Zimbabwe. July / August 2012

Before joining Mac and Jenny on their yacht on Lake Kariba we visited Bulawayo and Hwange National Park.

 

1. Bulawayo.

We received a very friendly welcome from the owners and managers of Southern Comfort Lodge which is on the outskirts of Bulawayo and stayed there before and after our trip to Hwange. It has a large garden with a patio outside the bar/restaurant - and free wi-fi internet access.

 

 

We visited the Bulawayo Railway Museum which, thanks to volunteers, has managed to stay open - and only changes $1 for the entry fee.

There were several old steam engines that have been restored plus plenty of other engines and carriages. You're allowed to clamber up onto the footplate of the engines and into some of the carriages.

 

Most of the engines were huge - this one has its large water tank in front of the engine.

The private rail car of Cecil Rhodes is in the museum. Kevin is sitting at his dining table.

The Khami Ruins are 25km to the West of Bulawayo and are a World Heritage Site.

We were disappointed that the 'museum' had very little information and that there were no leaflets available about the site - fortunately we'd bought a small booklet at the Railway Museum which gave us a bit of information about the Ruins which date from after the Great Zimbabwe Ruins.

The dry stones walls at Khami were primarily used to build terraces and the houses at the top of the small hills were simple mud huts.

Several of the walls are decorated in a checkerboard design. The chief's house was built at the top of this hill.

 

2. Hwange National Park.

If you like watching elephants then Hwange (pronounced Wankie) National Park in the NW of Zimbabwe is the place to go - we must have seen al least a couple of hundred of them every day.

All the family groups that we saw had several youngsters with them.

Plenty of zebra, kudu and giraffe at the waterholes.

Roan antelope.

Sable antelope.

We watched this leopard for half and hour and then returned later in the day - it was still in the same spot!

Baboons, in their right place (ie not at campsites) do provide plenty of entertainment.

We often saw hundreds of guinea fowl at waterholes. They would make a long line and follow each other down to the water.

The view over the plains from Sinamatella camp was wonderful. We saw elephant, zebra, buffalo and impala every day.

On our way back to Main camp we passed this waterhole with a group of elephants.

 

3. Kariba

We spent 9 days with Mac and Jenny on their trimaran, TriCan, and had a great time - and I managed to pick up a few sailing tips from Mac. We spent most of the time visiting small bays along the southern shore of the Lake which is park of the Matusadona National Park. We saw plenty of elephants and hippos plus crocodiles, impala and a few zebra.

Mac and Jenny's trimaran.

Kevin, Mac and Jenny having breakfast.

Howard and Lizzie (we sailed with them most of the time) negotiating some of the 'sticks' (dead mopane trees) that litter the shores of the lake. They need particular care as some of them are just under the waterline and could do a lot of damage to the hull.

We would sometimes ground in shallow water. On this occasion we pulled Howard and Lizzie's boat out into the deeper water. If we got stuck Mac usually jumped in and gave us a shove - hoping that crocs and hippos weren't around.

Kevin and Mac are both practical guys and were often to be found tackling tasks on the boat. Mac has had it for 20 years and for the last year it's been back at his place in Kariba while he made some adaptations and improvements. This trip was its first back at Kariba so a few adjustments were sometimes needed.

Mac had heard that crayfish were to be found in the lake so he brought along some boxes to act as traps. We discovered that they could escape from the traps but did catch a few - and very tasty they were too.

Mac and Kevin making the crayfish traps.

One of the crayfish that we caught!

We often saw groups of hippos. They would keep and eye on us but at a distance.

One morning when I got up to take a photo of the sunrise I saw this elephant alongside Howard's yacht.

One of many groups of elephants that we saw along the shoreline.

Most days I took photos of some wonderful sunrises and sunsets.

1. Lowveld. Phongola, Mbuluzi, Arathusa, Klaserie and Dongola.

2. Zimbabwe - Bulawayo, Hwange National Park & Sailing on Lake Kariba.

3. Mozambique beaches. Pomene, Barra Lighthouse and Bilene.

Diary. (Word '97 document).

 

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Mac has fitted out the cabin with lots of cubby holes, it was amazing how much stuff we were able to put in here.