From Part 1,
we now head deeper into Zimbabwe.
16/1 It is not a bad dream; my
but is still wet, when I wake up. Gry, on the other
side, still enjoy her beauty-sleep. The rain is still
falling in the park, and we decline the offer from a
laughing ranger for yet another day. So far, the park
received 40 millimetres, and to judge from the dark
skies, way more will come.
We put the soaked mattress in the back of the car,
and find the sealed road. It is the narrow one, leading
back towards Chipinge. Here, the bank still keep a long
line of customers on the sidewalk. We need a bit of
grocery, but the three super markets have equal lines.
We don't need them that bad!
As we decent from 1000 to 500 meters, more and more
baobabs are found.
stop several times at these giants, the biggest five
metres in diameter, and other motives like the small
villages. As we drive further inland, the landscape gets more and more dry, and the space in-between the tress
change from herbs and grass to barren red or yellow
gravel. Here, like so many other places in Zimbabwe, the
old telephone lines are neatly put along the road.
The next landmark is the giant Birchenough Bridge. Next
to it, small shops are offering the usual Chinese goods.
Then small carts, drown by up to five donkeys dominate
the road. Ox-driven ones are slightly more scares.
Massive, flat granite hills, Sausage Trees, baobabs,
Tetris and rondawels would make such great
motives - if it wasn't for the greyish day with rain.
We stop in the big city of Masvingo, and find a charger
for the GPS, some fruits but the same long lines at the
supermarkets. A bit out of town, we almost have a Spar
grocery to our selves and we get the fridge filled.
Right before we head into Great
Zimbabwe, a line of small stands offer pottery and
soap-stone-carvings. It is made by the shop owners, and
most is great art and craftsmanship. We buy several
items, and photo the rest.
Great Zimbabwe is an area with granite stone buildings,
dating from 1000-the 15th century. The rain is now a light drizzle,
and we plan to see it in the morning. However, it is
only a bit passed three, and the
weather might be worse
We get a rondawel for $10 more than a camp-site, and I
don't have to sleep on a soaked mattress this night. I had
hoped for sunshine to dry it out, but no such luck.
After we have settled in, we head out in the area. The
rondawel is right in the middle of the area with ruins,
and we start with the Hill Complex.
Here are not much more than the walls, made of square
granite stones, but their perfect shape and smoothness
are impressive. They are built around the huge, round
boulders, and some are quite high. The rocks have been
loosened from the bedrock by fire, and everything is
build without tools.
Baboons are living in the area, but seem to be rather
afraid of people. We only meet a few locals, and it does
far from look like the tourist-trap, I had expected.
Among the walls, we find interesting plants and insects,
while some ravens are watching us. From the top of the
Hill Complex, there are a great view to the surrounding
valley and the Great Enclosure, although slightly hidden
in the mist. Giant millipedes are all over the place,
and we find some beautiful flowering orchids, living on
the lichen-covered rocks.
The Great Enclosure is quite alike, but still
impressive. So are the giant Aloes and Euphorbias,
growing within it. It is getting late - and a bit cold,
and we head back to find the restaurant. Despite we are
the only customers, it is open, and we get omelette and
chicken with fries. It might not be the greatest gourmet
art, but surely beat noodles. And for $12 with two soft
drinks, one can't expect more.
Back at the rondawel, we process photos, read about our
next adventures and write diary.
17/1 The drizzle continues,
we have seen enough of Greater Zimbabwe. The mattress is
dry - and wet again. The wind has picked up, and the
roof was not big enough to shelter it. On top of that,
the floor has gone muddy, and so has the mattress. We remove
the outer layer, and stuff it all in the back of the
While I fumble with the mattress, some cleaver monkeys raid
the back of the car. I see them run of with a bag of
We drive back through Masvingo, which is real
Sunday-closed. We continue driving around in a 1000 meters
height, but the landscape changes from time to time.
Some parts are lush green with plenty of grass. Other
areas are almost desert-like with barren gravel.
Bushland dominates in general, and small farm-rondawels
are fund most places.
noon, we make a break, and the drizzle has stopped.
We put the mattress on the roof, and the cover on some road
sign poles. Gry work on a letter, and I go for a long
stroll in the fields, which is bushland with cattle
grassing. I find some small Aloes and herbs I've never seen
before. The special treat is a tiny tortoise, less than
a year old.
A small creek is just a line of billabongs, but the
plants along it are still interesting. The mattress has dried some, and it is getting late, so we head on.
