Africa Vignette Series


At the end of the month we’re heading to the Maasai Mara for the annual wildebeest migration. Between now and then, here is a blizzard of little African vignettes. They are just short little bits, not in any particular order, not particularly edited. Maybe they’ll entice you to visit too one day. Hope you enjoy them. All the photos in this series are from

20 Botswana

Some people in Botswana conjure an income from this tall white savannah grass. They gather it, dry it and take it to Maun to sell as roofing. They harvest papyrus reeds, thicker and longer than the grass, dry and tie them with twine to line fences. They’ve done that behind the tents at the back of camp.

Usually underwater, the grass and reeds are exposed now, and they tempt the working man since they’re extra long, longer than in a normal reed harvest. So people have walked here all the way from Maun.

It’s unsettling to watch reed cutters hauling bundles on their heads where at another moment topi or tsessebes or even cheetah might roam. It’s even more unsettling to know these people camp out through the night.

Grass and reeds are the main building materials in the delta – along with the aluminum can. You put down a row of reeds, a layer of mud, a layer of crushed aluminum cans, a layer of mud, a layer of reeds and voila! A wall!

This entire series of vignettes will reside here, in the Africa section. If you enjoy them please have a look at my two travel books, Common Sense and Whiskey and Visiting Chernobyl.

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