Chimanimani in May is always something special. Our wild proteas and delicate tree orchids start to bloom, the skies are a vivid blue behind the mountains which rise in crisp definition above our village. This month is well ahead of the annual wild fires when smoky haze will blur the outline of these magnificent mountains. Walkers are rewarded with spectacular views wherever they tackle a slope and sit upon a high rock.
At Frog & Fern we have nurtured our precious Msasa woodland and among the trees we have placed bird baths and left as many indigenous shrubs, aloes and ferns as we can. This means we have plenty of hidey holes for insects, wild grasses thrive and good leaf layer on the ground. All of this is especially for the birds who are busy building their reserves in readiness for the cold nights that lie ahead. Crisp mornings tempt one to snuggle in bed a while longer.
Benji however does not fit well into this picture of bird paradise.
This little hunter is watched over by a our resident Kurrichane and Miombo Rock Thrushes and they seem to tease him as much as they can….foraging on the ground they seem like an easy meal. Far from it. We have around six individual thrushes, canny little chaps who are well used to this cat. Benji did catch a bird with a similar name…but a very different type of bird. There was a happy ending to the story for our Kurrichane Button Quail – after overnighting in the “bird bag” in a warm cupboard he was sufficiently recovered to scuttle away into the grass a safe distance away.
A very different visitor arrived on a 1951 Harley which has done 3000 miles over African roads….Gareth Jones (yes, he is Welsh) drove in on this bike which he rebuilt himself especially for his African ride. Gareth was missing his husky from back home and topped himself up with dog tonic by walking our pack twice a day every day he stayed. Our dogs adored him and I enjoyed a couple of beers around the camp fire with this amazing traveler.