Days 11 to 14 Glitch and Mana Pools

September 2, 2012 - Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

On the way to Mana Pools we struggled to find anywhere in Kariba to stock up on groceries, so decided to make do with what tins, long life milk, etc we had.  So on to Mana Pools through beautiful countryside - hills covered in grass and dry trees and all more or less uninhabited.  The road winds uphill and then down the escarpment to the lower reaches of the Zambesi that runs from the dam to the sea and is the Southern end of the Great Rift Valley.  There si lots of evidence of trucks coming sort on the winding downhill road.  Every bend has a heap of scrap metal lying next to th road and down the slopes.  After booking in with Zimparks at the top of the escarpment, we eventually reached the turnoff and a boom across the road, wghere we handed over our remaining fruit (3 bananas) to the gatekeeper as no fruit is allowed in the game Reserve as the animals have become too fond of it.  (more of that later).  Another boom and then onto another gravel road which wasn't as bed as we had been led to believe it would be, but it was still very corrugated and we certainly shook every bone in our bodies.  The countrysid here is full of the most enormous baobabs - I don't think we have ever seen such big ones.  They are literally thousanda of years old.  What a privilege to be here and see this bit of history!

And then, about 35km from Mana Pools Camp, the engine stopped!  We were in a dip, it was very hot and swarming with tsetse flies and horseflies and, naturally, I was panicking about predators.  But there was nothing for it but to get out and try to fix the problem.  After about an hour, Terry decided that the problem was thqt fuel wasn't reaching the carburettor.  At this moment, a tractor with 4 Zimparks employees aboard came rumbling down the road.  The driver, Pattison, leapt down and immediately joined Terry under the hood and then ander the car.  The rest of us stood around fanning ourselves and swotting flies.  After half an hour or so, the consensus waas that they would tow us the 35 km to the camp.  So we hooked up and had a long, dusty (no aircon and the windows open behind a tractor on a dirt road) ride to Mana.  Colin, you wil sympathise!  We eventually rumbled in much to the the amusement of the other campers who dropped their braaitongs in surprise.  We found our campsite and were dropped off with promises to come along tomorrow morning to help.

We were overwhelmed by the offers of help from other campers and a group we had met on the ferry came over, and besides offering help with car repairs invited us to supper.  So we set up our tent, had a shower and then a super braau with our new friends.

Next norning, Terry was up early, and managed to blow the blockage out of the fuel line. It had been caused by dirty fuel, which in itself is a little worrying as we travel further into Africa.  Anyhow, the Mazda is now purring along again.

Mana Pools is really the game reserve to end all game reserves.  Our campsite is one back from the river - cheqper if there are only 2 of you.  For a party of 5 or more, it is actually cheaper to have one of the beautiful riverside campsites.  The game which is everywhere wanders thro the campsites - we have had elephants, warthogs, buffalo, eland, walking right past ur tent, as well as the usual monkeys and baboons.  Last night while we were braaing, 3 hyenas and a hippo wanderd thro our campsite.  You are permitted to walk anywheree you like, but are warned to avoid densely wooded and grassed areas.  Each morning, before the noon heat, we haev gone for a lovely walk along this most beautiful of all rivers.  What joy, it feels like we are in a wildlife movie about Africa!

Yesterday morning, when we came back from our wlk, we foudn the monkeys had raided our camp and managed to break open one of our boxes.  Heaven knows how, as I struggle to open it, and these littlke vervet monkeys managed!  They tossed noodles and rice around aas well as eating all our bread.  They are a real nuisance, but ever so cute.  the next door campsite had set up a hammock, and they had hours of fun playing in it, giving us a morning of entertainment.

So as I sit in our campsite, i am watching a couple of old buffalo resting under the trees, i can hear and see hippos in the water, the monkeys and baboons are trundling past and the fish eagles call over the river.  For those of you that love the wild, 2 things that need to be on your 'bucket list' must be the Kariba Ferry and a visit to Mana Pools


8 Comments

Colin and Sue:
September 4, 2012
Oh come on now, not that old "dirty fuel" gag. But then, what would a 'bosvakansie' be without a tow and a chance to get the toolbox out. We know just how it feels! Seriously, we are avidly following your trip and hope you have lots more adventures to recount. Oh, and we hope the bush is fun too.

Colin and Sue
Jack and Bi:
September 4, 2012
Hello there,
so happy you are having a marvellous experience. It just sounds too great. Watch out for the old baobab in the middle of the road----keep left!
All the best for the next leg of your journey.
We'll pass your progress onto Gordon and Fernanda.
lol Jack and Bi
pam & john:
September 4, 2012
Hi you always did have trouble with car Terry so not much change.
Sounds great have a great time.
September 4, 2012
Glad to hear that you're having such a great time, in spite of dirty fuel. Feel really envious as I didn't make it to Mana Pools - got no further than Kariba. Look forward to reading your further adventures. Love.
Yvonne Gillespie:
September 4, 2012
All I can say is "Wow". What a trip.

Love

Yvonne
bitty & shake:
September 6, 2012
Greetings from Victoria where we are spending 4 days with Craig Paula & Family and have just caught up with your blog. LOved the stories of the bokkie stuck in mud and are drooling at the kariba & mana pools bit. We were due to go there in 2001 when the floods prevented us. So it sounds like a must do!
We will keep n touch as we get closer to ZA. keep blogging and enjoying Africa.
All our love
Fred:
September 6, 2012
Hi Terry and Mary,
We are just back from a holiday and have had to catch up on all 14 days of yours.It sound great, wish we were there.Keep trucking. F&B.
September 7, 2012
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experiences with us. I have so enjoyed reading your story! Wow! Sheila B
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