African Road-trip…

I recently drove to Mana Pools via Kariba! Generally, our main roads in Zimbabwe are good; wide tar with few potholes. Once off them, its just pot-luck!

Leaving Bulawayo, we drove behind this poor chap, perched right on top of the bus. I’ve seen many things up there, including household furniture, maize bags, scotch-carts and once, a donkey.

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Taken through the windscreen, this photo (above) is the  approach to Maabwe fishing camp. It was taken through the windscreen because outside, the temperature was about 40 degrees C!!!

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I didn’t recognise the road in the above photo, because the last time we drove on it, we could hardly make out where exactly the road was! I certainly couldn’t bomb along at the speed I did this time.

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Still in the Zambezi Valley, this is the road to Chizarira. The going was slow and the tsetse flies murder, if I opened the window. I spent the night up there, on the escarpment.

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This slide-show displays photos I took while on the long drive to Kariba.

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Coming off the escarpment into the Zambezi valley again, I could feel the heat each time I opened the window.

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There is something about technology – the scar on the African landscape. These are the power-lines that carry electricity from Kariba hydro-electric power station and the maintenance road that runs along it.

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And yet on the way to Mana Pools the road builders just couldn’t bear to cut the baobab trees down – instead the road goes around them…

 

 

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Chalet 16, Milibizi

Milibizi resort began life as a fishing camp – with very rudimentary facilities. Back in the day, groups of men would “getaway” in those awesome old cars, drive up the Victoria Falls strip road for 180 miles, and then onto a dust road, for another 50 odd miles. It’s amazing what an effort people will go to, to spend the entire day in the blazing heat on the Zambezi!

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Today it’s an oasis of green, with two swimming pools, lush lawns and tall trees. You can find exactly where in the world Milibizi is by clicking on a link here to google maps.

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One can hire these (very stable) pontoon type boats – that hippo cannot over-turn! I have a healthy respect for hippo, notorious for flipping smaller boats. I would hate to lose my camera in an argument with a hippo!

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This sign, below is not just for show – I saw fearsome sized crocs here. Ugh – I could think of better ways of leaving this world!

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We caught a lift with a boatman baiting a spot for bream…

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And, came across a couple of men we knew (middle-aged Bulawayo business owners,) anchored in the middle of the current, fishing for tiger. Neither wore shirts and only one of them, a hat. They kept the fearsome Zambezi heat at bay, by drinking ice cold ‘Zambezi beer.’ These light skinned progeny of British settlers, (who came to Africa more than a century ago,) sat there all day, trailing bait in the fast moving water. When they eventually rollicked up the hill to their chalet, the red sunburnt stripes on their tummies reminded me strongly of pregnant red and white zebra.

They repeated this activity the following day and the next; then got in their car and went home, content at the “break” from their busy worlds!

No accounting for taste!

Before air-conditioners and fully equipped kitchens invaded this masculine retreat, a tea-room provided food and drinks (although, probably not tea) for fishermen. As chalets were ‘improved/upgraded’ this tea-room was used less and less and was, eventually, converted to a chalet too. Chalet 16 can sleep 3 couples in the air-conditioned rooms, and up to 18 if necessary (on the veranda under mozzie nets.)P1330371

AND – thank heaven for the modern air-conditioning, cos it is jolly hot at Milibizi! The brand new units in all three rooms, new fridges and freezers in the kitchen, make Chalet 16 extremely comfortable when the fishermen are out on the water!

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The Sunset Deck is an excellent spot for watching the sun go down:

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Most of the chalets at Milibizi Resort are privately owned:

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Milibizi sunsets have to be experienced…

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And the sunrises are equally worth getting up early for:

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Breakfast anyone?

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I leave you with this photo – out on the boat, the water like glass:

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Chalet 16 has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mlibiziresort/

 

Dete Cross Roads…

About three hours from Bulawayo, heading towards the Victoria Falls, is the Dete Cross Roads – just a filling station really, and as can be seen in the photo, informal veggie sellers, people waiting for transport, mini-busses and scotch-carts. It’s a pretty dangerous section of road, with people wandering all about, cattle and on occasion, elephants! I always drive VERY carefully past the cross-roads.

We managed to get diesel there (it’s been in short supply here in Zimbabwe in recent times…) and headed north-west, off the main road towards Milibizi, where I’d been invited to stay in order to take photos.

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Its hot and dry here, now in Zimbabwe as we wait for the rains and I love the bright clothes and sense of community in this photograph, so classic of Zimbabwe. The three drums are an ugly reminder of a time we would all like to forget, when the police sat on our roads like vultures, using any method to extort money from innocent travellers.

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I’ve added a screenshot of Zimbabwe, to give some idea of where Milibizi is, in relation to Bulawayo

Man’s best friend….

Lizzy, my German Shepard Dog, accompanied me on my recent trip to the Zimbabwe Eastern Highlands.

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This photo was taken while we impatiently waited for the sun to go down at World’s View, Nyanga.

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What a poser!

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I could never get decent pics of Lizzy – she is always running about – until I thought of getting her to “sit” and “stay.”

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The last photo is taken at George’s Place in the Vumba…

 

Strangler fig…

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A strangler fig of some kind, growing in the centre of a msasa tree, at Georges Place in the Vumba.

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Growing in the centre bowl of the tree, it sends it roots to the ground.

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One day, it may look like this one, at Milibizi Hotel!

Or this one that I could quite literally not fit into the camera frame:

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Taken at Froggy Farm, in Juliasdale

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I took the last photo near Hwange – a fig strangling a Mopane tree.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangler_fig

 

Standing alone…

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Of the many hundreds of photos I took in the Zimbabwe Eastern Highlands, this is my favourite.

Initially a reject, this one below, grew on me! Taken very early in the morning at George’s Place in the Vumba.

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Taken in the Nyanga National Park, hanging off the edge, this little guy caught my eye.

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This tree (below) stands alone at the edge of a cliff,  in the Matopos at Rhodes’ Grave, over-looking a boulder strewn valley.

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An old friend, below. (I visit this tree each time I climb World’s View in the Matopos.)

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It’s a tough life, here in Zimbabwe!

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This photo above, is taken in Nyanga – a view of Nyangane with a lone, struggling bush in the foreground!

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Overlooking Mozambique, I found these trees keeping vigil…

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George’s Place, Vumba

The last time we visited in the Vumba, it was winter and jolly cold! We had stayed at the “Outside Inn” administered by Sally Preston. I guessed she would allow Lizzy to stay because animals had been very much in evidence; horses in the gardens, dogs and a lovely cat who deigned to lie on our bed!

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I wrote about our visit to the Outside Inn a couple of years ago, here.

Sure enough, Lizzy and I were welcomed at Hivu Nurseries and allocated a HUGE room at Hycroft House, this time, with an on-suite bathroom, massive kitchen, sitting room etc.

Lizzy…

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Hycroft House, is definitely “pet friendly,”  as horses graze on the lawns, and Sally arrives surrounded by dogs, in her old farm bakkie! The cat who visited us last time, stared balefully at Lizzy and decided my pet standards had definitely slipped!

At the reception I was given a map with directions to “George’s Place” where I was told I would find a picnic spot, and msasa trees, overlooking the Bungu Forest.

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The look-out is on a precipice, with magnificent views in three directions.

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All these photos (above) were taken in the evening. The following morning, I returned before sunrise and took some more.

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The blue light in these photos contrasts with the dark red foliage of the Msasa.

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It was magical walking under this canopy…