The morning starts to warm up nicely and we are taking off our Safari Jackets. The breeze, coupled with the slow speed of our Cruiser is pleasant on my face. There is a bend in the sandy road and what we see is almost beyond belief. A pack of Painted Dogs are actually harassing an Elephant. They lunge at him and as he makes a few quick steps toward them, they back off. There is no barking. More like a little yelping. The Ele charges, the dogs back off... Finally they leave the road. We follow them and catch up at a little pond, where the dogs lounge in the sand. I cannot believe it: Ant slowly gets out of the vehicle and motions me to come along. I think, well if Ant can do it, so can I. I leave the Cruiser and sit in the sand, not more than 3 meters from the nearest dog. He /she looks at me with dark brown eyes. I take picture after picture in quick succession. The dog is totally relaxed and slowly my heart calms down and I can no longer hear its pounding. This is getting close to nature. The Dog and I. Ant assures me that there has never been a case of a Painted Dog attacking a human: Now he tells me.
Africa is always exciting! But sometimes it can be very funny. I shot this sequence somewhere in Mana Pools on one of the side arms of the Zambezi River. A Gray Crane makes himself comfortable on the back of a Hippo. Another Hippo, quite evidently does not like this bold intruder. He snaps at the Crane ... there is a turbulence of water spray. You may think that was the end of the Crane, even though Hippos are Vegetarians, but noooo... The Crane gets away with a scare.
Normally I tell my "facebook" friends to view the pictures on my Blog, because the picture quality and size is much better here than on facebook.
However, I tried to post a Video here, but this site cannot accommodate its size.
So, now I must ask you to visit me on facebook
there are some pretty good videos of Elephants and now also of Lions..
After having visited the "Great Zimbabwe" or as they are also known, the "Zimbabwe Ruins" and on our way back to Harare, we drove through the town of Chivhu and found the town completely devoid of people. We found everybody around and in the Soccer Stadium, where Independence Day was being celebrated. So, we turned off the highway and went to the Stadium. Many Citizens of Chivhu were milling around outside. Fortunately I had brought a Polaroid Camera and plenty of film packages with me and I started to take some pictures and handed them to the persons I had just photographed. It was my good luck, that one of them was the mayor of Chivhu, whose shot had turned out particularly well. At his request I took pictures of the town council, as well as of the mayor and his family. We where invited to participate in the celebrations and, in fact, were asked to sit at the Council's table. Gladys did so, but I asked permission to roam and take some pix, this time with my own Nikon.
One of the larger family groups invited us to partake of their celebratory dinner. There was some spicy soup and what seemed to be a vegetable and meat stew.
We were honoured and ate some of each.
Just a small part of the crowd assembled in the Stadium.
This group asked us "to dinner"
We accepted, although we had no idea what awaited us.
Gladys remarked: "they all look healthy and well.
Their food must be okay."
So, we ate! Tasted great.
Entertainment was provided by an energetic group of young girls
Several years ago, Gladys and I visited the "Great Zimbabwe"; a most interesting structure of stones built without any binding agent. Just stones fitted securely one upon the other. There is, to this day discussion as to who were the builders. We stayed overnight at a motel in the town of Masvingo. When we got up the next morning, one of the local kids had cleaned our car to within an inch of its life. It just glistened. Gladys, upon my question, suggested I should pay the lad the same amount as I would have had to pay in Toronto. So I did. This resulted in my just having hired a camera bag carrier and a guide, who knew the area, although communication was a bit difficult. He spoke no English and I spoke even less Shona.
No, Gladys is not holding up the wall.
She is leaning against one of the outer walls of what is left of "the Great Zimbabwe".....
Note the snake pattern on the very top: a sign of Fertility.
and also note that there is no binding agent between the building stones.
Four Ladies, visiting the site.
This, unfortunately damaged site, clearly shows the absence of a binding agent.
At the foot of this tower stands our guide and carrier. The purpose of this cone is also a matter of debate. Since it has no opening at the bottom and is a solid structure, it cannot have functioned as a grain bin or similar purpose structure. One theory, which has been told us, is that it was erected to show all comers, friend or foe, that this is a mighty place with a tower reaching above its walls. In front, our new-found friend.