Zimbabwe so far (minus photo's)

Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
Trip End Feb 28, 2007

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Zimbabwe, 3 weeks in.

Apologies in advance for the lack of photo's with this entry guys. Smart alec here got the latst greatest camera before i went away and so far no computer has been able to recognise the software edition. Perfect.

Spent first week in Zimbabwe camping out in Mana Pools on Safari in an old refugee tent. The key characteristics of said tent being its ability to retain the heat at night and stop all semblences of a breeze from getting in. Perfect for 38 degree heat really. The park was incredible. Very hot and no rain yet so all the game came down to the river. This is as far as i know the only Game Park you can walk and camp out with the animals in. Not sure who was more scared. Amazing to get so close to so much game (Impala, Eland, Kudu, Warthogs, Elephants, Bufalo, Hyena, Crocodiles and Hippo's).

Had Elephants, Hippo's an Buffalo walking right past the tent in camp. Faintly disturbing when you realise they might trip over the guy ropes on the tent, get a bit pissed off and decide to trample us out of spite. Caught myself chasing hyena's away from the tent at night armed with nothing but a torch. It seemed like a sensible thing to do until sense prevailed about 50 metres from the tent and i realised that a) there were more of them than me, and b) i must seen fairly tasty and not that hard to catch.

Slept with Axe, Panga and a Lump Hammer for protection, not that it would have been much kop against a pissedd off elephant. Turned out to give no peace of mind whatsoever as Jono, who i am camping with, is a little fuzzy when first woken and was about to smack me with the hammer when he mistook me for a hyena one night. Sure, i might smell that bad after a diet of campfire food but that is no excuse.

Flew up to Victoria Falls for a week to have a go at various adrenalin pumping activities. Bungee jumped from the bridge (111m) on the first day which looked no problem until i was sitting there getting tied in and peered through the grating in the floor of the platform. The jump was mildly terrifying and made worse by the knowledge that a) this bridge was only designed to last 100 years, which was up a couple of years ago, and b) i am not exactly silf like and surely these things have a weight limit. Managed to look vaguely composed as i hurled myself off (pictures to follow). Really enjoyed the spinning round and yoyoing at the end of the jump.

Spent a day white water rafting in Grade 5 rapids which, for the uninitiated, is code for blody hairy. Brilliant day out. Got stuck in a whirlpool at rapid 6 and we upened the raft on rapid 18, aptly named oblivion. Thought we had drowned one of the girls when she fell out at 'devils toilet bowl' and did not surface for a good 15 seconds. The guide very helpfully pointed out the crocodiles as we went down !

Wasn't sure i erally enjoyed the bungee so decided to do a gorge jump later in the week. 75 foot straight drop on semi static climbing ropes (which means not much elastic bounce if any) and then flung 200m out into the gorge. More hardcore than bungee by far. Some New York lady i met trumped me by doing a hand stand off the platform, which left me feeling a bit of a girls blouse. Reached speeds of 120km/hr on the zip slide across the gorge. Felt a bit wimpy after the Bungee and Gorge Jump.

Finished off with a wuick parasail over the upper section of the Zambezi above the falls. Very genteel way to sight see. Not sure the guys driving the boat were that accomplished as i nearly took a bath on a couple of occassions. Either that or they were real comedians. Ha bloody Ha.

After a couple of days recovering in Harare with friends, i set off with Jono to go walking in the Eastern HIghlands for a few days, near Chimanimani. Was genuinely harbourng under the illusion that i was fit until we hiked a couple of hours up near bleeding vertical rocks to the hut that would be our base for the next couple of nights. I didn't think it possible to curse so much while struggling to breathe. The highlands were beautiful though and we had an idylic few days hiking around. Lots of evidence of the illegal gold miners churning up the river banks while we were trekking. Took a butchers at the Mozambique side while we were there but decided against exploring it in more detail in case we blew ourselves up on land mines (well, if i am honest, we were knackered and the thought of walking down only to have to walk back up again filled me with dread). Stopped of and swam in an amazing little waterfall on the way back. Jono managed to spray himself with Pilchards during lunch (which smelt and tasted disturbingly similar to my sweaty socks) as for some bizarre reason they pressurise the tin when they seal it. Lovely sight watching him scrape pilchard off his leg with a piece fo bread and eat it ! Judging by the amount the Park Warden's wife laughed at my base layers (read thermal undies) i sense they are not the sartorial splendour i had envisaged they would be.

Back in Harare now ahead of setting off for Mozambique at the weekend. Not much to report about Harare really. Met some wonderful people through Jono and his wife, spent a disturbing lunchtime being eavesdropped on by the secret police, drank a lot of beer.
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