Man’s best friend….

Lizzy, my German Shepard Dog, accompanied me on my recent trip to the Zimbabwe Eastern Highlands.

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This photo was taken while we impatiently waited for the sun to go down at World’s View, Nyanga.

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What a poser!

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I could never get decent pics of Lizzy – she is always running about – until I thought of getting her to “sit” and “stay.”

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The last photo is taken at George’s Place in the Vumba…

 

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Standing alone…

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Of the many hundreds of photos I took in the Zimbabwe Eastern Highlands, this is my favourite.

Initially a reject, this one below, grew on me! Taken very early in the morning at George’s Place in the Vumba.

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Taken in the Nyanga National Park, hanging off the edge, this little guy caught my eye.

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This tree (below) stands alone at the edge of a cliff,  in the Matopos at Rhodes’ Grave, over-looking a boulder strewn valley.

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An old friend, below. (I visit this tree each time I climb World’s View in the Matopos.)

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It’s a tough life, here in Zimbabwe!

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This photo above, is taken in Nyanga – a view of Nyangane with a lone, struggling bush in the foreground!

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Overlooking Mozambique, I found these trees keeping vigil…

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Trees in the Tea Estates…

Whoever developed the tea estates in the Eastern Highlands must have been a fellow tree lover. This lone tree, at the very top of the rise can be seen for miles.

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This one, below, is HUGE – left all on its own, in the middle of a field. It would have been so much easier to just cut it down and make way for mechanisation.

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This thorn tree, below, just coming into leaf caught my eye. (I’m afraid the photo isn’t that good.)

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Although not all of the trees are indigenous, they are HUGE! I’m told it rains a lot in the area, and the tea bushes don’t need to be irrigated.

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The road goes right through this grove of trees (below) over a little bridge and then bursts out onto the brilliant green tea fields again.

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Tea Estates…

Zimbabwe’s famous, Tanganda Tea is grown in the Eastern Highlands where conditions are ideal – enough rain and early morning mists from the Mozambican coast.

Many ex-Zimboes go out of their way to buy Tanganda Tea when they visit here.

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I stopped under this tree – tea smells fresh! It’s the only word I can come up with. I always wondered why some varieties of roses were called “tea roses,” and now I know!

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I left Aberfoyle Lodge in the early morning, hoping to catch good light. The estate was already awake, with workers going about their daily schedules. Coming from a commercial farming background myself, this activity made me very nostalgic.

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Workers housing and packing sheds – above.

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Bucketing around the steep corners, I came across this gang, fixing the roads.

This photo (above) inspired local artist, Talent Kapadza to paint the scene:42157410_2192364314138610_1741592737263648768_n.jpg

He is selling this painting for $2800.00 – if you are interested, please get hold of him – he is on Facebook Talent Kapadza

 

 

 

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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Honde Valley…

I made an early departure (from Juliasdale,) for a scenic drive through the Honde Valley, but couldn’t resist one last shot at the Msasa, and I’m glad I did.

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The first rays of the sun were just peaking over the hills, lighting up a few leaves.

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I intended to travel via the Mutarazi Falls in the Nyanga National Park….BUT, being obstinate, against better advice, I decided to get there via a road that is shown on the map. And that is all it is, a line on the map! It was a terrible road, and I only got these two, half decent pics for my efforts!

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This one above, is Mount Nyangane – where the Pungwe River which I would be to follow for for several hours, in the Honde Valley, originates.

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The National Parks man, was horrified to see me burst out of the forest along a road he said hadn’t been used for years!

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The above slide show is of the Pungwe River look-out. Not sure if the road was ‘more of the same’ I’d been on for hours, I gave going to the Mutarazi Falls a skip, and decided to head off to Aberfoyle Lodge.

The Honde Valley is in the Eastern Highland border with Mozambique. Back during the bush war, it was very much the ‘sharp end’ and many lives were lost there. It’s also very beautiful…

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And the trees! I drooled over them!

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The Pungwe river that originated on Mt Nyangane, plunges over an escarpment and immediately dog-legs and heads towards Mozambique.  It then runs alongside the road, through the communal area.

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And then the tea estates – and something I’m very familiar with: commercial agriculture….which means, tractors, packing sheds, workers houses, soccer fields and schools! And tea of course – gown in orderly fields!

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I love the way the tea is grown along hillsides, but with the natural forest in pockets (obviously where the tea doesnt like to grow.) These photos were taken on a Sunday, so there are no workers in the fields.

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In this photo above, you can see how tall the trees are. The arboreal atmosphere is very strong here. Once again, I was in tree heaven.

 

 

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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