Trip Start Jul 13, 2005
Trip End Aug 19, 2005

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Flag of Zimbabwe  ,
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Eventually got to visit Uncle Colin (my Father's younger brother), Auntie Chanda and co in Zimbabwe. It was fantastic!

After the challenge of how to spend a whole day in Jo'burg we got on the night 'Greyhound' coach to Harare. The 16hr ride was pretty painless as we were still shattered from safari and just slept all the way. Immigration was entertaining. I was quite worried about getting the Zimbabwean visa but it was the most unofficial and run down immigration ever! Got a fat jolly official who seemed quite happy to see us, shuffling through his tracing paper files and popping our 70 USD each into his front pocket! No computers or interrogation. Next we moved onto customs where Rebecca was given a marriage proposal by the cheeky customs officials. Zimbabwean immigration is definitely nothing to stress about! The road in Zimbabwe was gorgeous. Mountains, little straw hut villages, donkies, goats and lots of people to watch out the window. On arriving into Harare it was exactly how I'd imagined it to be. After Jo'burg it was nice to see a city with some people and movement.

We couldn't get over how beautiful Uncle Colin and Auntie Chanda's house is. Got to meet Mwunsa and Jonah and all the house staff. Really warm and happy feeling around there. Can definitely see why they don't like going back to Britain!!

After 1 night we headed straight to Zambia for our chance to see The Falls. It was decided that the Zambian side would be easier, mainly because there wasn't enough petrol to get to the Zimbabwean side. Infact we were extremely fortunate to have any petrol at all as Zimbabwe is at a bit of a standstill petrol crisis. People queuing and queuing at the petrol stations for days on end in the vague hope that some petrol may arrive at some point. All the little stalls of flowers, veg, crafts etc have gone, taking away peoples' livelihoods. Lots of shops have just had to close. All prices have inflated tenfold, making it impossible for most people to afford basic things. The Zim dollar has become worthless, can get 8 times as many on the black market than at the bank. Simply, it's all a big mess and a serious manmade disaster. I find it very difficult to get my head around it as it's not for greed, there's no money to be gained from it, it just seems to be plain evil and love of power, even to own people not enemies. MADNESS All the road to the Zambian border (a v.long straight and boring road) everything was dead. Where there had been farms everything was now deserted and left to die. The only activity we would see were people hitching at the side of the road, desperately trying to get to work and of course the odd wandering goat and cow.

However, despite Zimbabwe's tragic state I definitely didn't feel any strong atmosphere of depression, it was by no means a miserable place to be. The people are just fantastic, warm, patient and full of hope.
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