Zambezi Kiwi

Living in Zimbabwe

Baby tortoises nannies!

December 6, 2018

One of the most exciting things about living in Africa is the arrival of the rainy season.

We arrived just in time for dry season, or summer, and the soaring 40 degree Celsius temperatures that go with it. 

Slowly, over the past few weeks, we have watched massive clouds building on the horizon, and felt a cool wind pick up and blow through each evening. 

We had a few false starts, but finally on the weekend we visited Oupa a real downpour hit. It is a magnificent thing to watch those sheets of water pour over barren land, hear the thunder grumbling and stare at lighting cracking through the sky. There really is nothing on earth like an African storm.

Anyway, I digress. By the time we got back home a little surprise was waiting for us. It was all very exciting to begin with.

We knew Mr and Mrs Shylock had a healthy relationship already, because the dogs sadly dug up a few eggs only weeks ago. 

Emmanuel managed to get to this little guy before the dogs, thank heavens, but the question was where on earth to put him that was safe and secure.

Cue the empty fish tank sitting in the store room, which Faith duly fitted out with food and water, along with a little interior decor.

It was all been very exciting, like I said, except it is now home to five happy little tortoises – and counting – all of whom are brave enough to stick their necks out when we get close, and even clamber around our hands.

On top of that, it turns out that our property has a rich history of raising baby tortoises before releasing them into the wide. The whole process only takes TWO YEARS.

So, with literally no idea what we are doing, we have officially become baby tortoise raisers. And we have suddenly realised that we will be baby tortoise raisers FOREVER unless Mr and Mrs Shylock have a falling out one year.

The question is where on earth we are going to keep them all!

Other than that mini crisis, this week we chilled out with warthog at the Boat Club, watched elephant cross the Zambezi River, and caught a snake at home. (Yes, you read that right).

After getting Emmanuel to kill it and show Will, we had a little disagreement. Will felt an innocent brown house snake, caught 3 metres from my front door, had done nothing deserving of death. I felt that no snake should ever have the word “house” in front of it’s name. 

It remains an unresolved difference in our marriage. 

Just as an aside, we were rather happy to share the excitement with an old school friend of mine, Wendy Robinson. She has been touring Africa and decided we were alright enough people to drop in on. 

Unfortunately, I took her to our touch rugby game on Monday night, and plonked her on the other team. She represented NZ all too well, and four tries later everyone was asking how long she would be staying. 

We had an awesome four days with her, and then sent her off to hitchhike her way to Bulawayo, which is actually safe to do in Zimbabwe.

She duly informed us that Zimbabwe was among the top two or three most beautiful African countries she had visited! You can check out her blog at 

Hopefully, it won’t be another 12 years between catch ups Wendy!

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