Northern Namibia also has one of the largest salt pans that extends for more than 120 Kim’s and mostly a dry lake bed forming part of the Kalahari basin. Etosha and its surrounds are protected as a National Park sanctuary, preserving habitat for wildlife.
Gemsbok, Oryx gazella, have their home ranges extending for much of the Kalahari including Etosha. These animals are perfectly adapted to survive in the desert and have the ability to withstand very hot conditions. They have a special maze of blood vessels that work as a cooling devise. Warm blood passes through the network of vessels and cooled through the nasal area.
The inspiration for this painting is obviously having spent much time observing these animals in the Kalahari. It’s a stormy moonlit night and the gemsbok are out on the pan. Sparring occurs near a small spring of water.
The painting is to create an atmosphere with different movement of both sky and animal. It just an impressionist painting nothing more to create an atmosphere on a stormy moonlit night.
Africa is such a diverse place, and here is another interesting spot of incredible beauty. In early spring the area transforms into a magical paradise of wild flowers right up to the shores of the Langebaan Lagoon. This is a haven for marine and birdlife where. They are protected in the reserve.
“West Coast National Park are the Langebaan Lagoon and the offshore islands in Saldanha Bay, which together form the Langebaan Ramsar site, a wetland of international importance.
The lagoon has a rich diversity of marine invertebrates and seaweeds and supports approximately 10% of the coastal wader population in South Africa. The offshore islands provide jimportant nesting areas for several red-listed seabird species. The Langebaan Lagoon was proclaimed as a marine reserve in terms of the Sea Fisheries Act in 1973 and later in 1985, was proclaimed Langebaan National Park with the name later being changed to West Coast National Park. It was on 25 April 1988 that the Langebaan Ramsar site was declared.” Source San Parks.org
My first visit to the then Wankie Game Reserve, today known as Hwange National Park, was when I was a very tiny tot, we lived in the bush south East of the border of the Park.
Hwange continued to be a favorite safaris spot throughout my life and in my mid thirties I came to live in the park with bedroll in hand and took up a position working as a Professional Guide. I had undertaken a six year apprenticeship in the parks estates of Zimbabwe.
It was a daily occurrence to spend the day with several herds of more than a hundred elephant at a time all gathering round the waterhole, relieving their thirst in the dry African sun. In very dry years these numbers would increase to a thousand elephant a day and surrounded me, often a bush traffic jam.
The great herds of Africa’s elephants unfortunately are being plundered and their very survival depends on us as custodians to protect their home ranges from poaching. If we don’t protect them these home ranges and the elephants these incredible Pachyderms will be gone forever.
Medium: Windsor Newton Professional Acrylique on Cotton Canvas
The Place Of Salt Pans
There are enormous salt pan located in beautiful Botswana, and for much of the year remain dry and desolate until the annual rains arrive. The pans then transforms into an expansive shallow lake no more than knees deep. This attracts an array of bird life including flocks of flamingos, pelicans, and animal life. The migrating zebra and wildebeest from the north utilise the grassy plains which provide good grazing.
Much of the region has been set aside as a National Park and bird sanctuary to protect this magnificent landscape.
I have spent more than 30 years exploring this area. The expansive grassy plains dotted with Baobabs and acacias along the fringes of the salt pans provide a place of reflection, isolation and incredible beauty. I love it so much I even spent my 40th and 50th birthdays camped on the fringes of the pans.
The cycle of life continues with the rainy season coming to an end and the pans begin to dry up until all that remains is a few perennial springs for the wildlife to drink.
Traditional people residing in the surrounding area bring their domestic cattle to share the same springs with the wildlife.
A story of the waterhole, this is the most important place on the dry African plain.
Above is my own impression of a moment in time I attempted to capture onto the canvas. I have tried to create a story of “Pula”, “water”, is life, and unites us all, here is a tranquil scene, domestic and wild animal life around the waterhole. In the far edges of the vast you can see an odd Baobab Tree dotted in the fringes of the pan.
I hope you enjoy this scene as much as I enjoyed painting it.
Lets help protect our wild areas for future generations!
Medium: Windsor Newton Professional Acrylique on cotton canvas
The African Continent is a diverse and beautiful wild place to explore, especially on foot or horseback.
World Heritage Sites claim a number of places along the Zambezi including the Victoria Falls, “Mosi Oa Tunya”, The Smoke That Thunders!
This commissioned impression was a challenging painting for me in the sense that water study had to be in great detail…. and how to capture the values and textures of the water falling. I enjoyed this painting experience and have spent many moments observing the falls in their great mighty flow, as the Zambezi River thunders into the basalt chasm below.
I invite you to follow my personal journey as I walk and paint