I recall one night sitting on the stoep and supping a beer with a friend as we gazed at a fire raging across the flanks of the Chimanimani Mountains. The fire was burning some distance away, but the scene was nonetheless extremely dramatic. ‘Fires always look worse at night.’ I remarked to my friend, Doof was his name, who came back immediately with the comment: ‘Unless you happen to be a pyromaniac in which case they look a lot better.’
Never was a truer word spoken. In this type of bush – open savannah woodland – fire can come at you out of the blue. At about 6:30 in the evening I stepped out of the camp office and was confronted with a blaze running across the wide horizon. We had just put in firebreaks so there was no direct danger to the camp, so a couple beers, a ringside seat and a handy camera were all that was required.
All that can be reported of the night, other than the fire itself, was an old an malcontent lion who stepped out of night ahead of the flames, looked at me from about ten yards in one of those frozen moments of brilliant terror, coughed like a fog horn and walked on past me. I missed that photo
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