Chariots of Fire
“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art” Oscar Wilde
You can decide for yourself. For me, the Carmines are both: a work of art and clothed in one. If you are not an avid birder, once you have seen this spectacle of colour, beauty, and agility by thousands of Carmines at Zambezi Mubala Lodge, you will be converted into a bird watcher, and you will want to do this expedition year after year. Starting on 22 August (usually at around 14hoo) and fortunately not ending with a bang but rather a whimper over a few weeks, in early April.
The beauty of these migrants from central Africa is that they will, apart from your bird watchers, satisfy the needs of almost every human being. They even fascinate a few birds of prey, unfortunately, but that is another story.
For the bird watcher, there can hardly be a more impressive sight, seeing so many beautiful birds in such a small area. If I use the word beautiful too often you will forgive me once you’ve seen it. I can use the Afrikaans version of “F****n ongelooflik” but my editor will not let this one through. For the birding fanatics (see ticker) they will not be able to tick this spectacle, they will probably stay for a month and buy another tick-book to fill because one tick is not fair to this superbly spectacular bird.
If you are in the building industry the different options used by the Carmines will impress even the finest Rehoboth builder. There are the “flats” - houses that are a fascinating building achievement, with a tunnel system that will leave them in awe, not a single collapse of these tunnels visible, no cracks, paint dropping off, no roofs leaking. The apartments on the edge of the river are even better, because of the fantastic view accompanying these well-set masterpieces.
For the estate agents, they will have a field day, apart from the mentioned view, the prices are affordable, the township is relatively close to schools, clinics, and a shopping mall. Their customers will be at hand from August till April and the apartments can be rented out again from April to August to some of the locals like the White-fronted Bee-eaters, Pied Kingfishers, and various other regular residents.
For those fashionable ladies looking for something completely different and exquisite, the styles and colours are out of this world (out of central Africa). The colours on show can even be used by some funky architect for a new building project in Rehoboth.
For the pilots, you can sit for hours every day observing what can be done if you are into artistic aviation, but caution is advised because some of these maneuvers can be fatal when tried with an aircraft.
As far as mating is concerned, I will not go into too much detail, but be careful with the inflight mating. Best is to come and have a look for yourself, even if your marriage is on the rocks (especially). The only difficulty is that one should work out which are male, and which are female because they seem to dress pretty much the same, but I think one can probably work out this one, especially when done on the ground.
For the mothers (mothers-to-be), nowadays fathers also seem to be involved in raising their kids, you can get a few tips on feeding your young. Unfortunately, no breastfeeding is allowed in this colony. The protection of the Carmines’ offspring is unfortunately at times a bit of a problem, but a lot of effort goes into the process, especially when the Yellow-billed Kites are circling above the colony.
Last but not least for those humans that are not too keen on washing, cleaning, and titivating, here you surely can get a few tips on how to- and how often this should be done, although I must confess the odors coming from the nests are a bit overwhelming.
If you are unsure about all the details and facts and most of all, the beauty of the Carmines, buy your copy at any Gondwana retail store or on The Narrative . If you are not into birding, but rather into fishing, remember that all the proceeds of the sales of the book sales will go towards the fish guards who are working to protect the surrounding area . Don’t worry though, if you do your fishing from a boat with a fishing rod you will not be shot. You can indeed judge this book by its cover.
Written by: Pompie Burger