Back to our roots - Zim Expedition*

pooky
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Back to our roots - Zim Expedition*

Post by pooky » Sun May 18, 2014 5:18 pm

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A year in the plannning and here we are. 32 years since we were last in Zim. 0*\
This would be a very nostalgic, sometimes emotional but above all very exciting trip \O
Excuse the nostalgia 0/* 0/*

The bookings were done and everything was packed. We left Centurian at 2am for Beit Bridge.
Our friends were waiting for us at the Lion and Elephant Motel across the border.

The SA side of the border was plain sailing and only took 30 minutes. The Limpopo was fast flowing and full of
water. No way would we have been able to cross at Pafuri as originally planned. The Zim side of the border was
a mass of vehicles - mostly big trucks. Parking was just as you liked - a bit hair raising when a big truck would come
roaring past very close. The immigration was fairy quick but customs took forever including a wait while breakfast
was eaten 0*\ 2 1/2 hours later we were on our way \O

The Lion & Elephant brought back many memories. MIke and I cemented our relationship here at a New Years eve
dance in 1969/70. The dance floor was a concrete slab alonside the main road and we danced until about 7am with
passing motorists hooting and yelling at us. MOvies were held in the Motel once a month. This was the hub of entertainment for the area. Sadly it is now about to close down as there is no passing traffic anymore. Motorists
are avoiding BB and only the trucks roar by day and night.

We met up with Ron and Maria and now the holiday would begin O\/ O\/ O\/
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Some photos of the motel.

I will post more pics separately as I keep being thrown out 0*\
Last edited by pooky on Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
Posts: 2276
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:54 pm
Country: S.Africa
Location: Elgin

Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Sun May 18, 2014 5:47 pm

Wow Toko that was quick. :-)

Thanks for starting this with me ^Q^

I will post a few more pics now - if photobucket will let me 0*\

The Bubye river
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At the entrance to the motel
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The grounds were lush and still beautiful but the buildings werre beginning to look abit tired. Such a shame
Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
Posts: 2276
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:54 pm
Country: S.Africa
Location: Elgin

Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Mon May 19, 2014 8:08 pm

Day 2 Friday 18th April 2014

We had a good night although a bit noise with the never ending sound of big trucks trundling past.
There was no great rush - we didn't have too far to go. We left with a bit of a heavy heart knowing
that the L & E would more than likely be closing its door soon - to fall into a state of decay I suppose 0*\

Ready to roll

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The Mwenezi (Nuanetsi) river was flowing quite strongly - and this we would also have had to cross if we had managed
the Pafuri crossing :O^ This was another place where we spent many hours fishing, water skiing and swimming in the
2 weirs up stream from the bridge.

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We called in at the ranch where my Mum and Dad had lived. My Dad built the house in the mid 1970s. When they left in
1982 the ranch was sold and that owner stayed there until about 2007 when the Govt took the ranch and gave it to
a local 'war veteran'. The gardener who worked for the previous owner stayed on and he said that after about 3 years
these guys decided this wasn't for them and gave the property to him, the gardener. This was a 15000 acre ranch
of prime cattle country. There wasn't enough rain to grow maize, just an acre or so of sorghum. When my Dad was there
the place was teaming with plains game and the odd leopard.

This is the front of the house with the owners wife looking out the window. What really cracked me up here was
that grotty metal bird feeder hanging in the tree in the middle right side of the pic. My Dad hung that there and when
the dogs had been feed he tipped the left overs into the tray for the birds. There were birds by the hundred, weavers,
glossy starlings, hornbills, sparrows, go away birds, barbets and others.

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This was the side of the house with 'our' bedroom at the end and the 2 kids room next door. Both my children said
they were always terrified staying there during the terrorist war days as there was only gauze along the verandah. I
must admit I wasn't that confident either 0*\ 0*\

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Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
Posts: 2276
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:54 pm
Country: S.Africa
Location: Elgin

Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Mon May 19, 2014 8:35 pm

We continued on our way from here. We just had one more stop at the
neighbours ranch - just to have a look. The one son who now lives in New
York asked us to take some photos, which we did.

The country was looking absolutely stunning with all the rain that has fallen.

This area ahead has a lot of rocky hills (kopjies). Here are some photos
of the scenery as we drove along.

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Back into the lowveld with the ever present baobab trees.

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and finally our arrival at the Gonarezhou gate and time to book in.