The GPS leads us into a grit of minor gravelroads, and
the surroundings are real nice. Small farms and nature
in a even mix. Gry discover something moving, and it
turns out to be a small chameleon,
the road. It looks rather skinny, but puff it self up,
when it feel threatened. As we eagerly photograph it,
the farmer turns out to see, what we are doing. He is in
his Sunday dress, and speaks real good English. Among
others, he tells us; this is the driest year he ever has
The next stop is at a river, running over the granite
bedrock. Nice views, tiny water lilies, succulents and
other interesting plants. In this area, tourists seem
to be absent. The locals don't really wave back and
smile as they use to, but they sure are nosy.
As we reach another sealed road, I spot some huge
flowers on some bulbs. They grow on the grassed-down
shoulder of the road, and look so artificial. Further
more, we only see these three plants.
At five, we reach Matobo National
Park, and as we hoped, they have campsites.
We head for one in the centre of the park, and it is a
long drive through awesome nature. Huge, red boulders
form hills, huge trees and bushland, open savannah and
the hope for wild animals.
At the campsite, we check the mattress. Gry prefer the
backseat - an option I don't have. Gry washes the mud of
the madras cover, and we find a place to dry it - if it
doesn't rain. While Gry cook dinner, I clean the fridge and
rebuild the tent. While we eat, four tiny antelopes
grass on the other end of the campsite.
A Dutch couple, working for a church, we met at the entrance turn up, and we
have company at a camp for the first time in a long
time. I get the hot water going, and while we prepare
for the night, a tiny owl lands in a tree above our
18/1 Waking up in Matopo
National Park is
something special. Here are open wooded
valleys, Bushmen paintings, burial site for kings and
Rhodes, battlefields, caves, 260 species of trees, more
raptors breed here than any other place on the globe, 24
orchids, Black and White Rhinos, Giant Rock Scorpion and
much, much more.
The first I see is a huge fishing eagle, circling the
campsite. Then a small buzzard lands right above my
head. Ravens fight in some other trees around us, and a
kite glides by. Numerous small birds tweet in the
bushes, and a couple of small hornbills passes bye.
The greyish weather has not cleared, but at least, it
keeps dry. The cover to the mattress is dry, but not the mattress. At
eight, we leave the camp, and do the big loop around the
national park. The characteristic round boulders in high
stacks are everywhere. The areas between them
bushes and new, lush grass. Here are only little
withered grass, and that should indicate a huge amount
of wildlife. The fresh grass, on the other hand makes it
difficult to locate them, and the dense bush does not
Right outside the camp, we see a big beetle and a wide
Aloe. Then we reach a dam and its pond. Gry spots a
cormorant, sitting on a rock , and I then spot the
crocodile, sneaking in on it. The sun breaks through,
but only in short terms.
Fig trees are clinching to the bare boulders, Acacias
flowering and giving the air a delightful scent. Huge
anthills, resembling the cooling towers of power-plants,
are build on the road. Where the wheel tracks are
flooded, a big foam-nest from a leaf frog is carefully
placed. We cross over to the wildlife park,
on the other
side of a public road.
In a slightly open part, we first
spot zebras, then giraffes. Too far away for my camera,
but Gry get some fine pictures, and we both a great
experience. The next pond we find houses four hippos,
and the one with a pro camera gets some good pictures.
Next stop is at a game-viewing-platform. No big game,
but the lizards and agama are beautiful. The female
lizard have a brownish body with bright yellow stripes.
The male has a blue head, green shoulders, yellow back
and red behind. The agama an orange head and a
The two rangers we passed on our way to the
platform, are waiting for us at the car. They have seen a
rhino recently, and want to show it to us. We are not
allowed to walk free in the park - probably to give the
animals some rest - but in company with armed rangers,
First, we see some zebras, then kudus, a pigeon with
green wings, a huge predator beetle, then some rhino dung
with six different dung beetles. The smallest ones are
only four millimetres and brown, some metallic green,
one is around five mm, metallic blue, one is twelve mm and other
green ones around the same size. 20 millimetres black
ones and greyish ones at 50 millimetres.
More zebras and a Blue Wildebeest run of, and after
some tracking, we find the rhinos. They have heard the
running, and are a bit scared. It is a female
with a cub, and Gry gets a pretty clear look through the
We don't see much wildlife, except birds on the next
stretch. Then at noon, we reach yet another lake, and
here are hippos.
