27 February 2007

Outside the City - Pequenos Lebombos Dam

The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy now that the national archives are open. I'm finding good stuff. I found one source that provides a very detailed snapshot of flora, fauna, and human communities at the Maputo Elephant Reserve from 1972/73 - maps, species lists, cattle herds, population sizes, crops, etc. That was a pretty exciting find (so I'm easy to please). I also have some materials from the 1990s on species presence, agriculture, and human population size. It looks like one of the big areas I will ask about during oral histories is the time period during the Civil War.

I have left the A/C of the archives to get out into the city and countryside. The following pictures were taken this Saturday on a Hash Run at Pequenos Lebombos Dam. The dam holds back the Umbeluzi River. Some websites talk about how this is where crocodiles pee into Maputo's water supply, but I was told this weekend that the water is primarily for irrigation. The dam is about 5 km outside of Boane and 45 km outside Maputo.

The Maputa Hash House Harriers are about 1/3 Mozambican, 1/2 African (at least), and majority "drinkers with a running problem." No one forces anyone to drink (and there is always water and sodas), but everyone can kick back with a beer after the run (and sometimes on the run).

Runs are usually 5-12 km (that's 3-7 miles for those who don't get commie units).

This part of the trail was quite nice and went through a guava orchard. I didn't illegally pick any guava here. ;-P Most of the fruits were green anyway. There was a wild tree growing at the base of the dam that 2 Mozambicans and I picked some ripe fruit from.

The funny looking plants in the center are members of the Euphorbia family. The milky latex they produce is not something you want to accidentally rub into your eyes. It is poisonous and can cause "intense irritation to the skin." Rhinos (probably Black Rhinos) eat some types of Euphorbiaceas. Cassava and Poinsettia are 2 members of this family, and natural rubber comes from another member.

Most of the trail was fairly rocky and followed cattle paths.

Sunset on the Mozambique-Swaziland border. The mountains in the distance are the Lebombos.

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