Southern Zimbabwe is stunning, visually. It is probably the most beautiful country we have visited. Green, heavily wooded areas with major rock formations forming ridges and canyons all around. The country seems untouched by the outside world- innocent and welcoming.
We are visiting Singita Pamushana and it is one of the most elegant camps I have seen. The lodge is set up on the top of a ridge, and the view over the lake of the rock hillside is amazing – especially with the sunset shining on it. We are greeted by Jason , and the camp staff – hands in the air waving- with a sparkling lemonade drink. Everyone is so happy to welcome our little band of travelers. Service and attention has been incredible everywhere we have been but it seems very special at Pamushana. We had dinner that night on the deck under a huge Jackelberry tree hung with lanterns. Jason told us about an Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker, Kim Wolhuter, who is doing a study on the property about cheetahs. He won one of his Emmys for a documentary about the misunderstood hyena, and he has moved to a study of cheetahs- their habits and daily life. He creates a relationship over several months with the animals and habituates them to his presence. By the end of the filming, he was running with the pack and filming in the middle of kills- literally in the middle of them. Of course we went out to find him the next morning. Our group had a jeep with no roof so we could roll through the heavy thicket to reach him. Kim was tracking cheetahs and we found him most generous in sharing where he was located and seeing those incredible cats. We heard the cheetahs call to each other and in the stillness we saw them turn on a dime and tear after some prey. The thunder of their paws on the forest floor was stupendous. What a thrill!!
He joined us for a dinner that evening and his stories about hyenas and the animals he documents for his films were riveting. I hope we can get him to the US to speak about animal conservation, land conservation, land management and how it all has to work in harmony. His efforts to save wildlife is fascinating. He is a gracious, engaging and delightful fellow.
On our nightstand is a poem by Wayne Visser, about Africa.
The poem is delightful, and stikes a chord with all of us .
Excerpts from it:
Africa calls to me
With the beat of her drums that mark my days
And the words of her poets that guide my ways
With the crash of the waves that hug her shores
And the sounds of the rain that soak her pores
Africa calls to me
With the crackle of fires that light her skies
And the rustle of leaves that swish her sighs
With the chant of her songs that move my feet
And the pulse of her heart that makes mine beat.