The area is fantastic; blue lake, red boulders on the
other shore and green grass around. We start eating and
cooking tea and drying mattress. The hippos get their
photos taken, and a bit further down the beach, two
large crocodiles are sun basking. A family of geese
swim with some water hens and a white heron. Here are
even some clean toilets with Bakelite seats.
The rest of the park is quite alike,
with one fantastic stone-formation after another.
Flowering trees, eagles, kites and buzzards along with
many other small birds. We find some rather fresh
elephant droppings, teeming with different dung beetles.
A bit further down the road, a huge bone from an
elephant has been dropped at the road. Their footprints
are fresh, but we fail to find them.
A viewing platform reveals some huge antelopes and a
large group of Sansevierias along with a skink with blue
tail. At four, we have seen boulders enough, and drive
towards the second largest city in Zimbabwe; Bulawayo.
With a bit of help, we find a post office, an internet
cafe and two supermarkets. The first is a local one, and Gry has a hard time finding what she wants. The second
one is a Spar, and she finds all, except glue for the
cover of the tent. The car gets 93 litres of diesel, and
we head out to the outskirts for a campsite. Here are
some guests in huts, but we are alone in the campsite. I
only saw one white in the city, and that was in a
It is a rather chill evening, and after dinner, I retire
to the car, while Gry head for the tent.
19/1 The night is cold too,
but we are at 1400 meters height.
From hereon, it is
downhill all the way to Victoria Falls. It is a 300
kilometre drive to Hwange National Park, and to me, it
feels like one, straight line. Most is through low and
green forest at 10-1200 meters height. A short stretch
is more open, then it closes down again. We make a
single lunch break, but we don't see any cities along
the route. Big busses are passing us, some are real old,
but kept in pristine condition.
We reach the huge Hwange National Park after noon, and the last 30
kilometres are dotted with elephant dung. After we have
paid for car, camp and park, we drive straight into it.
Despite it is more than 150 kilometres wide, here are
only a few roads, and we start with the eastern part,
and can go through the rest tomorrow, on our way to
Right away, we see a group of Impalas, but then it is
thin - real thin regarding game. Here are not really any signs of
grassing animals, but after a couple of hours, we reach
a waterhole. Here are some giraffes.
We head on, but see no other life than birds. Then we
turn around, and soon after, we spot a group of lions
under a tree. The huge male is watching us, while the
lionesses just doze on. He soon loses interest, and drop
down in the long grass. I spot a leaf frog in the bushes
along the road, but we don't notice anything else, before
we get back to the giraffes.
We still have some afternoon left,
and go for one of the viewing platforms. On the way, we
see Impalas, Blue Wildebeests, Crown Cranes, horned
geese? and a lot of smaller birds. Then a flock of kites
draw our attention. Closer by, we see Golden Eagles,
small vultures, buzzards and the same pair of Crowned
Cranes. They are eating the swarming termites, and don't
seem to care about us at all.
Then me meet some giraffes, crossing the road. Further
in to the bushes, a few zebras fail to hide. I try to
capture a solitude Acacia tree with two vultures in, but
the sun has gone at the moment. What I first thought
was ibises, are something else. A bit ibis, a bit stork
and perhaps something else after all.
We reach the platform, and here are other tourists. Some
Americans with snacks and cans of beers in their hands
are noisy till Gry politely ask them to be quite, like the
sign says. It works, and we can hear the symphony of
birds and other animals in the area.
We are watching a small lake with hippos. A herd of
Kudus come to drink, and make some perfect motives on
the far side of the lake. The carcass of an elephant
has attracted vultures and two large crocodiles. A third is
sunbathing on the other side of the lake. A jackal
patrols the area for scraps, but keeps the distance from
It is getting late, and I had promised to show Gry not
only lions, but also an elephant. Despite the state of
the elephant never was in question, she denies to recognise the
dead one. Further more, we are supposed to leave the
wild area before half pass six.
As we drive out, we see so many quails, starlings,
horn bills, bee catchers, butcherbirds, doves, Wax-beaks,
guinea fouls and other unknown birds.
Then I spot the back of two elephants way out in the
bushes, and Gry manages to get a glimpse: Dinner is on
her. Back at camp, minutes before closing time, we get
the water heater fired up, do a bit of laundry and head
for the restaurant. Not sure how it happens, but we get
two vegetarian plates. After the meal, we get a glass of
vine and a cup of tea. Way too late, I start working on
photos and diary.
Considering the campsite is not fenced, and we saw lions
today, the loud sounds around the campsite is a bit
worrying. And as usual, we have it all to our selves.
Well, the jackals sound real loud, and we seen what
look like wallabies right around the car.
