Leopard Rock…

I made it to the hotel and golf course very late in the afternoon. With no golfers on the course, I was allowed to rush about taking as many photos as I liked. p1210131

Leopard Rock is in the Vumba (Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe)

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These photos are taken in July, the cold season; the sunset on the hill slopes lovely.

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The gardens along the edges of the golf course fit in well with the surroundings.

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This last pic is my favourite for the day:

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Early morning in Murambinda…

We stayed in a place called “River Sounds Lodge,” in Murambinda. It should be renamed “Shebeen Sounds Lodge…”

The music didn’t let up all night, and even in the very early morning, the birds were unable to compete with the blaring cacophony. It seems Murambinda nightclub owners don’t bother to turn their sound systems off when their customers depart.

Murambinda is a bustling dust-road town in the district of Buhera….OK I’ll stop with the geography lesson: Murambinda is a dump. There is no other word for it! The streets are dust, the buildings haphazard and wiggly waggly all over the show with no trees for shade. Ugly heaps of rubble are just piled up where the council pushed them out of the way when they built the roads! And the sad thing is, Murambinda is positioned in a pretty place, nestled among kopjies with a river running through the middle of the town.

We eventually gave up trying to sleep and not-bright, but very early, sat waiting for the survey gang, who, by the way, spent a restful night camping at the local SDA church yard. Watching people start their day in Murambinda, with the long sloping early morning light, I couldn’t resist a few pics…

P1210521Two ladies, walking slowly, chatting companionably. The wheelbarrow is loaded with wares, hawked from under a tree, or carried amongst the crowds milling about at the bus stops. She sells penny-cool (plastic, cold drink filled tubes,) sweets, cigarettes that are sold singly, pens!

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It was cold, and so I sat in the car with the heater on, my camera balanced on the door and took these pics over the wing-mirror.

P1210519I thought this poor little guy, on his way to school, looked lonely!

P1210517More school kids – these guys, at least ten minutes after the girls passed this way!

P1210516And THIS guy….was late! He shot past us, way after all the others had gone! Africa time clearly isn’t applicable with HIS teacher!

Seems Paul Mpofu liked the town so much, he wrote a song about it!!!

 

 

Makoni East…

We did three surveys in this area for Maranatha Volunteers, a branch of the Seventh Day Adventist Churches…

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What a view! I took this pic from the front yard of an elderly couple I met carrying their maize home from the grinding mill.

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Homesteads are small here, compared with Tsholotsho for example, where eight or twelve houses are all included in a stockade. Probably because in Tsolotsho, lions and other predators roam free!

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Shopping day?

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Look at the size of these rocks, towering over the tiny houses in the valley below.

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Pretty setting for a district hospital.

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OK, OK – I have to get a tree into my post somewhere! I just LOVED this tree, shaped by the lorries that pass this way!

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Nature’s fragrance…

On our recent trip to Binga area, we based ourselves at Mlibizi (pics already on here someplace,) a fishing camp on the Zambezi river.

Our first day’s work at Nechilibi, was rained off, and the car was a bit of a muddle because I’d had to bring things that usually belong in the back, into the cab.

Our second site was at Deka, also a fishing camp on the Zambezi, about an hour and a half away on a pretty poor road. We set off early, after checking that the Gwaai River was not in flood. You can see from this pic, the low clouds, just waiting to trap us in the car for another three hours!

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This pic (above) is taken from the bridge over the Gwaai River. It had been flooding high the previous day, but as you can see, it went down quickly.

Even before we reached this bridge, I’d noticed a terrible smell. I didn’t say anything, but wished we had not had beans for supper the previous evening! I smelled it again, shortly after, when I slowed down for a cow.

I flapped my hand and got a “Huh? Whats up with your guts?”

MY GUTS??? What a flaming cheek! MEN!!! And like all men, Will has an excellent ‘innocent look.’ I wondered if I should believe his, “It wasn’t me!” story? And it definitely wasn’t me!

It seemed to be worse whenever I slowed down and we eventually decided something must have died in our air-conditioner, or in the panel above the bonnet. I couldn’t work out why it would make a difference when we slowed down, but we had plenty of ideas about air flow etc! I stuck to my theory that he was not as innocent as professed!

When we arrived at Deka, I checked under the bonnet, and stuck my nose on all the carpets – nothing.  I left the guys doing the survey and took a drive along the Zambezi, looking for photo opportunities; did a little fishing with some kids I came across.

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Their back yard!

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I didn’t notice any smells when on my own, and began to wonder if Will was having me on! He must have squeezed one out each time I slowed down, knowing it would confuse the issue.

I collected the survey team, (and by the way, this hole was drilled and it had lots of lovely water.) We headed off to Kenkando, the second job of the day, 60km away (unfortunately, this hole was dry!) and the smells came back as soon as Will got in the car.

Eventually, after about twenty kilometres, stopping to take this pic:

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I noticed these flowers, growing on a bush close-by, were very fragrant.

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So I picked a whole stack of them (the guys sniggering on the back!) and put them in the cab – anything to cancel out that foul smell.

It didn’t work that well!

Arriving at Kenkando, and removing the resistivity machine (from behind Will’s seat) we discovered the MIA lunch (beef stew) from Thursday! Eeeew! It had got wedged under his seat; stray shoes and fire extinguishers pushing it out of sight! Every time I slowed down, Will must have leaned back, squashing the tupperware, lid forcing it to fart!

Phew! Were we glad we solved that one!

A few pics taken along the road:

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This is baobab country – just one doesn’t usually have the back drop of clouds when coming across them!

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Teak tree blossoms, I’m told (above.)

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This lady was collecting water – a laborious process – she wasn’t making sand castles!

“Please take my photo…”

…Is something I’m often asked…So, we are waiting for our client on the side of the road in Gutu and along comes this little car…”Please take my photo,” they both ask, and pose for me???

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Now don’t you think he looks like he is facing a firing squad? Well that is what I asked him, and I got this:

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Word of advice…

Don’t stop to buy fish along the road from Binga…because what starts off with a few (pretty) ladies to barter with…P1160826

Ends up with many, many more! They crowd around the car, shoving wide plates with stinky salted bream through the window, all yelling at the top of their lungs!

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Brighton, a member of our survey team, is pictured above wearing the striped shirt! I told him I would send this pic to his wife (s) His reply “Send it, and she will realise how lucky she is!!!” Amazing how brave a man can be when alone, and in this case, surrounded by lots of lovely women!