Crossing into Zimbabwe at Beit Bridge is not for the faint hearted so it was with some trepidation that we approached the border on what was a public holiday in Zimbabwe, Africa day. What a delight awaited us! It was one of those really quiet days and hardly anyone was there. We found the border officials pleasant and friendly and we were through in 90 minutes.
Once across we found a kiosk selling sim cards, the people running it were very helpful and happy to sort us out. Whilst the phone works we have still been unable to link with data. Travelling from there to Masvingo which borders on Lake Mutirikwi (Kyle) was again pleasant with no hassles at the police stops, we thought perhaps it had something to do with the public holiday. We stopped for tea/coffee and plate of chips at the iconic “Lion and Elephant” hotel at Bubye River and were transported back to a by-gone era.
Shortly after Bubye we started to see the granite gomos” along the road mixed with Masasa trees and the odd bougainvillea. (Gomo is Shona for mountain). There is a vividness about the bougainvillea flowers and such beauty in the Masasa trees whose leaves are anything ranging from green, yellow, orange to a burnt red that is so synonymous with Zimbabwean bush. Last night we braaied using masasa wood which has a distinctive smell. All these are lovely reminders of our childhood spent here.
We have stayed for the last few days at a place called Norma Jean’s which has a beautiful view of Lake Mutirikwi and is a great place with wonderful ablutions and gardens. On arrival here we were told that the dam wall is only 6kms away and the best place to see the sunset, so after setting up camp we went to see it! The setting of the wall is quite magnificent, as it is between granite outcrops, and the compensation flow pipe causes spray that is felt on the wall. Quite fun! We have been the only people here and the evenings have been silent apart from the hollow sound of the cow bells nearby.
Today we spent the morning at Great Zimbabwe where we had a wonderful guide Alois who took us around for about 21/2 hours explaining the culture and history of the place. He was an interesting young man so we chatted about all sorts of other things as well. It helped when he discovered that Alan was also born in Gweru as he was. Having asked Al when he was born he said “My father is only 12 years older than you as he was born in 1947!” It was interesting to hear the history from a Zimbabwean, altogether a great experience.
Tomorrow we head up north again.