All posts tagged: Africa

Nourishment for a Nation on the Rise ~ Zimbabwe’s Mpala Jena Camp

  The flames swayed and swirled in a drum beside us. Hippos went about their evening romp, on the grass on the Zambezi’s riverbank below. Golden hour had slipped past and storytelling had taken over. We had spent the first day of our safari at Mpala Jena Camp, in a private concession in the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe, taking it all in: the giant baobab we stopped the vehicle for so that I could slip out the wide lens to capture the tree’s mammoth girth. The giraffes we sat with for longer than usual, watching them devour natural salt licks, legs splayed in their awkward downward-giraffe pose, tongues flopping between mud and nostril. The skinny baby baboons, scuttering up and down stumps and flinging their bodies courageously from branch to branch in the tallest heights of the mopane trees, sausage trees, marula trees and ilala palms.     We’d spent the last hours of the day’s light following jostling elephants and their calves kicking up dust across the dirt paths of the reserve like line-dancers at …

The Foraging Flâneur – The Charm of a Giraffe Named Oscar

First published on the Relais & Châteaux Africa blog.   There was talk of a tall, handsome man about town roaming the wilderness of Epako Safari Lodge in Omaruru, Namibia, where we found ourselves one April afternoon. The man went by the name of Oscar. Oscar Wilde in the wild. Yet, he was in fact not a man, but a giraffe, and not a he, but a she. Oscar’s name was given to her more in the way of Johnny Cash’s song, “A Boy Named Sue”, than any traditional gender-appropriate naming strategy. And in case we were in any doubt, there was proof. When we arrived at the lodge, Oscar had just given birth. For the second time. Where her infant was we did not know.     Just as she was eluding my gaze so was she hiding her new-born in a secret location out in the 11,000 hectare private reserve at Epako, while she went about the duty of the foraging flâneur, eating furiously from every bush that passed her approval, to provide …

You Never Forget An Elephant

 “You know, they say an elephant never forgets. But what they don’t tell you is that you never forget an elephant.” – Bill Murray in the film, Larger Than Life I remember the elephant’s ears, waving outward to make him seem much larger than he was. Although, let’s not beat around the bush (that’s an elephant’s job), he was large, very large. Frighteningly so. The dust beneath him even tried to flee his gait. As he stamped the earth it rose up around him and fluttered to freedom on the back of the wind. It was the game vehicle that carried us away, quickly, but not too quickly. We were here for him, after all. This was Chobe in Botswana, home to more elephants than anywhere else in the world. Moments like this, flapping elephant ears and trumpeting trunks and flying dust are all part of the landscape – as are the calmer moments. I remember these moments best. The languid amble of the herd through the low waters of Botswana’s Selinda spillway during a trip …