20/1 We wait at the gate at six, and head in for
the first viewing-platform at a pond. Some Kudus are
ready for photos right inside the gate. A group of
vultures sit in a dead tree and warm up. Then one
elephant rush over the narrow road to rejoin with its
ten family members at the their side. They are a bit
into the bushes, but we get to see them all, including
the little one.
Jackals enjoy the morning sun too, and even the horned
geese sit in a treetop and suck up the sun. Two of the
rare Painted Dogs come smooth jogging towards us on the
just turn into the bushes right in front of us.
The first platform is a bit disappointing, but still a
nice view. Right next to it is one of
skeletons of elephants we see here. Well, for each
newborn one, another must go on in the afterlife.
we head on thought the huge park -
on the longest
road, we see a Boa on the road. I get a picture, but
then it rushes off. An huge bull elephant stand 20 meters
into the bushes, Impalas are everywhere. Birds are
numerous along the road. Here are weavers, horn bills,
eagles, quails, starlings, bee eaters, butcherbirds,
doves, wax-beaks, kites, guinea fouls horned geese?,
vultures, a lot of smaller birds. and other unknown
birds, some with real long tails. Gry gets significantly
more photos than I, due to her 300mm lens.
The next viewing platform offer at close look at a group
of hippos and the expected crocodile. Warthogs pass
bye in safe distance. A pair of Crown Cranes are
romancing along the pond,
so are a pair of tiny Amarantes in a dead tree.
The road is scatted with elephant dung, and in huge
areas, the trees are pruned down to two meters. Then Gry
spots a huge bull, right next to her. We get a few
photos before it slowly disappears in the bushes. A
stupid turtle has set home in a pond in one of the wheel
but I spot it. And besides the ranger, we meet just
as we entered the park, we meet no cars the entire 200
kilometres cross the park.
We stop at a few other platforms, and chat with two
rangers, who appreciate our pineapple. Another stopped
us, asking for matches, and we are happy to provide him. They just walk around with their
rifles, protecting the wildlife.
After nine hours, we find the western exit, but 50
kilometres of gravel road among what appears as
lay ahead. Here are many signs of
elephants, but few of people.
We finally meet the sealed road, and head straight for
Victoria Falls city. It has a campsite right in centre
of town, and a restaurant next to it. We park the car,
and buy some dinner. Then we go for a small
walk in town, to find some postcards and perhaps some
After asking around, we find a shop which has a picture of the falls
- the first postcard we have managed to find in three
weeks. Gry work on them, while I sip tea and write diary
and the mosquitoes suck us dry. The falls can be heard
as a massive but distance thunder, and we are far from
the only tourists in this campsite.
The dinner was tasty, but
not big enough, and we suffer from huger - well, enough
to make it difficult to fall asleep. The music from the
bar and the drunken Dutch next to our car does not
21/1 The breakfast is closely monitored by a
monkey, but we don't let down our guards this time.
We are at the Victoria Fall National Park real early,
and pay the rather steep entrance fee of $60. Here are a
path right along the 1200 meter wide fall, and we start
at one end. It is so hard to describe the awesome sight.
It is called Smoke that Thunders, and it sure does. The
deep roar from the tons of water, falling 78 metres,
right in front of us. The massive clouds of fine
droplets, whirling up from the deep and the rainbows are
fantastic. We have Devil's Cataract all to our selves at
first, and remain at the first part for quite some time.
Then a few others guests turn up, and we head down to the next
Here, a new part reveals, with even more roar and smoke.
Well, actually heavy rain from time to time. The fall it
self disappears in clouds time after time, but the
bright rainbows remains, and so does the sound. The
vegetation is not as impressive as I had expected, from a
rainy area like this. Strangely enough, the orchids
seem to be absent.
A group of Japanese catch up, and we do our best to keep
The photographing is a bit hard, due to the massive and
suddenly rain. I wrench my T-shirt several times - don't
We reach the real wide Rainbow Fall, plunging 108
meters, and not silently. Deep down, the white Zambezi
River can be seen through the clouds, and above the
edge; the still water in the delta-like river mouth.
Looking through my pictures, I realise; I don't have a
single one without a rainbow.
After half a day, we are soaked, and
worse; so are our cameras. I insist on walking to the
first platform we skipped at first, and that was a great
idea. A look right down through the huge gorge and right
above Devil's Cataract, and up the river. It looks so
great, and I get 50 photos to prove it.
