are in the Selati, packing and preparing to leave
for Botswana. The mopane leaves are turning a rich
red gold in colour, turning the rolling landscape
into the varied patterns of an eastern carpet. The
air is still and clear with every crack and crevice
of the distant mountains clearly visible. Warthogs
hover near the back door – dominating the
monkeys at feeding time.
porcupine friend appears each night hoping to find
an open door. Recently however, he had walked in
quietly during the evening and gone to sleep in
one of the rooms. Later, as Keith was walking down
the passage in the dark, there was a loud shout,
simultaneous to a shaking rattling sound –
he and the porcupine had walked into one another
leaving Keith with a couple of quills embedded in
No real damage done and we managed to show the porcupine
the door – dignity was restored all round
but an end to his domestic ventures for now!
8th May 2008
has to be one of the best months in the South
African lowveld region. From our studio base
in the Selati Game Reserve we can look onto
the vista of the Drakensberg escarpment and
all its changes of colour through pinks and
purples to moody blues.
We had very little rain this past season so
the mopane trees are changing colour to winter
reds and golds already, and the grass is tinder
dry and blonde.
have turned what used to be a lawn into a
dust bowl of sticks and roots and the females
with their surviving brood of youngsters are
regular visitors to the back door. We keep
a supply of crushed mealies and banana biscuits
on hand to supplement their feeding, but some
of them are already looking a little gaunt.
With luck we will get some winter rain to
supplement their diet with fresh greens otherwise
it is going to be a long dry season for them.
regular visitors are a troop of vervet monkeys
that hang around the windows casing the kitchen
for food items so that when they find an open
door they know exactly where to go to find
the good stuff! It’s an incentive to
keep the kitchen cleared. Their arrival is
usually heralded by the sound of the youngsters
thundering up and down our tin roof, while
older members of the troop head straight for
their optimum vantage points. It is always
so entertaining to watch their antics, and
we enjoy the interaction whilst being ever
careful not to cross the unspoken boundaries
of encouragement that would elicit bad behaviour.
night we have a friendly porcupine who thinks
it is his right to enter the apparently cave
like passageways of our house and inspect
all the corners, before snatching a quick
sleep in the kitchen. We watch his tour of
inspection with fascination and awe. And of
course his main motivation is to locate the
stash of crushed mealies and biscuits!
with the elephants, lions, nyalla, giraffe
and all the wonderful creatures that
inhabit Selati, the studio and old farm
house is more of an all weather viewing
hide at times. There is always something
to be seen passing by.
Lillie House, Selati Game Reserve.
As glorious as it is here,
the constant need to travel and explore Africa’s
great and diverse wild areas drives us on.
Botswana has long been our home, and we are
now privileged to have the opportunity to
spend studio time in the Selinda Reserve in
northern Botswana. And so as winter sets in
we are preparing to head up there again.
Preparations involve, buying of art materials
and supplies, and repairs to the land cruiser
that carries us on that long journey. 13 hours
drive from here to the town of Kasane on the
Chobe River and then 6-8 hours of travel over
200km of sand pit through the northern game
areas bordering Caprivi until we cross the
Selinda Spillway lies between Lake Zibidianja
in the east and the northern reaches of the
Okavango delta in the west. At times of high
water, which are recorded in history, these
two evocative waterways have been known to
connect. It is an area of wide open grasslands,
palm tree islands, leadwood forests and a
mopane tree belt of hidden waterholes and
many years this region has been the domain
of citizen and trophy hunters. Today however,
there is a new regime who have put an end
to all hunting and are working to conserve
the area as a sanctuary for all creatures
large and small.
the waterholes of the interior dry up
through the winter, herds are forced
to migrate to these northern waterways.
dry seasons see an influx of the more
water dependent species that creates
a natural spectacle inherent with dramas
of life and death enacted beneath the
wide winter skies.
trees, always evocative of travel and
trade routes throughout Africa, here
are suggestive of the long and often
arduous journeys that are taken by the
extraordinary creatures of this region.
buffalo, zebra, giraffe, and many antelope
species – accompanied by their retinue
of predators – lions, leopards, cheetah,
wild dogs – together capture and inspire
the imagination of creativity. At Selinda,
every day is a new adventure of fascination
this gets too long winded however (and its
probably already too late!) I will be using
this space to keep you updated on the travels
and adventures – and sometimes misadventures
- that continue to inspire the exotic and
mystical paintings of Keith Joubert.
Keith Joubert. All Rights Reserved
contents of this site may not be reproduced in
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