Charara…

The drive from Chizarira to Kariba took longer than I thought it would. I wasn’t in any hurry – when I saw a photo opportunity, I stopped; took my time. I’d tried to book with National Parks at Marongoro, but had received no reply by the time I left Chizarira.

Once again, a fellow Bulawegian came to my ‘rescue.’

A guy, whom I had only ‘spoken’ to on Facebook owns a house in Charara. I was welcome to stay there for as long as I needed, he said. Another “pull in” type of invite, so typical of Zimbabweans.

Right on the banks of Lake Kariba, his house is air-conditoned with a wonderful caretaker called Shamu to help paying guests.

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I had breakfast up there, under the thatch.

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Watching the sun rise over Lake Kariba.

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It’s very comfortable inside and the sunset – whew! There is a flood-plain a few hundred metres from the house, where I was able to sit and watch the sun go down. The whole sky lit up, as if on fire as the HUGE ball of red slowly sank below the horizon.

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Mucheni Gorge, Chizarira…

I spent a night at Mucheni Gorge, in Chizarira National Park.

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The drive up the escarpment is fairly painless and affords several “photo opportunities.”

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If I’d been a few weeks earlier, I’d have got some photos of Msasa!!!

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Over millennia, the Mucheni river has cut into the sandstone, creating these amazing features. I loved the view of “Vast Africa” at Mucheni Gorge.

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Perched right on the edge of the gorge, Mucheni is totally without the intrusion of humans! I didn’t hear a dog, a cockerel, or an aeroplane! Most of all, I didn’t see or hear a human! Now THAT is an experience worth paying for!

I wrote this story shortly after we stayed at Chizarira a few years ago: Embarrassed Please click on the link to read it.

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There are no facilities at Mucheni Gorge camping site (in fact, I found the thatched shelter too developed for my taste.) Visitors must bring their own water, food, camping equipment etc, although there is a loo of sorts.

I woke up at three in the morning and tried to take some photos of the magnificent sky, but totally stuffed it up – and I wont post my feeble effort! It was worth the view though!

I left early in the morning on my way to Mana Pools but before I did, I took this photo:

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I realise its ‘gimmicky’ but hey, its Africa, and I was on holiday!

Please click here, to find Mucheni Gorge Campsite on google maps

Tree in Chizarira National Park…

I took a photo of this tree (mid-day) on my way to Mucheni Gorge in Chizarira National Park.

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And then again, on the way out:

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The escarpment (the blue hills behind this tree) at Chizarira National Park overlooks the Zambezi Valley – Mucheni gorge camp, perched right on the edge.

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Somewhere, right down there, is the tree! (Im glad I had a vehicle to get me up this escarpment!)

Please click here if you wish to see where Mucheni Gorge and Chizarira is: Chizarira National Park

 

Boat trip at Maabwe Bay…

Kariba, a large body of water, can have waves a metre high. Luckily, when I went on the water at Maabwe Bay, they didn’t get THAT big.

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As soon as we were out in the middle of the lake, the wind came up and the smooth water, became these choppy waves. The boat man had a plan to tack, so the motor didn’t keep coming out of the water, but had to avoid illegal fishing nets too!

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I took the above photo for the tree – of course – this is opposite Maabwe Camp on our way to the hot springs.

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I can see all sorts of faces in these rocks!

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I have psoriasis and  always search out hot springs for my skin. This one was jolly hot, but further down the valley (in the next photo) it has cooled down enough I could spread the sulphur mud onto my skin. (Probably mixed with a whole load of cow manure too!!!)

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And then we got back to Camp Maabwe, and what do you know? The wind died down!!!

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Kariba Kapenta

Although I find the kapenta rigs noisy, they make good subjects for foregrounds:

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This is sun-set at Maabwe Bay, on the Zambezi, the sun still out of the photo, although the lovely copper colour has already spread across the water

Kapenta, which look like little sardines, are attracted to light. So the Kapenta rigs go out at night and shine a strong light down into the water and then collect the tiny fish with a net. So ALL night, the generator’s diesel engines belt away, to run the lights.

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The net and the rig that pull the fish out of the water, is at the back, hanging over the water.

The fish are sun dried, salted and packed for sale far from Kariba. I find I have to soak them overnight and then drain off the salty water before I use them. Rather than bore you with details, I’ll add this link: Kapenta at Wikipedia 

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I think the rings on this boat are stuffed – it stuttered its way slooowwwly across the bay!

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The workshops and packing sheds are directly behind the jetty in this shot. Taken in the morning, I love the shine off the water and the busy people working.

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All these photos are taken at Maabwe Bay on the Zambezi. Click here to find Maabwe on Google Maps

 

 

Camp Maabwe, Sebungwe…

Not long ago, I posted photos of a hot-spring in the Binga area and immediately received a message from the owner of Camp Maabwe, on the Zambezi. She told me to “pull in” next time I was up that way.

For the benefit of non-Zimbabweans, “pull in” means, pitch up, come any old time, no need to make arrangements – you will be made welcome.

So when I decided to drive from Bulawayo to Mana Pools, via Chizarira and Kariba, I thought to do precisely that, and in true Zimboe style, I was welcomed with open arms and taken all around the Sebungwe mouth area.

If you want to see exactly where Camp Maabwe is, please click on this link here

I arrived in time for sunset photos

 

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I was told that it was safe to go near the water’s edge as crocs and hippo don’t like to crawl/walk over rocks… Since I’m here to tell the tale, it appears to be true. (I have a VERY healthy respect for hippos and crocs.)

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This ‘beach’ (above) is very close to the camping site at Maabwe.

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The facilities at Maabwe are very discrete; blend in with nature. I felt like I really was ‘on the edge’ of Kariba, in the Zambezi valley of old.

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Don’tcha just love the shower? And it WORKS – like everything in Camp Maabwe!

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All the photos in the above slideshow are taken in the campsite.

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I sat under this viewing platform watching the sun come up. There is a bird bath, (in the second pic) cleverly positioned. Birds visited it while I sat watching, perfectly still and had a full out bath.

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This is the sunrise  – taken at Camp Maabwe.

There is a second camp-site, more suitable for larger groups – over-landers and such.

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The photo below is the campsite from the water:

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If you are looking for the Zambezi Valley of yesteryear, before green lawns and air-con, then Camp Maabwe is for you! I highly recommend a stop over here on any 4X4 adventure along the Zambezi.

Camp Maabwe are on FaceBook here 

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…