Irene Amiet Quiroga is a previous marketing executive who first came to South Africa as a conservation volunteer. In her “Love Letters to Africa” she writes of her love of the Dark Continent and her hope that the human race will get re-connected with nature in order to better conserve our heritage.
Affection: Lower Zambezi, Zambia
Lion cubs are lying in the shade, observing a herd of buffalo. They pass the time in a playful mood, knowing that they belong within this wilderness. A calm lies over the stream in mid-day that may be attributed to the rising heat. The Zambezi escarpment lies in a warmth absorbing quiet. The reeds and the sandy red earth stretch out like the drapes of a beautiful dress of an exotic fabric, bringing forth the bee-eaters, buzzing alive as they emerge from its folds, and the fish-eagle, ever so calmly sitting on a branch until he takes off in silent flaps of mighty wing. The buffalos are staring back at the cubs from the river-bed, munching on grass. A Goliath Heron stalks along the grassy edge and the cubs are carefree in the innocence of youth. Just another moment in Africa…
Jumping Baboons: South Luangwa, Zambia
A circus tent similar to a cathedral had long been erected, built by the tall canopies of fig trees. The morning sun would beam and dance over the acrobats performing in the ring down below as if a team of light engineers was focused on bringing every organism to the attention of the audience. The main act was proclaimed and three lean lionesses walked in through the curtains. But this little fellow drew enough attention away from the stars, mocking them like a clown while clattering and calling. Sure enough, a light beam found him in midair…and so the greatest show on earth, nature’s own, never ends.
Kafue Bark: Busanga Plains, Kafue, Zambia
In the famed Busanga Plains, the flood waters inundate the savannah every year and thus, a paradise for a great variety of wildlife is created. Now, in August, only a few of the ponds were still deep enough for the massive bodies of hippos to lounge in great congregations. They plow through the floods until the water ripples in every direction. When opening their jaws they intimidate the spectators in a great display of power. Their beady eyes glitter while one more mouth opens from the water to let out its deep throaty bark.
Mysterious Delta: Okavango Delta, Botswana
There is a mysterious tale to be heard when listening to the water of the Okavango, the gurgling, the splashes and the currents…
I will recall for all times the lonely call of a bird, flying off, the giraffes sticking out like toothpicks when looking down from the plane, the green leaves catching steady streams of a beginning rain, the sounds of foil, birds, the rain are all carried over the lagoon as I am flying away.
But I am never leaving Africa behind.
Rainbow over Abyss: Victoria Falls, Zambia
The falls, Mosi oa Tunya, are still thundering through my system. The power of sheer elemental strength, the cliffs and the spitting, roaring pot underneath the abyss were dragging me into air like a bird. And there was the rainbow, a present born out of the love of elements. And sitting on the banks of the Zambezi once more, I felt purified from our modern world’s distractions, noises and waste.
Spirit of Ancient Times: White Rhino, Limpopo, South Africa
Out in the bush, after a heavy downpour of rain, I was able to deceive myself that I was the only organism left on the planet. And then, into that landscape cleansed of dust, a majestic animal walked. It seemed to be a carrier of the spirit of ancient times to me and I felt witness to a moment when the creatures of the wild had returned to re-claim what had always been theirs.