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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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 

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

Pungwe River…

The Pungwe river runs through the Honde Valley. I passed several of these rope bridges on my journey – and I even walked to the middle of this one!!!! I’m scared of heights, so gave myself a pat on the back for intrepidity. (That means bravery/stupidity, for those of you who don’t want to get out a dictionary!)

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They are rather wonky things – with the cable joined in several places.

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I’m not used to rivers that don’t dry up in the winter and found the emerald green mosses and ferns fascinating.

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A short walk from where I left the car and it felt as if I were the only person around:

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Pungwe River Bridge, in the Honde Valley, Zimbabwe.

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Aberfoyle Lodge, Honde Valley

When I visited Aberfoyle Lodge, it was still a construction zone! I’m sure by now its been all done up, but I didn’t get any photos of the newly refurbished dining rooms etc.

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However, I got some lovely ones of the golf course, the tea estates and the communal areas along the Pungwe River. This photo (above) is taken on the patio of Aberfoyle Lodge.

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Coming from Matabeleland, all this water nearly made me move house!!!

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My decision to visit the Honde Valley and Aberfoyle Lodge, was a spur of the moment thing – totally unplanned. At the last moment, I emailed the lodge, but hadn’t had a reply by the time I left Juliasdale. I was concerned that the lodge was not dog friendly, and although Lizzy is very well behaved, she is also a big dog!

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I happened to stop along the way and make the acquaintance of a family on their way to church. When I explained my predicament, they graciously invited me to stay with them, should Aberfoyle be unable to accommodate Lizzy!

Zimbabweans – dontcha love them!

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Luckily, the guy who runs Aberfoyle is a dog lover too, and wouldn’t hear of me turning back. He offered me a camping spot next to the rooms:

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I hope they sort out a camping park, because its a lovely area to go tramping with your dogs.

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