(To get to this part of Gonrezhou we drove through Malilangwe where Kim Wolhuter is now operating from.
He has a program on DSTV)

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We were booked in at Chipinda Pools camp site no 7 on the banks of the Runde river.
Each camp site is on its own. There are 9 sites in all, with 3 small ablution blocks. We were quite far
from our ablution so initially drove there until we realised it was okay to walk there in daylight. The hyenas came
visiting in the evening and during the night and the first night an ellie came by - he didn't like us shining the torch
at him. We could hear him eating near by during the night.

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Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
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Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:54 pm
Country: S.Africa
Location: Elgin

Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Mon May 26, 2014 8:51 pm

Up and running again. Sorry about the delay 0*\ Pc's can have a mind of their own :O^

Day 3 19th April Saturday.

We didn't get an early start. We just savoured the peace and quiet.

This tree frog was sitting on the Shower rail.
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An interesting piece of tree next to our campsite with the river in the background

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We left camp and made our way east along the river. The road isn't close to the river as the terrain is too rugged.
The next 2 photos are looking upstream of the Runde river. In the distance in the first photo you can see a bridge
that washed away many, many years ago and has never been rebuilt. In the secound photo the campsite can just
be seen in the big trees along the river.

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A tree squirrel checking us out and an elephant minding his own business. We actually saw very little game
and the notorious ellies were few and far between.


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Lilac breasted roller.
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A pool with some water lillies and comb ducks. Another reason why we probably didn't see much game as there was plenty
of water in the veld.

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Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
Posts: 2276
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:54 pm
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Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Mon May 26, 2014 9:16 pm

Part 2 of day 3

We continued on to the Chilojo cliffs. This is really a spectacularly beautiful area. We spent quite a while
under the big trees admiring the view. In the one photo you can see a red shirt in the middle of the river.
That gives you an idea of the size of the cliffs.

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An ellie in the harsh afternoon sun.

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and back at camp that evening a beautiful sunset to round off the day.

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Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
Posts: 2276
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:54 pm
Country: S.Africa
Location: Elgin

Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Tue May 27, 2014 9:19 pm

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Day 4 20th April 2014

The hyena had a bit of a scrap behind our tent during the night which woke us with a bit of a fright :O^

We decided to go to Fishans causeway to see if there was any chance of us crossing the river.
Fishans is just a roadway leading into the river - no real causeway at all. 0*\ Graham was desperate to
cross the river but there was just too much water. :O^ It was too wide to walk it so there was no knowing
what holes there might be in the sand. Everyone was also keeping a weary eye out for Mr. Croc. O-/
Reluctantly the idea was tossed. :-(

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Another majestic baobab in the Park

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We then went down to Runde gorge. There is one campsite there with just a long drop. The site is not very
level at all and not well used so the grass was quite long.

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The next stop was at Chivilila Falls. Not so much falls as rapids. There was also a campsite here with a nice
lapa on top of a big rock outcrop and a long drop. We spent some time here with a picnic lunch. There were
a lot of lizards around which came looking for scraps. Can someone please ID for me - Toko 0/*

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Back at camp there was a greater honey guide in a dead tree near by and later some cinnamon breasted bunting.
Both lifters for me O**

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Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
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Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Wed May 28, 2014 9:25 pm

Day 5 21st April 2014

This was our last day in Gonarezhou. We decided to go through to Chiredzi to get fuel before the
long ride tomorrow.

On the way we stopped at the broken bridge. Quite amazing that part of it is still standing after all
this time - al least 15 years.

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Looking upstream from the bridge and then

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down stream

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This is the 'causeway' that is most used to get to the south of the Park. Again an attempt was made to see if
we could cross. This is just one small section of the river and the water was flowing very fast. I am not
sure if Graham really thought he could fight off anything with the baton that he was carrying :-) it did give a
feeling of security however :O^ :O^

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A senegal coucal - very similar to the burchells coucal but their territories don't overlap.

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Going through Malilangwe we saw a few giraffe and kudu that did not take off as soon as they heard the car.
Their security and patrols seem to be very much more organised and obviously are working \O

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Back at camp this very pretty lizard was catching some sun. I D please Toko 0/*

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and a last sunset in Gonarezhou

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Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
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Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:54 pm
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Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Thu May 29, 2014 9:36 pm

Day 6 22nd April 2014

We packed up and reluctantly left Gonarezhou, promising ourselves that we would be back in the drier months
so that we can cross the rivers and see more of the Park.

A martial watched us leave.

