Friday, November 16, 2012

Travel to Zimbabwe

Travel to Zimbabwe, May 2012

After the Indaba conference in May 2012, I travelled to Zimbabwe with 3 collegues to see for myself what it was all about. Last year at Indaba, all the buzz was about Zim, so we got the idea brewing then. Zim did not disappoint. We found a local supplier in Harare, who came highly recommended to us.


We flew from Durban to Vic Falls, then straight on to Mana Pools. WOW, Wow, wow …… We stayed at the Wilderness Safaris camp at Ruchomechi and visited Kanga Camp and Stretch Ferreira at his Goliath Camp. What a character! What a Zim legend! During the night a leopard made a kill right outside my tent and stashed the impala in a tree! I heard nothing …. But in the morning, the evidence was right there.


After Mana Pools, we flew to Hwange where we stayed at Little Makololo and at Somalisa. We made sight inspections at Davison’s, Acacia House and The Hide. The highlights at Hwange were the elephants, especially at Somalisa, where they drink from the pool and are extremely relaxed around people.
In the hide at Little Mak you get very close to the action also. We spent hours there photographing the “ellies” as they came to the waterhole to drink, play, roll in the mud and spray themselves. The service at Little Mak is exceptional.
Then we flew to Bulawayo and drove to Camp Amalinda. This exclusive, privately owned safari lodge, is in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matobo Hills. The kopjes, rock outcroppings here are amazing! Lots of Black Eagles circle above riding the air currents, probably looking for leopard kills.
We also visited the Farmhouse and the Big Cave. Matobo Hills is famous for the kopjes or whaleback rock outcroppings and also for their cave paintings. Don’t miss this area.
Black eagles nest in these rocks as do leopards. Matobo Hills has the largest leopard population in Zimbabwe, poosibly in all of Africa.
There is the opportunity to walk with Rhino's in the park as well, plus in a nearby concession guests can go mountain biking, horseback riding and rappelling - for those who want something more active. 
History of Zimbabwe comes alive here with lots of historical significance. You can also feed the baby animals at the orphange!

From Amalinda, we drove to Singita’s Pamushana, a 5 hours’ drive. I found the roads in Zim to be very good; the many road-blocks were annoying at times. Big modern trucks were everywhere in both directions, delivering goods to South Africa and Mozambique and back to Zim. The stores are well stocked with everything you could possibly need. The economy is booming! The USD is the national currency. There's also plenty of local flavor along the roads, making the drive very interesting.

Pamushana was a highlight; the service was impeccable and everyone was so friendly. I could’ve stayed here forever. Game drives are conducted in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, where the black rhino is king. Malilangwe is an area where you will also find over 100 cave painting rock sites that date back more than 2,000 years. There are a large variety of animals found here, thanks to varied ecosystems within the Reserve, including some rare ones like Lichtenstein's hartebeest. 

Not to be outdone, we drove from Pamushana to the Great Zimbabwe ruins. We stayed at Norma Jeans Resort. Regrettably, there’s no upscale property here, but it’s still worth a visit. I suggest staying overnight and climbing the ruins early in the morning before the heat of the day sets in. The Great Zimbabwe ruins form three distinct architectural groups. They are known as the Hill Complex, the Valley Complex and the Great Enclosure. Building of the walls began in the 11th century and lasted for 300 years.

No mortar was used to build the walls that are as high as 36 feet, extending approximately 820 feet, making it the largest ancient structure south of the Sahara Desert. At the peak it’s believed that up to 18,000 people may have lived here. Great Zimbabwe is definitely worth a visit. You can also make it a long day tour from Amalinda Camp.

From the Great Zimbabwe, we drove to Harare, where we spent a couple of nights at a small B&B, the brand new wonderful Jacana Gardens. Harare is a modern bustling city that has everything. We went to the market, shopped ‘til we dropped and visited Wild is Life, a genuine wildlife orphanage and rehabilitation rescue center run privately by Roxy Danckwerts and her husband Craig. Here, I got to cuddle a pangolin. Do I need to say more?


smartguide said...

After reading this, i feel like i should pack my travel bag for Zimbabwe!

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Kristina Trowbridge said...

Please do NOT advertise your trips on my blog. You will be removed and blocked forever!

Kristina Trowbridge said...

If you advertise on my blog, I will remove it and report it as spam.

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Herry Johnson said...
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