Friday, 7 October 2011

TALES FROM THE GREAT NORTH SOME STORIES FROM THE LIMPOPO AND LUVUVHU RIVERS


Combretum microphyllum in flower

Rosemary and Adonsonia digitata hug
TALES FROM THE GREAT NORTH
SOME STORIES FROM THE LIMPOPO AND LUVUVHU RIVERS
I was recently in Northern Kruger. I thought I would share with all our bloggers, what I saw up there. After all, 200 years ago, Durban area had many of the animals I recently saw, and would like back again, to roam the streets of Durban. Is that better than industrial pollution and damming of the rivers? I do like flush toilets and hot baths!!!  s there an alternative to a way of life? Anyway, rivers connect us all, like vines in a forest, for an arboreal pathway, rivers are pathways to the past, present and future. According to Einstein, it was all the same thing?
 The sounds of the bush will always stay with me. You absorb these into your whole being. Hearing a Fiery-necked nightjar, in the middle of the night, instead of police or ambulance sirens.  At 3.30am at Punda-Maria, I saw the whole of the sky, lit up with stars. And my friend, the go-away bird and the bush chickens. I saw 3 species of Francolin. I had plenty of AHA Moments, when I saw Guineafowl!! I also had the tendency to hug many baobabs and leadwoods.
At the Luvuvhu River bridge and Crooks Corner
The river is either named after a Combretum (bushwillow) species, muvuvhu (Venda) that grows on its’ banks, or for the hippos that are frequently seen. Ludi (water) and muvuvhu (hippo) (Venda) In Zulu, hippo is mvubu.
We heard the elephants, before we saw them. The Matriach trumpeted as they went down the bank, in a cloud of dust. They were so excited. Their ancestors had probably been coming to this river spot for centuries. There were 3 young ones of different ages. They made their way across the river, quickly, then, congregated in the shallows. The young ones had mud and sand baths. The big ones splashed water over themselves. One, right on the bank, was splashing dust over herself. Another threw dust, right over her back, onto the baby lying behind her. The whole breeding herd was done in about 10 minutes. Then they crossed back to the other side. This time, they went more slowly and they kept in a close group. When they reached the bank, they went in a circle to confer. The babies wanted to look around, but the big Mamas were still talking.
The hippo were heard around the corner, on the Luvuvhu River, at Crooks’ Corner, where the 3 countries are supposed to meet, at the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers.  Limpopo is supposed to be Sotho for River of the Waterfall? Actually, I only saw Zimbabwe clearly. Mozambique was hiding round the curve, near the Lebombo Mountains, in the haze. The flame climbing bushwillows (Combretum microphyllym) was all over the tall trees, on the other side of the great grey-green greasy Limpopo.  Because it was winter, the river was quite low. A lot of wide sand-banks. No wonder, those Crooks could go back and forth, stealing our all ivory, ecectra!! But, there were plenty of crocs’ around. I would love to see the Limpopo in flood!!  For other pictures of this trip view: http://coralwild.blogspot.com/

Rosemary Harrison 

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