My old friend Mike Aldersy from Adelaide in Australia invited me to join him on a trip down memory lane to Zimbabwe in November and here is a small extract of our visit with some of the highlights.
Our fist stop was to Imire Game Farm and Lodge in the Wedza district and anyone that goes to Zimbabwe and fails to visit this place is frankly either misinformed or plain loopy. We stayed with the owners John and Judy Travers who are old friends of mine and the stay was typical of these wonderful people. Just for starters while eating supper that first night we were joined by a half grown Wildebeest who having been hand-reared is convinced that she is human! So she just walks into the kitchen and that set the tone for rest of our stay. The highlight here was not only the fact that we were in close proximity to the small herd of Black Rhino and their two new White Rhino, who by the way, have not read the label that states a fence is not to be crossed so they go walk-about all over the district with their guards in hot pursuit on a regular basis.
For Mike and I the real star of the show was Mac the largest of their Elephants. What a spectacular fellow he is. If you visit Zimbabwe and fail to visit Mac then you have really missed something. He is huge but I think if he could sit in Judy’s lap he would. I think Mike and I had some serious thoughts crashing around in our heads. We hunted Elephants in the 80’s in the Chewore and the Dande and I for one had occasion to ponder just what we had killed when we hunted one of these guys. Before we left Imire I resolved to return before leaving Africa to come and measure the dimensions of this incredible fellow for my next sculpture of an elephant bull.
From Imire we journeyed to the Midlands of Zimbabwe where we were to have a drink of the Famous Grouse alongside Alan Lowe’s grave, long dead now from the attentions of an Elephant cow some 14 years ago. Both Mike and I had lots to share with Alan that day. The sadness is gone and what we have to remember and to share can never be taken away from us, even after the reaper issues the invitation.
Mike left after 11 days and I returned to the ranch in the Midlands to stay with Ken and Sandy, my younger sister. I made two forays up to Bulawayo to visit my elder sister and her husband who teach at Falcon College and who have recently built the most beautiful ranch style house red brick under thatch and a home that leaves me green with envy.
I spent most of the time on the ranch with Sandy and Ken who is planting bananas in between fighting the poachers and the bush fires that now ravage Zimbabwe in manner that is simply sickening to see.
All too soon the trip came to an end and the five weeks I was in Zimbabwe were gone in a thrice. So I went back to Imire to measure up Mac and what an experience that was. By then Judy had a little Duiker to keep the rest of the menagerie company and so the show at Imire goes on.