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and this fellow right next to the road in Malilangwe.

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On the way we crossed the Save river (used to be called Sabi). The old low level bridge can be seen with water flowing
over it. A good thing this high level bridge has held :O^

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In Chipinge this was the Govt. house that we lived in for 4 years before coming to S.A. A bit over grown and
dilapidated looking, but a home for someone :-)

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Across the road from the house is where we played tennis. Just the net poles can still be seen :O^ :O^

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Mike standing in front of the Veterinary offices where he used to work. He went inside and in his old office
there were still memos and notices up on the wall which he had put there. 0*\ They were a bit faded :O^ :O^
In the yard the little dogs dip that he had built was still there. The roof was gone and the dip was half full of
soil and rubbish.

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The primary school was a shining light in the village. It had just been newly painted and was in great condition.
My children started their schooling here.

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The upstairs windows were the offices where I worked.

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Looking up the main street with the red roof of the school in the far distance between the trees.

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We left Chipinge - been there, done that :O^ on our way to Mutare. On the way we did a 5k detour to see
Birchenough bridge over the Save river. This bridge was built by the Beit Railway Trust with funds bequeathed
by Sir Alfred Beit (of Beit Bridge fame). It was modelled on the Sydney harbour bridge but on a much smaller scale.
The people of the then Rhodesia requested that the bridge be named after Sir Henry Birchenough in recognition of
services renedered to the country.


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Rene shopping for mats made from baobab bark. The locals don't destroy the tree, they take sections of bark
about half a meter sq. They then allow the tree to recover before taking more bark. Fortunately there are hundreds
of baobabs in this area.

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We made our way to Vumba Botanical gardens just outside of Mutare. This area is in the mountains and as the
day progressed so the air got cooler and cooler with quite a cold night. The campsite itself is in a beautiful area
overlooking Chikumba dam in the distance which is in Mozambique. The ablutions were disgusting to put
it politely. They hadn't seen paint in 30 or more years but worse still they hadn't been cleaned in who knows how
long. There was water everywhere with taps and pipes leaking. O/ O/ There were 2 electric boxes in the campsite, neither of which worked. 0*\ 0*\ Fortunately there was plenty of wood for the donkey boiler so at least we had piping hot water in a short time. I had battled to find somewhere to stay in the first place so we couldn't leave to find somewhere else and it was late in the day. Never there again :evil:

This grand old lady had just been left. It looked as if it could have been a guest house or small hotel. But there was
no sign of life now. :-( :-(

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Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

pooky
Posts: 2276
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:54 pm
Country: S.Africa
Location: Elgin

Re: Back to our roots - Zim Expediton

Post by pooky » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:52 pm

Day 7 & 8 23rd & 24th April 2014

The first 2 pics are from yesterday when we arrived at the Vumba campsite.
Firstly inspecting the ablutions and then

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Looking to see if we could find a working power point.

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We woke up to a beautiful sunrise over Mozambique. It was chilly so we didn't waste time, packed up and left for
Harare.

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Buying beautiful table clothes and skirts on the road side :O^

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This is the fire station in Mutare. I think if you live in Mutare best you don't need a fire tender ever 0*\

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These models were hand made by some of the very talented locals. Cameron was the lucky recipient of the
John Deere tractor. He was a happy little boy :-)
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A view of a section of road between Mutare and Harare with the long grass and endless trees.

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MIke and I stayed with our friends in Harare and Graham and family stayed with their son,Graeme and his family.
This is Graeme's house. We had two wonderful nights with them. Caught up with washing our clothes, replenishing
some groceries and beers etc. and of course lots of chat. We hadn't seen each other for 25 years. Everything is available
in Harare at a price. Castle Lite was USD3, local beer was USD1. A 2kg bag of apples was USD5.50. Steak was
about USD20 a kg.

There is no HP. If you need to buy a car it must be for cash, even a house must be cash - no bonds. The banks/
building societies were very badly burnt when the Govt knocked 3 noughts off their currency. If you owed
Zim D 250000 on your house and 3 noughts were knocked off your debt was Zim D 250. So the banks lost
huge money. Now USD is the preferred currency, but in most places Rand is accepted. It is not cheap to live
there but if one is in the right business there is lots of money to be had.

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Lots of curious were on sale on the road side.

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And finally a farewell dinner with the older folk in the background and the youngsters in front :-)

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Satara 30 Sept - 7 Oct

Botswana June/July 2018

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