One of the many values of wetland plants. Elephant Marsh, Malawi
In November, I escaped the chilly dreariness of southern England and headed to southern Africa. It was a veritable feast of a trip for someone partial to warm weather, warm people and plant invasions.
Kicking off the trip was a week in Stellenbosch at the Centre for Invasion Biology for a workshop (run by the brilliant Ana Novoa) and CIB annual conference fun.
Ishmael and Marije discuss the state of the marsh with residents of a fishing villages
Fishing boats with a backdrop of invasive water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes)
The women here were just amazing. Baby on back, maize on head, need deep in mud and still smiling.
I then met up with Marije Schaafsma, Becks Spake and Ishmael Kosamu for a week in and around the (recently) Ramsar-listed Elephant Marsh (plus a workshop for good measure – superbly chaired by Marije) . I could write reams on all of this (on the whole “big” trip in fact), but I’ll let some photos do the talking instead.
Animal, vegetable or mineral?
Plants are cool. Baboons are too.
Finally, to spice things up a little, I flew into Zimbabwe for a bit of coup action – and to meet with Nicky Pegg and co from the Dambari Wildlife Trust. Things were thankfully very chilled in Bulawayo, and we spent most of time admiring the amazingness of Zimbabwe, its landscape, flora and fauna. Just incredible. Big thanks owed to Phil Riordan and the conservation team at Marwell Wildlife for the introduction.
Lots of cool research opportunities and collaborations in all of these places, so looking forward to southern Africa mark 2.
Matobo Hills wetland suffering from livestock overgrazing (Zim)
You got it, Prickly pear – Opuntia stricta (Zim)
Hedge of Lantana camera (Zim)
Invasive Lantana camara thicket (Zim)
Fishers, water hyacinth and crocs… somewhere…
Fishing in Elephant Marsh
Mosquito net used for fishing. Not great for population viability, eh?
Apparently my only photo from a week in Stellenbosch: how negligent of me. Quality not quantity though –– and look at the quality we have here?!
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