Travel Report Zimbabwe - Weltenbummler Shumba - Weltreise mit dem Allrad Reisemobil

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             Travel Report Zimbabwe

                             19.05. - 12.07.2016

   our Route



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Kazungula

Plumtree

3.362 km

at the border



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Part I >  Kazungula - Mount Darwin                    19.05. - 31.05.2016               1.371 km

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Along the Zambezi

Despite the rumors about the unfriendly policemen and the bad fraudulent methods in Zimbabwe, we are very surprised about the professional service and the friendliness we are handled on the border.

Our first destination in the country will be the little old town of Victoria Falls. When we visited the famous waterfalls on the Zambia side in November the Zambezi had very little water. But now the rainy season is over and we are eager to see them now. After a short sightseeing and buying of a sim card we visit the venerable Victoria Falls Hotel. It is a traditional colonial hotel that has retained its character and charm of its own in its 100 year history. We wander through the beautiful garden from where you have a fantastic view of the high fountains of the falls. This time there is too much water, some visitors tell us that they could not even recognize the escarpment during their visit of the falls.

Now, finally, enough of the tourist program, we continue driving into the country, following the Zambezi. On a good gravel road we drive along a ridge, through glades in the dense bush we catch a great view back to the spray of the waterfalls now and then and now we understand even more why the locals call the falls "Mosi-Oa-Tunya - the smoke that thunders".

The small plots are bounded by fences of thick beams and swept spotlessly. With an open hearty laugh people wave to us. This goes straight to one’s heart. The women wear the colorful sarongs. The babies are tied at the back, the goods they balance elegantly on the head. It is Africa again!

The detour to the little village Mlibizi, right by the river, has not been worthwhile. After all, we buy nice big Zambesi sea bass. Thus dinner is secured. Also in Binga, the nearest large town, we are not able to approach directly to the Kariba lake. So we stay up in the manicured grounds of Kulizwe hotels. We continue towards the east. Past the stilt houses of the Tonga, the same people who were relocated from the area of today's artificial lake.  ...read more...




                                                  
        

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Part II >  Mount Darwin - Mount Selinda                    31.05. - 21.06.2016               930 km

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The Eastern Highlands

On very lonely road we continue south, into proximity with the border with Mozambique. Slowly we approach the Eastern Highlands. On a good paved road we gradually "climb” upwards from Ruwangwa. Houses and small hamlets "stick" to the slopes and the many fields are arranged almost terraced. The scenery is terrific.

We visit the farm Nyamoro, where dairy products should be offered. Friendly we are greeted by Angeline. The Madame, as she calls her boss, is not here, so she takes care of the house and yard. She laughs and puts two plates of cheesecake, topped with warm fruit, in front of us on the table. Wow, how delicious! Plenty of jam jars stand in the small farm shop and there we cannot resist. It's really comfortable here and we like it right away. Spontaneously we ask if we could stay for one night. No problem, we may like to stay a few days, the Madame will not mind. Excellent!
Once it was a large farm, but now they have reduced. Previously they also have grown flowers and potatoes for export and from the nearby dam they sold fish. All this is no longer possible. From 150 workers, the workforce is now shrunk to 50th. Thus one focuses on cows, geese, sheep, chickens and dairy products. With the two naughty Labrador dogs we make long walks on the farm. The warmth and the openness of the people allow us to catch a little glimpse of farm life. Some tell us about their situation and how well everything was formerly and how expensive everything has become today. Wages are between US $ 70 and US $ 100 per month, and often this is only enough to survive. However, people are happy to have work at all, too many farms were expropriated. Too bad Madame Debbes is not here, we would have loved to personally talk with her and learn more. Angeline spoils us three days with freshly baked cheesecake, scones and fresh jam.

The small village of Troutbeck is at about 2000m, in good times, it once was a health resort for city dwellers. ...read more...





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Part III >  Mount Selinda - Plumtree                    21.06. - 12.07.2016               1.061 km

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In the South

Further along on the border with Mozambique, we now also leave the Middleveld down into the Lowveld, where we move only between 200 and 500m. The landscape is changing significantly, the lush greenery disappears it comes off with bush and slowly turns into savannah. The road is extremely bad. There it seems to be very troublesome, to wrest something fertile from the ground. The people are poor, easily recognized by their huts, their clothes and the tattered shoes. The first baobabs appear in the landscape and the temperatures go towards the 30 degree mark. In summer, we are told, it's going to be extremely hot, often up to 48 degrees in the shade.
It is interesting to observe how people work together. We have the impression that in addition to the traditional allocation of roles and a joint handling of for example the farm work exists, and especially the men do not hang around in a way as we have observed it in other countries. We see how men and women repair a very bad road section together by filling up holes, dragging stones, cutting off bushes. As we pass, they are clapping, waving and calling us joyfully. Elsewhere, people who have done similar blocked the road and asked for money.

