Old Strip Roads…

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…Can still be seen in some places in Zimbabwe. Although built nearly 100 years ago, they have withstood the tests of time! Called strip roads because they only cover the road where the tyres go, they were much cheaper to build when developing a new nation. Zimbabwe is twice the size of the United Kingdom and three times the size of Ireland! Engineers charged with developing a country covered in thick bush, teeming with wild animals on a limited budget, came up with this idea. This section is from Bulawayo to the Victoria Falls. The road builders stuck to outcropping rocks as it provided a solid base for the road. When the wide tar road was constructed in the 1960’s, a shorter route over the top of the sand was chosen. (Ancient sand dunes are clearly visible on Satellite images from Lupane onwards.) This is what Wikipedia has to say:¬†https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_road

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If travellers came across someone driving in the opposite direction, both were expected to move over, so only their right wheels were on the right hand track! Thats pretty close when passing the on coming vehicle – takes some trust, that!

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By the time I was a kid, there was only a small section remaining as part of our National Roads: between Filabusi and Belingwe (Now, Mberengwa.)

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and I clearly remember my dad, cigarette between his fingers, elbow out of the window, only veering off to the left at the last possible moment – no reduction in speed!

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I took this (silly) short video driving on the section of this road near the turn off to Hwange Main Camp, near Netchilibi…

Fast forward forty years…and these guys are not going as fast, but still using the road!

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The day I took the above photo, the inbuilt temperature gauge in the car read 52 degrees C. In other words, very hot! And, we had to work outside in it…(I remained in the car with the air-conditioner running.)

 

 

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Random Streets in Hillside…

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This photograph is taken on Moffat Avenue, Hillside, Bulawayo. I’m guessing it was named after Robert Moffat, a missionary who came to Africa in the mid 1850’s. His daughter married David Livingstone – another famous missionary who worked tirelessly for the abolition of slavery. So he is fairly popular here!

Eish – check out THAT mandebvu!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Moffat_(missionary)

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This one is taken on Napier Ave. He was hot shot during the Matabele rebellion and buddy of Cecil John Rhodes.

http://www.rhodesiansoldier.com/col.-w.-napier-cmg.html

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I admit I took the above pic because of the tree hanging over Hillside Rd – which is one of the main feeder roads into the suburbs from town.

 

 

 

Matopos Siding

Called ‘The Matopos’ this siding is no longer in use. Its close enough to the main Kezi Rd for a quick stop in…and the grove of trees nearby – wow – to die for!

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The siding is not far from the road leading in the Matopos Police station along this grassy track. You can just see the cattle loading ramp hidden in the trees. Built from thick steel bars, its still going strong, unlike the sign that used to read “The Matopos.”

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This view (above) is the one anyone hanging out of a carriage window would have seen as they approached the siding.

Cecil John Rhodes left a provision in his will for a spur line to be added onto the railway so people could visit the Matopos. Right next to this halt, a hotel was built for visitors and day trippers. I’m guessing it was wooden and got eaten by termites in time! On this website I found some photos:¬†http://zimfieldguide.com/matabeleland-south/matopos-railway-terminus

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As I walked towards the siding I detoured into the grove of Umkhaya on my right.

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http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=125910

Click on this link for an Umkhaya tree.

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Evening colours in the Matopos…

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I took this pic on the side of the road leaving Maleme Dam in the Matopos National Park. The colours are good at this time of the year, but evening light always helps!

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Lichen on the rocks are very strong coloured this year, I’ve noticed. ‘Praps the good rainy season?

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The white flowers are on a wild pear tree – plenty of them around here

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Taken just before the turn off to Mshelele Dam.

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We didn’t have the time to go there! Didn’t feel like making a 22km bumpy ride on the road either!

For those of you who have never been to the Matopos – its a HUGE granite batholith that has, over time, worn away into massive boulders, some with balancing rocks, precariously waiting to fall! Its only about 30km from Bulawayo on a good road, so its easy to nip out for a braai and for me, the greatest thing about it, is you can get out of your car!!! Children are allowed to run free, climb the huge granite mounds, get in touch with nature. Wikipedia does a better job with the technical details!!!!

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