A fine example is the Victoria Falls. Vast numbers of Zimbabweans, their income bracket regardless, have never seen this wonder of the world. However, enjoying the wild places and wildlife in our country is an increasingly popular pursuit, across all sectors of our diverse population. We live in a veritable paradise — with so many pristine wilderness areas, nature reserves and game parks abundant with a vast number of species of Africa’s exciting animals and birds at our disposal. But squeezing the visits in between hectic work schedules, school terms and other commitments? There’s the challenge!
Recently I was lucky to host two of Hifa’s classical stars for 10 days — the Australian concert pianists, Coady Green and Leigh Harrold. Delightful people, and I was determined to give them as good a time as I could, time and work constraints regardless. I wanted to show them a glimpse of Zimbabwe’s beauty — but they were frantically rehearsing for their next concert and I was frantically racing several tight deadlines!
So first, I took them along on one of my standard evening runs, in the Chikurubi/Chishawasha area. Putting one of them on a bike, the other, a regular runner joining me on foot, we headed out with my hounds and I showed them one of my everyday almost-wildernesses that I love exploring. We got as far as we could before the light faded, and I gave them a panoramic view of the mountains and dose of almost-bush-scape — all this, just five minutes drive and then a 45-minute run from where I live in Greendale! In the same area, I regularly spot duikers, bushpigs, civet, genet and mongooses. They enjoyed the adventure — which, typically for me, involved running/cycling back in the dark — and they loved the scores of roosting vervet monkeys on the way back, in their favoured tall trees!
Later, I took them on “night game drives” in Chisipite and The Grange, towards Gletwyn! There’s still small wildlife living in this area, now being developed, but currently still relatively wild.
Not 3km from my brother’s Greendale home, at 10pm, I quickly found them a pair of hunting jackals — on two consecutive evenings! The same pair, most likely that I’d seen on numerous other occasions recently. I happen to think jackals are very beautiful creatures and they concurred. They trotted about obligingly along the road and we enjoyed them for quite some time.
Finally, I played hooky from my work for one afternoon, and rushed them out into the Chinhamora mountains. After a scenic 45-minute drive, with kind permission we left the car by a homestead whose friendly owners remembered me from the last time I’d climbed in that particular spot. Unusually for me, I actually managed to get them back there before dark (I’m notorious for being on top of a mountain at sunset, not, almost back at the car!)