Whenever I leave a body of water, a part of me remains, held in its currents and its rhythmic lapping against the shore. Something has been absorbed into its depths, as well as floats atop its waves, all encompassing in its energy. It is both the giver and taker of life, its ebbs and flows and worlds within hold the potential to both create and destroy. It is powerful, and cleansing, drawing us to presence.
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” Loren Eiseley.
“Water creates so much beauty, life and mystery.” Fennel Hudson
Cruising upon a large body of water such as Lake Kariba makes us respect the sheer dimensions of its size, gazing toward a horizon which seems to stretch to infinity. In essence, we are staring at two biodiverse worlds, one above the water and one below. The expanse of both are decidedly difficult to comprehend, a variety of ecosystems, species and lifeforms all inextricably linked, each dependent on the other. Without water, the above world would disappear, the same laws applying to the world beneath.
“Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo Da Vinci
Each and every species, no matter how great and small, rely on the presence of water. This is not only for its life source, but for reprieve as well as play. The beauty about a safari on a lake staying on the Sovereign Houseboat is the personal vicinity one is able to witness the wild in water. In the early mornings, one may observe the hustle and bustle of birdlife along the shore and within the riverine habitat, serenading in the day. Morning is the best time for bird viewing, watching the waders hunt for breakfast while listening to the iconic call of the fish eagle. Spoonbill storks dig up the mud with their oddly shaped beaks, catching morsels as they explore the shoreline. Kingfishers hover above shallow waters, focused and determined hunters, while the African fin foot darts elusively between tree roots along the banks. These are but a few of the 240 + bird species recorded within the area.
Midday invites wildlife to its edge for a swim, offering a moment of cool respite from the African heat. One can watch elephants fully immerse themselves in pure joy, splashing and playing in the shallows and beyond. Elephants love swimming, so you may be blessed with the sighting of a herd crossing from one bank to another, playfully wrestling along the way, en route to greener grass. One cannot but help share the joy in such observation, animals experiencing true bliss and presence.
“It is life, I think, to watch the water. Man can learn so many things.” Nicholas Sparks
Sunset offers a celebratory quench of thirst at surviving another day, golden hour a moment of peace before nightfall. Floating beside the shoreline on a game cruise upon a tender boat allows intimate encounters with wildlife. Gliding past quietly at a respectful distance permits humans and animals to peacefully enjoy the interaction, allowing for space and quite observation.
“If you want to heal, find water & stars.” Unknown
Evening upon water is orchestrated by night sounds and punctuated by a bedazzling sky of African stars. Hippos bid the day farewell as twilight steals the sky combined with a percussion of frogs amidst the reeds along the shoreline. Without another soul nearby, the wilderness belongs to you and the creatures of the night, an evening shared solely with nature. Each time of day upon water offers a healing aspect, calling for presence and observation, water offering its restorative power from dawn till dusk.