BBC Dynasties “Painted Wolves” Premier, Harare, December 2018

Having recently returned from a break in Mana Pools and managing to photograph these amazing animals for myself I was keen to attend this viewing.

I walked away from this astounding filmography feeling both sad and exhilarated. An hour of total escapism through the varied lenses of Nick Lyon’s professional crew we watched a snippet of a Dynasty; an excerpt of Blacktip and her mother Tait’s life – Mana Pools Painted Wolves aka Wild Dogs.

Tennessee Tragedy

The painted wolf seen being killed by a crocodile in the BBC “Dynasties” film was called Tennessee. She was a two-year-old daughter of Blacktip’s. This incident upset me greatly and still does. This is what I wrote in my diary afterwards and reproduced in my book “Painted Wolves: A Wild Dog’s Life”, which I wrote with Peter Blinston. I don’t want to show the graphic pictures in the book, because it is still too upsetting to see and far more disturbing than my baboon shots. Instead, this describes my gut feelings at the time for a wolf cut short in her prime and my pictures show her in happier moments of her life.

Nyami Nyami: The River God

Nyami Nyami is the Zambezi River God. He is the protector of the Tonga people and gives them sustenance in difficult times. Believed by the Tonga tribe of the Zambezi Valley to be a serpent-like creature of about three metres wide and a length no one dares to guess at. Many years ago, Chief Sampakaruma is recorded as seeing him on two occasions but since the white man came to the Zimbabwe Nyami Nyami has been in hiding. Legend has it that Nyami Nyami would turn the river water red when swimming past.

LAKE SEBAKWE: The Heart of Zimbabwe

The highlight of my visit was the opportunity to track a wild black rhino. Once home to over sixty of these iconic animals, today there are just six rhino left in MRC. Two of these modern day unicorns are from the original group. During daylight hours each rhino has an entourage of four armed rhino scouts; three from the conservancy accompanied by one ZNPWMA guard. The scouts are in radio contact with other conservancy members and farm scouts, providing updates on the rhinos’ locations.

Wonders Never Cease.

When travelling, which is something I love to do, I try to be a good “Tommy” tourist but also a good traveller. New places and new experiences are a must for me as travelling from Zimbabwe is so expensive. While I love to see the sights that people write about and recommend I also love to find a local person from that area and ask his/her to take me to where they socialise, where they eat and so on during their everyday life. It gives one more of a feel about how they really live, survive and entertain.