15 07 2012

Ngomakurira¬† (“place where they beat the drums”) is a very large granite dwala 30km from the outskirts of Harare. At one time the drums were regularly beaten there at a full moon and I know someone who once spent a night on the rock listening to the drumming but I am told it rarely happens now. I met Lucina and various friends of hers at the base of the path this morning though I opted to drive the Land Cruiser up the 4×4 track from the south. It is a popular outing for the local 4×4 club and the challenge is to touch the beacon on the top with the bumper of the vehicle though I decided my driving skills were not of that calibre. The more energetic people opted to cycle their mountain bikes up the track and they were not much slower than the vehicles – the track is that rough!

The weather was unusually warm and very hazy so I contented myself with subjects other than the view.

Solitary decisions

30 11 2008

Just before the rains start the solitary wasps go into a frenzy of nest building. Constructed of tubes of mud they paralyse prey, insert them into the nest and lay eggs on top before sealing them up. The larva feeds on the still alive prey and then emerges a few weeks later. Just about anywhere is suitable for a nest but they seem to prefer backs of curtains and tubular structures which require a bit less work. I generally tolerate them as part of living in Africa but my sense of humour does fail a bit when I discover a nest in the paper feed of my printer. This one (the larva in the photo gallery below) made the unfortunate decision to make a nest in the pipe I use to drain the emergency water tank. It nearly got away with it but someone must have nudged the tap so it leaked. I only discovered it because I needed to drain the tank to replace it with fresh water.

The blue headed lizard was also near the tank but I spotted it earlier this week. It lives in a tree by the back door along with a few others. It’s head is really that blue. Unfortunately it was at the limit of my little compact digital camera but you can get the idea.

The third photo I took yesterday whilst ferrying the lunch up Ngomukurira, a large granite dwala some 20 km to the NE of Harare for a friend’s son’s birthday outing. He and his friends had walked up with some adults so it was left to me to get the food to the top. I also gave Maria, his mother, and a guide a lift up. It really is spectacular and worth the apalling track which no doubt appeals to the 4×4 enthusiasts who frequent it. But it is one of the things I love about this country. Maria agreed with me and said that after the predictability of living in the UK she longed for the unpredictability and extremes of Africa.