Vic Falls and Hwange

August 20, 2016 - Hwange, Zimbabwe




August 20


So up early and we headed for Victoria Falls.  Although we have been there a couple of times before, their beauty and majesty are something that should be on everyone’s ‘bucket list’.  The local name for the Victoria Falls is ‘Mosi Ao Tunya’ – The Smoke That Thunders.


Going early in the morning was an excellent idea, as the light was wonderful anad there weren’t hordes of tourists.  Although it is the dry season, there was a reasonable amount of water going over the falls and at the main falls it was impossible to see the bottom because of the mist.  The vegetation around the falls is that of a rain forest as there is a constant mist hanging over everything.  In the wet season, one can hire raincoats and umbrellas to walk along the gorge.


From our side of the Falls we could see groups of tourists being taken right to edge of the falls from the Zambian side.  They sat in the water on the edge with only a little wire preventing them toppling over the edge – not for me, I don’t think!  But this part of the world seems to attract young backpackers and the like who want to experience everything.


So after a couple of hours walking along the edge, we went to breakfast at the restaurant at the Entrance.  What a pleasant surprise!  Lovely eats and the cappuccino came with a shot of Amarula Cream, a kind of Baileys but with the fruit if the local Amarula tree as the flavour.  Not sure about alcohol at 10 in the morning, but it was delicious and a delightful touch.


Our next stop was to be Hwange Game Reserve, but we lost the others when we were supposed to meet them at ‘The Big Tree’ – an enormous baobab just out of town.  So we pressed on on our own through lovely bushveld with long grass and trees as well as the odd baobab.  We passed through the coal mines on the edge of the Game Reserve and entered the park through a little gate manned by a single ranger.  On to Sinamatella Camp where we found that the others hadn’t arrived yet.  Anyhow, we booked in for everyone after much discussion about the fact that we had paid in full.  The man at the gate, John, had a hard time understanding it all, bit finally we apparently made sense and we were shown to our chalets.  They were a little better than the ones at Zambesi National Park, but still very much on need of maintenance.  The camp is built on top of a ridge looking down over the plains which made up for any disrepair in the chalet.


The others arrived about an hour after us, having stopped for a car whose suspension had given up the ghost.  They left the owners (2 men) at the car, but brought the other occupants of the car (4 children) with them, having been assured that the Moms would be at the camp as they were coming from another camp and had left at 9 in the morning.  Howver, no such luck – no moms!!So Sue  who is a primary school teacher ended up entertaining the kids while Colin went back to fetch the Dads.


As it turned out the Moms had also had a breakdown – no-one maintains anything here – and they were brought to camp by some other kind travellers.  The breakdown van has to come miles to collect both cars now, and both families are stuck in Sinamatella till Monday, at least.


We sat on the edge of the ridge and watched game wandering along on the plains below heading for what little water there is in puddles in the dry river bed.  Lots of warthog, giraffe, zebra and big herds of impala as well as elephants in the distance.


So a lovely braai, a hot shower and off to bed.  And it’s sweltering!


1 Comment

John McFarlane:
August 31, 2016
I did the road survey from Wankie town to Sinamatella in the mid 60's
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