A tour through the souvenir area is rewarded with a few,
excellent pieces of art. Gry is ready for lunch, and I
find the Outlook Cafe enticement, and it does not
disappoint at all. A fantastic view over a horseshoe
bend of the Zambezi River, 100 metres down. And their
vegetarian dishes are good too.
On the way back to camp, I try to
the 5500 Mozambican Metical changed into US$, but the bank does
not do that. It is, after all a
country on the other end of Zimbabwe. Guess I will have
better luck - in Mozambique.
We pack the car, and head out to
Zambezi National Park - or where I though it was. We
only find a long road and a great fruit market. It turns out, it was further out on the road our camp was at. At
least, it was only a ten kilometre detour, and we enter
the park half past one.
It is mainly a gravel road, following the Zambezi River
50 kilometres. My guide claims, it is the most beautiful
park of Zimbabwe, but the beginning disappoints. It is
just the elephant pruned bushes and trees we have seen
quite a lot of. Then the first trail leads right down to
the river, and that is a sight! Small, green islands,
huge trees, hippos, white water in some places and much
We see some gazelles and warthogs, but despite the
elephant destructions, they are hiding. A few zebras
seem more curious than frighten, and the Waterbucks
don't mind our presence. Baboons are everywhere, but
most are frightened.
A few big baobabs are so scared from elephant's tusks,
but seem to survive. We visit the river at many places,
but then we focus on the game. That pays of: Elephants
are here, and we see several, heading just a bit further
into the bushes. Like every where else, Gry gets so many
pictures with her 300 mm. I have an idea of, I might cut
the elephants of at the next bend of the road, and I'm right. We
see two rather
close, but then the sound of one more,
right behind us, make me look - and hit the gas. It is a
big male with attitude, making a skin-attack at the car,
five metres back of it. It would have made a brilliant
motive, but I prioritise getting away a bit higher.
Apparently, the male is visiting a grout of females, and
every one is on their toes. We get around them, and get
some great views of them mud-bathing. Then he seems to
be displeased with our present again, and we try to
sneak off. Unfortunately, another male with attitude is
heading our way on the same trail, and we are stuck. At
first, he pretends we are not there, but then he focus on
us, and I drive out into the low bushes to avoid a
meeting. It works, but Gry doesn't feel like watching the
males meet - especially not with us in the middle.
It is getting late, and my hopes for
seeing the Cape Buffalos fades with the sun. Half way
into the park, we turn around, and drive relatively
slowly out. A bit anxious where we meet the elephants,
but they have moved on. We get close to some warthogs,
quails, zebras and Waterbucks. Then, in-between the two
gates, the back of a cow looks a bit strange, and it
turns out to be one of a herd of Cape Buffalos. The
light is not good, but I get to see them!
Back in town, we drive to the fall, to get another view
of the entire gorge from the end. Unfortunately, the $60
entrance was a one-time pass.
Filling the car, paying with Visa can't be done, and
their air-pump has no meter. Same at the two other
stations we tried yesterday. We head back to the same
noisy camp, but park somewhere else. I find our own
pump, fitted with a meter, and fill the tires. Then we head towards the restaurant,
where we, after a good meal are treated with local
dancing and singing.
I remain to work, feeding the mosquitoes and sip tea.
The 300+ photos of the day are roughly sorted. I am
running out of battery- and blood, and retire to the
car. Here, the temperature raises to beyond my comfort,
and when I open the door, 50 mosquitoes rush into the party.
I guess I can work in the morning.
22/1 We have a real quiet
night this time, and while Gry
some great photos of the camp's monkeys, I fail to
connect to the internet. A few loops in the tiny town of
Victoria Falls gives 25 litres of water and some other
Then we head for the Kazungula/Kasane border, only 75
kilometres away on a good road. We are stopped at a
police checkpoint, and they want to see the lights
working, and ask for the second hazard triangle - which
we actually have. Others
have asked to see drivers license and fire extinguisher.
Then a truck is stopped, and they loose interest in out
At the Zimbabwe border, the process is real fast: A
quick glance in the passport and a stamp. Somehow, I had
expected a ferry to
Botswana, but not even a bridge.
Zimbabwe is a fantastic country
with loads of wildlife and a real friendly population.
Things are effective and correct, and it is easy to
guide your self on an adventure. We have driven 2500
kilometres in 13 days, and the entire tour (in
combination with other countries) has cost me 12.000 DKK/€1600
- worth every cent. I have only taken 1750 photos, but
with a lens as Gry's 300 mm, it would have been way
1/6 of flight
12 day 4x4