithering about leaving them there all alone while I sent for help. I could hardly see and even less breathe. Eventually I agreed but said “Now listen guys – safety first – be very careful and please, just use your brains.” The younger guy quipped “How can I use my brains, if I have no oxygen!”

Sadly, once the fire season begins we all fight them for weeks…This latest one was started when an electricity pole fell and the sparks ignited the dry grass.

I’m hoping an artist out there will paint this one (above!)

Fires sure make for moody photographs!

This last photo was taken in the early morning, immediately after the fire. Logs, which sometimes burn for days, produce mist-like smoke that hangs in the valleys.

Fire season…

As the dry season comes to an end, here in Mat’land, the grass is tinder dry, the wind blows any which way it likes (instead of the prevailing south-easterly) and uncontrolled fires are the scourge of our grasslands.

I am pretty scared of fires, as I was nearly killed as a child, so generally only provide logistical support, which means driving my car around – pouring water in fighter’s knapsacks and helping with backburns.

And when its ravaged through, this is all that is left, killing small animals, bird and all the undergrowth mulch.

I leave you with this photo, taken of tired fire fighters. The chap in the centre is nearly 80 years old!

Gusu Sand Woodlands, Zimbabwe

Aeons ago, huge sands were deposited over large parts of southern Africa – worn away over even more aeons leaving only remnants in some areas of Zimbabwe. At some point in time, the weather must have been conducive to the growth of tree seedlings.

Colonists arrived to find huge Teak forests growing in what became known as the Gusu Woodlands.

I was lucky enough to be in what what used to be a cattle ranch (now, communal type subsistence farming) overlooking the Gwaai river and its tributaries. I took the photos in this post in the evening when the light wasn’t too strong overhead.

This stretch of sand, is about 20 to 30 metre higher than the valley – I wasn’t able to get a decent photo (trees were obscuring my view!!) But you can see it, if you look hard at background in this photo:

This is a cattle path down to the water which is about 6km away.

“Mpevu” Nkone coat pattern

A couple of weeks ago, I went to an area (in the Gusu Woodland area, overlooking the Umguza River.) It used to be a commercial farm and now has been converted into a more communal/resettlement area, because someone told me they had a young bull with the “Mpevu” coat pattern.

I cant post a photo, cos the animal I was shown, didn’t look anything like an Mpevu, (it looks sort of as if a brown cow stepped into a bath of white paint – leaving a white underside, a white muzzle and a white tuft at the end of the tail!

However, I did get to see some wonderful views and trees, of course!!!

The new homes have been built all along the Gusu Sand ridge that runs alongside the Victoria Falls road, but it appears their source of water is the Umguza River, about 6km away. In the above photo, you can see it in the distance – a line of darker trees.

I drove down there, where there are more Nkone owners, and took this photo:

There isn’t much water left in this section, but back in the day, herds of buffalo roamed in this area, so I’m guessing it will last until the rains.

I came across this lady on her way to collect water…there is a borehole, but also near the river, about 5km from her home. It’s never easy finding water in the Gusu Sand, and very difficult to drill. I’d also not like to have to walk in that deep, soft sand, with a bucket on my head!

When I find the mpevu bull – Ill post the photos!!!

A woman’s job is never done…

This photo is taken in the Gusu sand area of northwestern Zimbabwe. Many years ago, this area was harvested for Teak – but I didn’t see many…

Much of the forest area has been settled now, but most villages are very far from water.

This photo was taken in the early morning

Early morning on the Kezi Rd, Matopos

This photo is taken on the short piece I drive on the Kezi Rd between where I live and the Anglesea homestead

The frost was thick on the roadside and I had to drive off the road to take this shot – enough to make my wheels skid on the slippery ice

Monkey Thorn trees on the Umguza

The monkey thorn trees are fantastic this year. This photo (above,) was taken on the Umguza River in the Nyamadhlovu area of Western Zimbabwe.

Here, I have taken the photo through the yellow flowers.

The rainy season is threatening, here in Matabeleland and as always we await it with hope!