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Readers' letters.

Dear Ant,

Though I haven't written for ages, your magazines--all three now--are looked forward to eagerly. African Adventurer is a great addition to what you have already achieved. Long may they continue to give pleasure and pass on knowledge to us all.

Your own writings continue to evoke wonderful memories, and the urge to visit so many places at least one more time before the anno domini effect exacts its inevitable toll!

How right you are about old photos, some of which you published in my articles of a couple of years ago. An old Box Brownie camera, the dark room at school where I developed the rolls of negatives, then printed the pictures and enlarged some, always watching in awe as they slowly came to life in the developing tray, before hanging them to dry, were essential elements of my ongoing enjoyment of those experiences.

In reality, though, nothing can compare with witnessing and feeling those scents, sounds, silences, sunrises and sunsets ... in fact all in Nature's sanctum. Some words and some pictures, like yours, can transport me back to the Wild Places where we began. As someone once said. "When they end, so will we".

Please bring back Nimrod Norrevok when you can; African Fisherman's TAILEND--"Shockers of the Salt-Water Kind"--in issue No171. I had several good laughs reading it again now, which must have been for about the fifth time. Laughter is in quite short supply these days!

My best regards,

Dave Scott.


Thanks David. I will see if I can get Nimrod to pen something more. I know he has more tales to tell.--Editor.

Dear Editor

Thank you for the great work in producing your always entertaining and instructive magazine.

Having spent the last 25 years living downstream from Kariba, I was naturally interested in the article on the repairs to Kariba Dam wall which you reproduced in your April/May issue--it is always good to get accurate up-to-date information rather than the ever-present rumours that are so eagerly circulated. However the author does by implication perpetuate one of the hoary old Kariba myths when he states: "The dam was designed by French engineer Andre Coyne and is similar in design to his Malpasset Dam in France, which collapsed in 1959 ..." This is perfectly true as far as it goes, but it is what it omits that makes it misleading. M. Coyne was the world's leading designer of double arch dams in his era; he built over 70 of these (of which Kariba is one) in many different countries, and around 100 dams overall. One, the Malpasset Dam, collapsed. The official investigation established that it had nothing to do with the design of the wall; the geological survey preceding construction was faulty, and the inquiry determined that the collapse was probably caused by a tectonic shift.

The article also states that the current low water level in Kariba is "partly caused by the inability to keep water from earlier high rainfall years due to the need to keep the lake level lower". This may be the official line, but the main reason for the low level is that despite the inflow to the dam last year being the lowest in 20 years, the power companies on both banks ignored the water allocations set by the Zambezi River Authority and continued to run water through the turbines as though there was no tomorrow, until they finally realised (in September, after months of warnings) that if they carried on doing this the water would be so low that they would be unable to generate at all.

Thanks once again for an excellent magazine.


Rod Smith

Mwambashi River Lodge

Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.

You are indeed correct. The Malpasset Dam on the Reyran River in France, which was completed in 1954 (after only two years of construction) collapsed on December 2, 1959, killing 423 people in the resulting flood. The collapse created a massive wall of water, 40 metres high and moving at 70kph which destroyed two small villages and a highway construction site downstream. The force was reported to be equivalent to the energy released by 4 000 tons of TNT. A tectonic fault was later found as the most likely cause of the disaster, though there is some speculation that the blasting operations at the road construction site close-by, coupled with very heavy rains and inflow (filling the dam from 50% to full in five days, something the discharge spillway could not cope with), may have helped trigger the whole tectonic event. Nothing really to do with design or construction.--Editor.

Good Day Editor

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources of Namibia have launched one of the largest freshwater fish tagging programs in southern Africa. In an effort to spread the information I would ask if, you would consider publishing the attached short article containing more information on the project.

Francois Jacobs, Senior Fisheries Biologist, Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Email.

Thank you for the interesting information, which I am sure will aid in us understanding tigerfish throughout southern Africa, details of which appear on page 14.-Editor.

Dear Editor

Thank you very much indeed for the hugely generous quantities of African Fisherman and Hunter magazines that you delivered recently to the Zimbabwe Hunters' Association (ZHA) office. Some have come down to Rifa Education Camp already, and we have been enjoying browsing! Although they are back copies, they make most interesting and informative reading. The publications will be much appreciated by all of us.

In due course, sets of magazines will be kept in the Rifa Library. Duplicate copies will be extremely useful for projects for the students, especially for our 'sponsored' school groups.

With best wishes

Elspeth, RIFA, Chirundu

I am glad the magazines arrived and will be of some use. We never throw away a single magazine, and any returned copies are bundled up and distributed far and wide--from facilities like yours, to lodges, camps, hospitals, waiting rooms and even rural schools. As you say, no matter the age, the information is always still useful, and it gives our advertisers maximum exposure over longer periods, too. Editor.

Dear Editor

We have been getting your magazine for as long as I can remember, and it is read cover to cover with great pleasure. So it was with a bit of a thrill while reading the captions to your memory lane photos (Issue 173-June/July), that I recognised the hangar and strip surrounds with the aircraft Z-WNO in the foreground (our plane was Z-YTB). I well remember the day you flew in to visit Rolf Kageler, who used to build Big Blue boats and was our neighbour, As our strip " Cimpamba" in Tengwe, was only a few miles from him, it was an easy trip for you from Charles Prince airport.

We also have a bucket-load of old photos of the lake and the river taken over all the years from the 70s through to the last days of 2004, when we were unceremoniously forced to leave our life behind. But at least we have them and the memories are there forever.

Thank you for a very good magazine.


Tony and Daphne Walker

Thank you for your mail and the bit of clarity to a memory which seems so far away now. You are right about Rolf and the inflatables, as we were there to test and write about the canoe. I am glad my picture brought back some fond memories for you too. Thank you for taking the time to write, and for your support of the magazine over all these years.--Editor.
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Title Annotation:Mail Bag
Author:Scott, Dave; Smith, Rod; Walker, Tony; Walker, Daphne
Publication:African Fisherman
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Aug 1, 2016
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