Thursday, 11 April 2013

3 Swiss in the Bvumba Mountains

Burma Valley
In the morning we prepared toasts and got some tea from the guesthouse and looked sadly at the heavy clouds that had built up during the night. While we ate our breakfast the guys came to bring in the Toyota Sprinter that was to be ours for 3 days. The owner wrote an affidavits with my name on it before giving us the keys. Although the car wasn't new, it was in a pretty good shape (for African standards anyway). The tires were pretty worn out though.

Around 9 we left for the Bvumba Mountains and drove on the scenic road that goes into the Burma Valley. This promptly reminded me of Midnight Oil's song “Mountains of Burma”. We got quite far until we reached the Essex road where the potholes got worse and where suddenly, the tar disappeared and there was only a dirt road left. The state of the road was slippery in the light drizzle and it went quite some way down. We decided it wasn't worse to go and stick the car somewhere into a hole where there is no mobile reception. So we turned back and drove all the way back to the junction to the road that leads to the National Park. There we went up that road and followed it until we reached Tony's Coffee House.

Finish the pic, I want to get to that CAAAKE!
By that time we were hungry and eager to go and taste Tony's famous cakes. We walked down from the parking spot and looked at a house with a nice view that looked very English. Inside it looked even more English in so far as it was like a tea house. We sat down and a waiter brought us the menu. The prices were exorbitant: about USD 11 for a piece of cake, USD 6 for a tea or coffee, and so on. We decided to get a cake anyway and got some explanation from the waiter. Claudia and me ordered the Chocolate Whiskey cake, or the Solid Chocolate. Marco ordered the special that was a chocolate, ginger and pear cake. Marco managed to finish his and his girlfriend's cake and I barely managed to finish mine, and this only after about an hour. The cakes were excellent, but really heavy. The hot chocolate with ice cream on top of that would have been suicide.

The whiskey chocolate solid cake
After that we drove up to the Leopard Rock Hotel and took a few pictures of the view, its golf course and the hotel itself. When we were done, we tried getting back to Mutare by the Bvumba Road that rejoins the Essex Road. It started really well, but after a while there were some potholes, and a while later still, more potholes. Then the road got narrower, and suddenly the potholes were so numerous and deep that we had to drive at a very slow pace. And then the tar was replaced by dirt and the wet road seemed really slippery and unsuitable for a car like ours. So we turned around and drove around all the potholes again on the way up, while worrying that the fuel we put in in the morning would be enough. But we managed to get back to the main road and drove safely to Mutare.

Beer and police, the best combination :)
ZRP: Zimbabwe Republic Police
In the Lonely Planet we found a small chapter about Cecil Kop Nature Reserve where they apparently fed the animals for people to watch at around 4pm. So we decided to go have a look. When we got there the officer of the park told us there wasn't much to see and that the animals were quite far away and that there was definitely no feeding going on. So we left again, and went for some shopping.
We bought some meat, vegetables and beers and went back to the guesthouse where we had our beers and prepared another fine meal.
Map of the aera (red: bad state; green: good or ok)