Crossing the border to overland Zimbabwe. Completely easy and uncomplicated. Visa fee was 30 USD per Person, Car insurance 55 USD. We had to show Tara’s vaccination certificate. Finished. Originally Zimbabwe was not planned at all, but as we changed our plans and extended our journey nothing could stop us from visiting Zimbabwe.
We check in in Shoestrings Backpackers in a town called Vic Falls and put up our tent.
We plan to stay in Shoestrings for 2 weeks as we need to do some work to be able to deliver to a broadcaster. We organized an internet stick, a modem that looks like a USB Stick and a SIM card.
Made a walk through the city and compered the supermarkets available. Their is even a Spar market but Hypermarket is cheaper. Do some shopping and return to the campsite. At the bar there is a lot folks sitting and drinking, some bands play and everybody has fun. We are tired and go in our tent, Tara prefers to sleep in the Land Rover as the tent she does not like.
Internet access is rather expensive. Within three days we have used up 54 USD for internet. During the night it is already cold, as in May the cooler season starts here. So we delivered the stuff for the Americans and continued with our new internet Business. Alexandra already sold 47 images this month which shows it is possible to earn a living with stock images.
Preparation for Hwange National Park 23.05.2012
We visited the Vet in Vic Falls because Tara needed her yearly 5 in 1 vaccination, which has to be documented in her travel papers.
We bought a jerry can which we need to overland Zimbabwe because petrol is not always available and headed for Hwange National Park.
Hwange National Park
On the way there we had to pay toll and visited a Land Rover Repair guy which unfortunetaly could not help us. So we checked in at Ivory Lodge, a beautifully located Lodge outside the National Park at a huge water hole which is lit during night and a nice hide away.
When we arrived there we were lucky. Around 80 elephants were present at the waterhole in the late afternoon soon. Simply amazing.
So we set up camp and had some dinner. When it got dark we walked to the hide. Just 3 meter in front of us the elephants were digging in the sand for the minerals. You could eben hear them breathing.
Next morgen we could see them fighting as there was mating season. The others enjoyed a bath and the baby elephants were playing with each other.
We decided to stay here for 2 nights, no need to go into the park, as even charkals could be seen at the water hole.
So we headed for Binga, campsite Mblizi at Lake Kariba. John from the campsite organized some fish for us which Alex prepared in the evening. Tara still was weak after the vaccination but was already getting better.
We travelled on but had to return as there was no petrol available, only back at Binga. We returned again but stayed at caravan park half way to Binga. The caravan park was basic, it seemed it was abandoned, buildings were ruins. So we continued to Sikumi Lodge but they had no campsite and gave us the advise to go to caravan park.
After having tried to continue we ended again at caravan park. The water facilities were basic and it was bitter cold. So we put up tent and hoped for a good night, at least it was quiet and safe but inspite of the sleeping bags rather cold. Now there was a caretaker who provided campfire wood. We barbecued fish with sweet potatoes . The bones we gave in a bag and put it to the sanitary building as there were no waste bins. But in the morning there was not much left, wildlife was hungry as well.
Our camping chair was broken and we asked the caretaker if he wanted to have it but it must be repaired. He took it and was really happy. Now we left the campsite and headed to Bulawayo. The road was good tar so we made good progress. People were offering their goods at the roadside and busses heavily overloaded with goods and on top people were traveling on the truck.
Again before entering Bulawayo there was a toll station 1 USD for the road. We checked in at the local campsite which was really good even hot water showers. We set up camp and drove to town to do some shopping but in the huge supermarket there were no goods to sell except for cigarettes, one packet for 0.40 USD and some canned food. But we were lucky in a small shop we could buy a new camping chair – how lucky we have been.
Old Ruins of Zimbabwe 28.05.2012
We wanted to visit the old ruines of Zimbabwe, so we got up early and drove to National Monument Old Zimbabwe. The campsite there was nice with shower not so hot and the outside temperature was cold. BUt only 5 USD. So we decided to sleep in the Land Rover for the first time and we realized that it was too narrow. Somehow we managed the night but in the morning I took one of the cupboards and removed it. Now there was space enough.
After coffee we visited the ruins. The ruins were impressive as they were built from stone in contrary to the mud huts the people were living in. We took pictures and videos and went back, acked and after a stop at the filling station we headed to Mutare.
Along the road the farmers offered their goods. Everything 1 USD. 12 Clementines or 5 Avacados, 5 Onions or 10 Bananas. Finally we reached Mutare with broken exhaust and clogged carburetor. We got a campsite a little bit outside the town.
In the morning we realized that petral was running over the tires. A nice guy from the campsite directed us to the police station where there were guys who tried to fix the carburetor.
In the morning we went to the ATM but no money. At least we got out 20 USD but then was finished. At the customs they demanded an extra 50 USD per person, but we denied and told them that we would get back to Harare to get the visa there. Obviously that helped and they let us pass after paying for car insurance and TIP and some cash for the dogs papers.
TIP means temprary import permit and is available at every border. Europeans belive that they can only travel with carnet de passage, which is rather expensive, complicated and you have to deposit huge amounts for your car at the issuing organisation like ADAC. The truth s that at the border you get this TIP which costs a couple of dollars most of the time under 10 USD and so you can enter and leave the country without carnet.