At a smaller river crossing we must once again make "forestry work". A curve is too narrow for us, and so we need to eliminate vegetation of the embankment. A few men, actually on their way to the nearest pub, you can already smell their intention, help us with all vigor in bringing stones and to clear away the shrubs and trees we torn out with the truck.

Already when approaching the Gonarezhou National Park the brand new electrical fence where you have to drive along a very long time catches our eyes, until one finally comes to enter into the "Malilangwe Conservation" area. From here it is only about 35 km to the actual park entrance at Chipinda pools. A very friendly young lady asks in Harare for the free camps, of course, with our phone. The booking and the payment can then be done with her. Actually, we should have done a pre-reservation, as so often. ...read more...


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Conclusion                       54 days  - 3.362 km

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Long we have wondered whether we should ever go to Zimbabwe. Too many negative stories and rumors are circulating about the conditions in the country. We also have met some travelers who told us clearly: "Zimbabwe never again, too much corruption and rip off". Finally, we have yet decided on the country. Too curious we were on now to see for ourselves what had happened to this beautiful country after all the difficulties of the last two decades.

The first time we have visited the country in 1993, when it was originally the bread basket of Africa, especially in southern Africa. On our trips in 2002 and 2003, we could see the dispossessed and partially shattered farms, we have seen Black, although now living in the ruins of a once white farm, but did not have the money, to buy matches and a candle. Inflation was so incredibly high that the money was truly lying on the road. This culminated in early 2009 with unimaginable 230 million percent!! The supermarkets were empty and petrol or diesel, there was, if at all, only available on the black market. That was the result of President Mugabe's "land reform". Zimbabwe was no longer the bread basket it had become the poorhouse of Africa.

Now first things first: This time we have been travelling in the country for 56 days and did not regret it a single time. We never had the feeling that we were ripped off. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be bought without bargaining on the streets. In the supermarkets of the larger cities you get everything you need and more. In rural areas, however, only the bare necessities are found in stores.

Scenically Zimbabwe is fantastic and very versatile, and although the roads are very bad here and there, it is fun to drive through the country. The population is incredibly warm and friendly. It seems as the people were happy about our visit. Their hospitality is great, even though they are poor and often, except Sadza (maize porridge), have nothing to eat. When you get closer into conversation with the people, they rather act depressed, the lack of prospects let occasionally feel some resignation. No wonder at the current unemployment rate of 90% (!). But they are honest, hardworking and decent people. Whenever we had a problem on a route it took not long before someone came from somewhere who has then tackled without any ballyhoo. We have experienced people as attentive and very helpful.

To tour Zimbabwe in winter, was a good idea. The weather is good and it is not so hot, the air is clear and the sky bright blue, mostly anyway. We could go in all areas, whether mountains or Lowveld without having problems.

The statements about police checks, we can only contribute as follows: We primarily have driven gravel roads. During the seven weeks that we were in the country, we have seen a total of 31 police checks, usually at intersections of tarred roads. Friendly we were waved through 24 times and 5 times we were stopped and approached. Only 1 time the lights were controlled and 1 times the Carnet de Passage. The situations were always friendly and correct, so absolutely fine.

It is important to take enough US $ in the country. We had difficulties to draw money at ATMs and credit card payments are virtually impossible.

The last week we spent in the country riots and general strikes started. The population began to rebel against their government. It leads to the conclusion that sooner or later changes will happen. (Read more about this in the travelogue.)

For us there is not a reason not to drive in this country. People are so amazing they deserve, that they are visited. It gives them joy and also the confidence that they have not been forgotten "outside".

Wholeheartedly we wish these people that a change occurs very soon, and that this country will again became what it once was: The bread basket of Africa.

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PICTURE GALLERY

Zimbabwe -

>> Along the Zambezi

>> The Eastern Highlands

>> In the South

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continue reading here:


Botswana III

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Shumba - the Globetrotters - Travel around the world with an offroad motorhome


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