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Unspectacular Harare

Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa

Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa

Looking back, we still find only one reason for staying in Harare: to break up a trip. A good place to do so is at “It’s A Small World” guesthouse. The lovely garden with pool and nicely decorated rooms are truly inviting, all for 40 USD a double. Only the kitchen could need some improvement, but no worries. The mall down the road features a cool café, where mainly white and Indian business people sip their café latte and some restaurants. The Bon Marché supermarket fits right in. Even though it was too pricey to shop there, it was great for looking. Continue Reading →

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Chinhoyi – Best Worms Ever

In Chinhoyi...Suddenly signs popped up along the road claiming Chinhoyi was the city of the “best worms”. We were baffled. Was this a local delicacy? All the information we could find in our Bradt Guide was that Chinhoyi had spectacular limestone caves with large blue underground pools, a cave divers’ paradise. Curious, we decided to give it a shot and stay for the night. Besides we had left Mana Pools National Park only early afternoon and could not make it into Harare before night fell. Continue Reading →

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Painted Dogs: An Unexpected Encounter

A group of 13 of the very rare Painted Dogs or African Wild Dogs (Lycaon Pictus) after an Impala (Aepyceros Melampus) Kill, Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

A group of 13 of the very rare Painted Dogs or African Wild Dogs (Lycaon Pictus) after an Impala (Aepyceros Melampus) Kill, Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

Death is never far in the wilderness. After decaying hippos, crocs killing crocs and the discovery of all kinds of skeletons, the most fascinating incident was yet to come. It happened on our last morning walk, when Gus was trying to find a big cat, as he put it. All of a sudden a large pack of funny looking creatures raced by us, very close. Some even sped towards us, stopped short as if confused and then followed the pack. “Painted dogs!” Gus hissed, “They are extremely rare. Let’s follow them, they are hunting.” Continue Reading →

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Death in the Velt

Lappet-Faced Vulture or Nubian Vulture (Torgos Tracheliotos), Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

Lappet-Faced Vulture or Nubian Vulture (Torgos Tracheliotos), Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

The stench we noticed first, whiffing across the water! Gus immediately knew what it was, a decaying carcass. A few more strokes with our paddles and we could see the corpus delicti, a dead hippo lying on a small island. A vulture had already landed on its bloated body. Others were circling above. Next was the skeleton of a hippo, on one of our morning walks we stumbled across it in a dried up pen. Diligently we studied the enormous bones and how they were spread around the dried up water hole, probably by those in the food chain who did the cleaning job. Continue Reading →

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Mana Pools – Hippo Attack

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus Amphibious), Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus Amphibious), Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

Of course we remembered what Gus had said during the briefing, “There are times where you need to concentrate on other things than taking a photo.” When we approached a narrow passage littered with hippos, we sensed that this might be such a moment. Gus was knocking the paddle against the canoe to make them move, to no avail. We sensed it was not the usually “let’s pass a bunch of hippos” situation.

Continue Reading →

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Mana Pools – Canoeing the Zambezi River

Zimbabwe-164Should anybody ask us what we liked best about this entire trip, the answer is very simple: the four days canoeing on the Zambezi River, camping on its bank and being in the midst of all this wildlife. And let’s not forget, listening to Gus’ exciting stories, a resume of 20 years of experience in national parks all over southern Africa. Continue Reading →

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Crossing Lake Kariba

Baobab Tree, near Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

Baobab Tree, near Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

Gliding through the calm waters of Lake Kariba on the comfortable Sea Lion is a must-do when travelling Zimbabwe. Starting in Mlibizi, the boat sails north, close to the shore and later past islands. Hard to believe that those were once small hills… Continue Reading →

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Empty Shelves in Mlibizi

Road crossing Matopos or Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

We spotted the supermarket right away when we pulled into Mlibizi… Not that there are many other buildings! Eager to buy supplies for dinner we found mainly empty shelves. This is what it must have been like until 2009. All that was available was cleaning material, but hardly any food. We grabbed the last 3 beer bottles, proudly walking away with our little prey. Even the ladies at the little market nearby had nothing to sell but dried fish and cabbage. Nevertheless, they had an advice: “Ask the lady at Mlibizi Resort”. True enough, the manager’s wife provided us with the ingredients for our spaghetti sauce, all for free. She also explained the empty shelves: once goods are available, people simply buy them and store them. Continue Reading →

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Business Around the Falls

Helicopter Flight over Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa

Helicopter Flight over Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa

A mind-boggling array of adventure activities has developed around Victoria Falls, like Abseiling, Flying Fox, Gorge Swing, the most popular being Whitewater Rafting and Bungee Jumping.

In December 2011, an Australian girl survived a plunge from the platform on the bridge although the rope tore. Head first, she plummeted into the Zambezi River rushing below. With her feet still tied together, she miraculously was able to pull herself to safety onto the rocks with only a few bruises… Continue Reading →

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Mosi Oa Tunya – The Smoke That Thunders

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa

“Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”, Livingstone is quoted saying when he first set eye on what the local Makololo people called “The Smoke That Thunders”. Could he really guess in 1855 that one day thundering helicopters would take tourists high up in the sky to get that angel’s view? Livingstone, who was taken there in a dugout canoe, was lucky to arrive in November. During peak flow from March to May, the falls are completely obscured by the massive spray. Continue Reading →

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