Mutare was the place where our trio was to part. Heidi and Jason continued into Mozambique and Gilles drove straight down to Johannesburg / South Africa to fly home. Somebody has to work… But first we had to get to Mutare. From Gonarezhou National Park we followed the road running parallel to a mountain range forming the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Here Zimbabwe seemed the most traditional and the most scenic. The hilly scenery was a pleasant change to the large stretches of flat countryside in other parts of the country. But the reason why Gilles did those extra miles driving further north was to bring Jason and Heidi as close to the border as possible. And that was Mutare.
And it happened on this very last leg of our trip, we had a minor accident. Sugar cane falling from a passing truck smashed our windshield. This small incident put us in contact with rural police in Zimbabwe and all we can say is respect.
Mutare took us by surprise: a lively city with lots of nice looking shops, banks and restaurants. Around Mutare it is mining country, it even experienced a diamond rush a few years ago. The prosperity that came along it shows. The city even invested in large palm trees embellishing the widest boulevard running through town. How these tropical plants deal with the cold, we don’t know.
Our very last night in Zimbabwe we spent at the Backpacker Hostel of Ann Bruce, a charismatic and extremely funny lady, born in Bulawayo about sixty years ago, where her father was a police officer. She does have her opinions. Glued to her lips we soaked up stories of times long gone by and what she would do differently now, if anybody asked her. Particular frustrating for her is the absence of tourists, but she keeps her place busy with language students from Mozambique attending English courses in Mutare: Beira is only a five hour drive and Chimoio just down the road, so there is a steady stream.