Living Africa Journal | After the Fire

Smokey dawn in Moremi. Leigh KempSmokey dawn in Moremi

Dawn breaks in a musty-scented, smoke-smudged awakening, breaking over still smouldering plains blackened in the light.

The sun pushes meekly into the sky, wavering, and animals move across the scene, tentatively, signs of life in the aftermath of the violence.

It is a time of readjustment, a time when the wilderness takes stock. There will be carcasses and there will be the shadows of those feeding off the devastation.

Moremi. Leigh Kemp

But in time the grass will grow and many of the scars will be covered over as the wilderness regains composure.

Although fire is necessary for the rejuvenation of the vegetation, and the recovery is fast, the scars of the flames may be seen in the vegetation for a long time after. Trees such as leadwoods can burn for more than three months after the inferno and burnt logs of other trees will stand as sentinels to the fire. The leaves of certain trees will retain hues of reds and browns, adding a beauty to the landscape that is inspiringly tragic.

by Leigh Kemp

African Safaris Guide to South and East Africa
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