Bvumba Mountains: pronounced Vumba mountains.
|View from the campsite|
In Mutare I tried getting useful information for transport and accommodation to and and in the Bvumba Mountains. The Lonely Planet is definitely out of date on the Zim chapter, and the tourist information center wasn't much more up to date with its old phone numbers. Mostly there were old prices that are totally incorrect or falsely indicated in USD as they probably were Zim Dollars and the phone numbers were old land lines not so much in use anymore. Moreover, the landlines are of a poor quality.
Everybody use mobile phones nowadays. From the tourist information office I was sent to the National Parks Department office where they gave me following informations:
- the cheapest accommodation is camping
- getting there would be easy using the daily taxis
- there are combis driving to Nyanga NP
|my campsite with view|
All the while I considered my two jerseys and my light sleeping bag and thought this would end up with me freezing to death in some country in Africa.
After that I took a taxi back to the guesthouse and asked him if he could take me out to the place where the taxis leave for the Bvumba Mountains the following morning at 8. I prepared and left a bag with most of my technological stuff and a bag of laundry for storage at the guesthouse fearing the laptop might not survive a rainfall or a misty night in my “roofless” tent. The laundry was to be washed during my “holiday” in the mountains.
|Trying to get water boiling|
Some Samango monkeys were adding a touch of exotism to a place that otherwise looked like it could have been in Europe.
The whole thing reminded me slightly of “Into the wilds” when the guy went to Alaska on his own, although I was quite luckily very close to some infrastructure, and help, if needed. I wasn't equipped, physically and mentally, to go out on my own to some faraway wilds anyways.
I sat there for some time, reading a bit, and considering what to do next. I didn't sleep well the previous night and I felt really tired. A butterfly came to sit on my shin for a while during this time of contemplation. After some time I decided to see whether I was still able to build a fire. I didn't find the leaves that burn well straightaway so I used some of my whiskey, and managed to get a fire going. I used the leaves to relight the fire in the evening.
After that I took a nap with the fire safely burning in the fireplace. When I woke up I decided to go check out the botanical gardens and spent an hour walking around these English-style gardens. In the evening I restarted my fire and built myself a system to hang a can of beer with water over the fire. But it never boiled unless the can actually was on the embers. Having no cooking tools I made myself a wooden spoon and cooked half of a butternut by putting it naked in the embers. I ate some toasted bread with avocado and later a halfway cooked butternut.
I watched the stars and the lights of what I thought should be the Mozambican border town of Chimoyo. Having nothing else to do, I went to my tent, read a while and went to sleep.
I decided that spending another sleepless night in the mountains would be pointless as I wouldn't be fit to go hiking anyway. So I had Victor call the driver who brought me up the previous day, and he came a while later and even had to wait for me to finish packing. It naturally didn't please the other passengers too much. I really wasn't equipped to go camping in the cold like this.
I came back to the guesthouse in Mutare and felt even more tired than the previous day.
The following day, before going to the Bvumbas again with Claudia and Marco, I had managed to bring back the defect sleeping mat and the cheap Chinese tent to the shops and get full refunds. In a way, I used camping equipment for free for a night.