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…

 

 

 

 

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World’s View, and Nyanga…

World’s View, in Inyanga offers superb views. Last time we visited the Eastern Highlands, I got some lovely shots – so I penciled in a visit and was disappointed! The view was hazy, the weather cold and the sunset boring! HOWEVER, the trip up there from Juliasdale, was spectacular.

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I started off at Froggy Farm in Juliasdale…

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And drove past the mountains that tower over Nyanga town.

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I’m guessing that before the town was built, Msasa trees covered all the hillsides here.

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I stopped the car near the cutout at the top of the hill in the above photo, and sat on a hill, just drinking in the spectacular view:

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The sun was very strong, because I was giving myself enough time to get to World’s View by sunset. In these photos, I shielded the camera by hiding behind a branch on my left.

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The following are the only decent pics I got from World’s View – I guess you win some, you lose some when it comes to photography.

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The last time I went to World’s view, I took this photo:

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And now, I go back, two years later and the tree has grown???? How dare it?

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Below are the photos I took two years ago, when I had a decent sunset to work with.

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Juliasdale Msasa…

A couple of years ago, we were working in the Eastern Highlands in the middle of winter, often with cloudy skies and slight ‘guti.’ I got some lovely photos (I’ve posted them here,) especially of the aloes and the cold winter colours.

Our host, who has the good fortune to live with the view in my first photo from his porch, told me to come back when the Msasa were out for even better photos. I heeded his advice and let me tell you, Juliasdale in Msasa season, is tree heaven! I took rather a lot of photos, and in the next few posts, I will share the best with you.

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I took my dog, Lizzy with me, and she is now quite an intrepid mountain climber!

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Juliasdale is a granite area, similar to the Matopos, but with exotic varieties of trees growing on many of the hillsides. Yes, they do mess up my Msasa photos, but they also provide much needed pine for our building industry. You can see them in the photo below, providing some dark green colour as a backdrop.

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I drove down this logging track, hoping for some clearer views…

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And I found them! The two photos following were taken when I found a clearing overlooking this valley:

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I LOVE the lone tree against the granite mound in this photo:

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Cattle Loading Ramp…

Looking for Msasa trees, near Mbalabala, I came across this old loading ramp.

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This place used to be part of a larger cattle ranch, (recently cut into much smaller acreages.)

Cattle destined for sale, would have been collected here, waiting for transport lorries to arrive.

Mbalabala Msasa…

I’m back! And I apologise for the absence – I decided to start a website, with the idea of selling some of my better photos. I was told not to post any more on this blog, as it would become redundant. As you will note, I even changed my logo on the bottom of my photos!

Several months down the line, and no website in sight, I’m back here, with some photos I took back then.

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Mbalabala is a tiny town on the Johannesburg Road, about 70km from Bulawayo. The same massive granite of the Matopos can be found in this area, and these beautiful trees, that produce new leaf in the spring.

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From bare branches spring new leaves that vary from orange, russet, yellow and red. Within a few weeks they are all green.

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This grove of trees is clustered around a typical granite “kopjie” with classic rocks, and that lovely grey grass found along each crack.

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It’s pretty slippery too! I nearly slipped to the bottom, taking pics of this rocky outcrop:

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It’s hot and dry in Matabeleland now – and the only time I could get away, was at lunch time. Not the best time to take photos!

I climbed all the way to the top, in the blazing heat and was rewarded with this tree! In the distance there you can see the tiny town of Mbalabala.

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If I’d slogged back up here a few weeks later, this tree would have changed colour to brilliant red, before finally turning green.

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In this pic, you can see most of the colours to be found on the Msasa.

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The dark tree trunks and the characteristic shapes contrast with the delicate leaves.

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I leave you with a photo of the hillside opposite the one I climbed.