Keeping fit

The weather in Harare is clearly getting warmer now. Although this complicates the water situation as the dry season advances, the conditions are great to renew our daily walks to keep our physical wellbeing. We are gradually increasing the distance and we hope to reach about 10 km, our daily average. Today we did six km and it was an interesting mid morning walk. We met the family of vervet monkeys that dwell in the hilly area our walking path traverses, where some large plots covered with msasa trees are present. The monkeys are now used to the increased urbanization and are seen walking over the walls and houses, apparently having found a new harmony with their man-made surroundings.

Further on, we came across another find in the form of a chameleon road kill. It was clearly a young one and, although sad, it indicated that these creatures are getting active again, probably with the warmer weather.

This find brought to mind an event that took place in Kenya in the eighties, while we lived in Tigoni. Chameleons were quite common in the forest that surrounded our house. Of particular interest was Jackson’s chameleon Trioceros jacksonii with its three horns and bright colours. The shrieks from a couple of hornbills called our attention and we realized that they were trying to catch a chameleon that was puffed up and putting up a gallant but hopeless battle. It was duly rescued and brought into the house “for protection”. It was seen inside for a couple of days and then it disappeared. Our belief that it had left the house was wrong as, regrettably, it was found mummified under the mattress of our bed a few days later! How he got there will remain a mystery.

Being a veterinarian, used to strong professional smells, I did not notice anything. However, I am sure that my wife did and she probably attributed it to me but she was, as usual, too polite to mention it.

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