Barred Owlet

It's hard to believe that we have been locked down in our little corner of South Africa for nearly 5 months now; with restrictions set to ease this week we hope that the health experts are right and that the virus has indeed peaked. There are clear indications that spring is on its way - so that, too, is a mood-booster for us.

Obviously there has been no travel for us - or anyone else - but we have still been busy with various projects and have been continually distracted by the view from our home office window, including the delightful little Barred Owlet above.

Ardvaark Without doubt the most exciting - and unexpected - was an afternoon sighting of a totally relaxed Aardvark strolling down our little drainage line. He/she wandered along without a care in the world off foraging for termites and ants. Although Aardvark are reasonably regularly seen here at night on camera traps it is unusual to see them in daylight hours - especially so nonchalant.

As some of you know we live in a small wildlife nature reserve close to Kruger National Park stocked with a variety of antelope, giraffe and zebra. Although the occasional leopard and hyaena sneaks under the security fence from the conservancy next door, we have a large wild bushveld area where we can safely walk and birdwatch.

Other sightings include:
White Crowned Shrikes
White-crowned Shrikes in the rain.

Spider-hunting Wasp Butterfly
Spider Hunting Wasp African Leopard butterfly
2 interesting insects that came to collect nectar from the large flowering Euphorbia in the front of our house during May.

Giraffe zebra
Giraffe early morning wake-up call Sound recording off the deck

birds Which brings us onto the projects we have been working on - the first (finally almost complete) is a Pocket Guide to the Birds of Zambia, commissioned by a local book publisher - this turned out to be more work than originally planned! But we're happy to say it's looking good and is thankfully now in the final proofing stages.

2021 calendar The next is the 2021 fund raising calendar for the Bushcamp Company in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. We have been involved with the production of this calendar since its inception in 2007. Artwork is produced by local school children and we donate our time to put it all together and printing costs are covered by several generous benefactors. Proceeds from sales go towards various school and community projects in Mfuwe. This year, due to covid-related school closures, the lodge staff resurrected their dusty art talent and set to work so that there would be a 2021 calendar after all.
The front cover shown here is by renowned Zambian artist Mulenga Chafilwa.

sound recording Our current project is one very close to our heart - recording the natural environment including wildlife, birdsong and surrounding nature sounds creating soundscapes for listening pleasure. Sound (totally different from noise!) is a wonderful sense to evoke memories and distant dreams of the African landscape. We need this more than ever in these current uncertain times - to ground ourselves in the natural world.

We are working on various album downloads; hoping to have the first batch ready soon - and we are pleased to say that this project forms part of our 'Giving Back' initiative where a portion of the proceeds is donated to several worthy conservation projects who need and deserve our support. More details on these when the albums are released.

Here is a short extract recorded on the banks of the Zambezi River, Chiawa Camp, Zambia.
click here to listen

We end with our very best wishes for you to stay safe and well and we hope to welcome you back to Africa when it is safe to do so.

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Kuyimba Trading

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