Busy, busy, busy

March 29, 2009 - Gweru, Zimbabwe

Hello once again,

You'll be pleased/jealous to hear that since my last report, the weather has returned to it's former glorious self. So much has happened over the past few days and that shows no sign of changing as we progress through Zimbabwe.

Our final couple of nights at Kande Beach were spent relaxing before heading to a campsite near Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. Our time at Mabuya camp was reserved for stocking up in the city, for we had been warned by our tour leader that as of a couple of months ago, Zimbabwe was in a desperate state with nothing on the shelves in the shops, so we were to buy toiletries, medicine and any treats we wanted for the following 2 weeks. Other than that, we took advantage of the swimming pool at the campsite and prepared to leave Malawi.

We arrived at the Malawi-Mozambique border around midday the next day readying ourselves for the notoriously picky and fussy Mozambique customs officers. We each had to complete 2 forms in a certain colour pen, with no mistakes and jump through all the correct hoops as laid out by the officials. Some border crossings have been known to take 4 hours, but fortunately we did everything right first time and got through in an hour and a half. The rest of the day was spent driving through the Tete Corridor in Mozambique, famed for the 'Gun Run' of times gone by when war was a feature of the region. That evening we pulled up about 30 mins short of the Zimbabwean border for our third bush camp, and a warning from the tour leader about what behaviour is permissible in Zimbabwe. Taking photographs of non-tourist objects can result in arrest, and it is illegal to criticise the government or Robert Mugabe.

The next morning we drove the short distance to the border, where we were to be subject to yet another stringent crossing, this time involving us having to cross the border on foot while the officials searched the truck for anything we may be smuggling into the country. When we finally got under way again, we were in for a massive shock. For all you read in the press about Zimbabwe's problems, the fact of the matter is, it is a simply beautiful country. The scenery is staggering, the people are friendliness personified, and since Zimbabwe adopted the US Dollar as its main trading currency, the economic situation has improved.

Our home for 2 nights was Bird Camp on the edge of Lake Chivero; a 9km x 14km expanse of water about 30 mins from the capital, Harare. The campsite is run by a South African couple called Garry and Elsine, who were 2 of the nicest people I have ever met. Because we arrived in the late afternoon, the rest of the day was spent checking out the site on the shores of the lake, and later on, talking with Garry and his work as a BBC Wildlife Photographer and the problems with the government. The next day we went into Harare for a couple of hours, and marvelled at how modern and clean the majority of the city is. The one humourous note was how you could occasionally find Zimbabwean dollar notes on the pavements - given the change to the US Dollar and the worthlessness of the local currency - due to the locals throwing it away. The afternoon was spent visiting Garry's 2 pet lions, Murdoch and Pacha and his 2 pet zebras, Spot (!) and Ditto. In the evening we went for a cruise on the lake on Garry's boat, viewing giraffe on the shores and taking photos of the wonderful sunset. On our return we had a BBQ put on by Garry and Elsine.

Our final morning at Bird Camp - this morning - was taken up by having photographs with Garry's Battleur Eagle, Grace (so named after Robert Mugabe's wife!) and driving to our next stop, Gweru, where I write this. Forgive me for the shorter blog than usual, but I only had a few spare minutes before we continue on to Antelope Park, our home for 4 nights.

I shall pad out the text and add some photos there hopefully. Until then, much love to everyone back home, and toodlepip.

Jon

 


4 Comments

Mum:
March 30, 2009
Hi there. It still sounds as though you are having a magical time. I have a feeling you will not want to come home. Now you know what I meant when I talked about the country and the people and we didn't experience half of what you have. We are all fine here, missing you of course. Hope you are picking up some emails from friends as well. Say hello to all the Jeffrey's you meet for me. Lots of love xxxxxxx
Connie:
March 30, 2009
Sounds better and better everytime Jon!
I love reading your little entry's they're amazing!!
And as far as the dollars on the ground -bring one back for me!! (maybe even a few random tid bits) I love foreign money, and collect it, quite geeky I know! I find it interesting!!! =]
so grab one up!!!
Keep on the adventure, and we all miss you back here in the "sunny" uk!
love con x
Clare Harrison:
April 6, 2009
Hi Jon boy

Whast can i say words fail me at your blog Jon your writing is an inspiration to anyone who wonders if the travelling life is for them wish i had experianced all you are before my beloved children came along, but you have made me more determined than ever to push them to travel and do it whilst they are young and care free!, Life at Sitel again what can i say....... the same but wait news bulletin we are moving to sit all together and yes this has caused a bit of disturbance i will keep you posted on the fights!!!! LOL Keep writing

Loving it

Take care

Clare
xx
ann brüderli:
April 6, 2009
Hello Jonathan.....have just finished reading the current entries on your blog website.
You are writing an interesting account of all your experiences and it seems as though you are on the trip of a lifetime. The photos are good too.
Hope you continue to have fun and enjoy every moment of your journey.
love Auntie Ann xx
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