Tuesday 30 April 2013

Mosi oa Tunya with the Wild Bunch

Before walking to the falls
The following day I didn't see Eve and Andrea until evening because they left quite early. I started the day with laundry and then had some toasts with honey and tea for breakfast. I spent most of the day at the backpackers taking care of the laundry, lounging by the pool reading and playing ball with the English people who had come along for the football game the previous day. They even had me play some cricket for 5 minutes in the small compound. Around six thirty in the evening I saw Mitra, Eve and Andrea who were back from their Chobe day trip. They saw a lot of elephants, a lion, hippos, crocs, a rhino or two (if I remember well) and so on. We then all went to Cafe Zambezi for dinner. It's not the cheapest place, but they usually play salsa music and have good food. They have a mix of local and Caribbean dishes interspersed with classic western culture meals. They have salsa classes there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in which Torsten takes part. When we got back to the backpackers our now almost “traditional” cuddling session followed. Mitra took part as well and we chatted for quite a while. The girls were planning to go to the falls the next day, and invited Mitra and me to join them.

Sunday 28 April 2013

A Wallet as Big as Texas

Wall painting by Zig Zag
Coming “home” from the football game with the Lubasi orphanage kids, I planned to give my clothes away for laundry. So I put everything from my pant pockets onto the bed and covered it with my sleeping bag so I could quickly change clothes and give the laundry bag to the lady who would take care of it. I went to the lady, she weighed the bag and said it was KR 25 per kilogram. Do the math for 3.5 kgs. Instead of giving her the laundry, she sold me a washing paste for KR 5 (about USD 1). I took it and went back to the dorm to get the KR 5. Only, my wallet wasn't on the bed. I wildly searched on the bed, in the sleeping bag, under the pillow, around the bed, on the shelf next to the bed, in the pants in the laundry bag, in the bag itself, in the backpacks, in short, everywhere. I couldn't find it. When I left it on the bed, I didn't notice anyone in the dorm. Now there were two girls chatting on a bed. After I rummaged through my stuff a couple of times, ran erratically in and out and around the dorm and said “shit” a couple of times, they asked me if everything was alright. I told them I lost my wallet, and that it probably had been stolen. What was weird though, was that my passport, my phone and other things were still under the sleeping bag on the bed.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Livingstone, Zambia

After 3 nights of chilling out, chatting to people, going out and generally not doing much in Lusaka, I took a bus to Livingstone. There I would be meeting Torsten whom I met in Tofo in January. He dove with us a couple of times and he came to my snorkel test. Apparently we met another fellow, Matt, but only after I had emptied my snorkel. I don't remember anything from after that point.

Road gang
I asked Shawn, the manager at Kalulu (which means rabbit in the local language) about the buses to Livingstone, and he told me I had to book. New information, as the previous I got, was that I could just show up and buy a ticket. He tried to call one company which they always use, but they didn't answer. As it was getting late I decided to go the following day. Shawn told me he would call them again and book for me later in the day.

Friday 19 April 2013

Zim Zam Zoum

In the Intercape luxury coach from Harare to Lusaka I met Sam the tour guide who was going to get a six month contract for walking safaris somewhere in Zambia, Resh* the Indian guy working for an international company and Thomas* the German guy working for the same international company for about 6 months. Thomas was still in his studies as a lawyer, and was doing a practical for the time being. It was a night bus leaving around 10pm so we didn't talk much then. When we got to the border around 4 am, we had, once again, to wait for the post to open at 6. I barely slept on the bus, and I couldn't sleep while waiting at the post. Inside was uncomfortable and outside was a bit cold.

Just before 6 Sam came to me and told me they sold coffee at the bar at the gates, so we went and I bought a cup of tea. I quickly swallowed half of the scalding hot cup of tea because the coach was ready to drive into the border aera.

Thursday 18 April 2013


Zimbabwe national flag
With the last three weeks of traveling Zimbabwe still fresh in my mind, with names like Innocent, Privilege, Blessing, Pain, Talkmore and so on in my mind, with things seen, read and experienced, I can say full of emotions, that I still don't know what's happening around me. How did these people get by when a monthly salary couldn't buy a loaf of bread ? How did they keep their optimism, their friendliness and happiness ? Can you imagine Switzerland, or any European country, experiencing an exponential inflation like they've had here in Zimbabwe ? It might happen you say ? I don't think so, because we're “first world” countries where any other big power will step in and help us out of the worst. Whereas Zimbabwe didn't have anything valuable for the big powers to step in for. HIV is still a big problem in Zimbabwe, but people tend not to speak about it too much, or at least not in public. You can even get circumcised against HIV. If you think about it, it's not worse than South African President Jacob Zuma saying on national news that he took a shower after having sex with young girls to prevent himself from getting AIDS. Where is this going you say ? Why is this post called “Harare” you ask me? I don't know, I just wanted to summarize briefly before going away out of the country.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Chinhoyi Caves

Sleeping Pool Cave
Finally, after all this time in Zimbabwe, I got to visit these famous caves I had heard are beautiful. Initially, I wanted to go straight from Vic Falls to Harare, but you have to go over Bulawayo, so I took the train back to Bulawayo. In Bulawayo someone gave me the incentive to first visit Great Zimbabwe and the Eastern Highlands, so that's what I did. And then I went to Harare, I arranged my visa for Malawi, and the day after, went to visit the caves.

It's one and a half hours drive northwest from Harare by minibus taxi. I woke up at 6, and was at the road just before 7. I chose to go in a bigger van (like those airport shuttles) and was seated in the front seat between the driver and another passenger. The uncomfortable part was only that I had to move away a bit for the driver to be able to change gear. I got to Chinhoyi around 9.30 and stayed around there for about an hour. I waited to see if the sun would shine more into the cave and reach the water, but the cave isn't orientated that way.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Alpine Lowe Travel Trekker II 70

In July 2012 I toured all the sports and bag shops I could find that would have trekking backpacks. I was looking for an improvement on my old backpack which is still in really good condition, but unfortunately not spacious enough. It's other disadvantage is that the bag has one opening on top and one in the bottom. I was looking for a more modern view with mid or side opening.

Alpine Lowe made the Travel Trekker II which opens like a suitcase. You get instant access to the whole length of the bag. Although you still have to dig underneath your stuff for access to the bottom, at least the bottom is not as deep down as in a traditional backpack.

Friday 12 April 2013

3 Swiss in Nyanga

Connemara lakes and World's View

I slept quite early this night, and woke up just before seven. I had plenty of time so I watched an episode of Southpark before going out to breakfast at 8. I had packed my bags the previous night. Watching out of the window, I saw the weather hadn't improved from the previous day, and it seemed to be quite fresh. Nevertheless, I decided to be optimist and put on a short. At 8 I went out to the dining room to join Claudia and Marco for breakfast. They had already made tea and I brought out and prepared the toasts. Once we had finished, we finished packing, brushed our teeth and left northwards in direction of Nyanga.

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.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

3 Swiss in Zimbabwe - Intro

I came back to Mutare and Homestead Guesthouse from my failed attempt at camping in the Bvumba Mountains when I met a couple of tourists in the lounge of the guesthouse. After hearing them talk a little bit I felt they were probably Swiss Germans or Germans. Asking them confirmed my “suspicion” of them being Swiss Germans from around St. Gallen. We got along quite well and started talking about our different traveling. After a while we finally exchanged our names anyhow. We were so preoccupied by other more important things that we forgot about the simple courtesy of asking for and telling names.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Saturday 6 April 2013

Expedition Great Zimbabwe

Hill complex

Before my second night at Lily's place in Bulawayo I visited Hillside Dams with Matthew and went to town for him to catch his bus to Johannesburg. I walked around with Kenneth, one of Lily's 6 kids, inquiring in every coach office to see if they any of them went to Masvingo. But the answer was always negative. Kenneth showed me a small bus, or minibus station, where I could catch a ride to Masvingo on the way to Matthew's pickup point in town. I went to have a look there and learned that they go to Masvingo and that it would cost me USD 10 without any extra charges for my big luggage.
Coming back to Lily's later that day, after walking the whole way, I told Margaret about my new plans for Masvingo (instead of Harare). She was surprised I took her advice to go to Masvingo first, and from there to Mutare or Harare. She told Lily, her mother, and when she came back she told me I should leave quite early for Masvingo, so I could go to Great Zimbabwe the same day. I would have to bring my own food as camping and dorm is self-catering only.

Thursday 4 April 2013

By train from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo

train station Vic Falls

On my last day in Victoria Falls, I went to the train station in the morning. It wasn't early, around 10 maybe. I wanted to buy a first class ticket to Bulawayo, and ended up with a second class ticket. My mistake for being lazy. But for my defense, I had to say goodbye to Claire whom I hung out with for a few days. She flew out to Windhoek (instead of taking the bus). So I had my second class ticket which cost me USD 10 instead of the USD 12 for the first class.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Mosi oa Tunya – The Smoke which Thunders

Zimbabwe, 30 Oct. 2010 - 1st April 2013

Here I was again, at the glorious Victoria Falls on Zimbabwe-Zambia border. I didn't even go to the Zambian side because I didn't want to pay a Zim visa again.

Here a few pictures comparing my two visits, one end of October in 2010 and the one now beginning of April 2013.

Oct/Nov 2010