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Browsing: Zimbabwe

Back in Johannesburg, it feels odd to look out from the window over a bustling carport of busy people with fancy cars. There’s a selection of sushi revolving in front of me, yet my boots are still freshly covered with the dust from Mana Pools. Just two days ago, we were observing one of many herds of elephants wandering curiously around our campsite at Mana Pools, and later sitting around the hypnotising campfire listening to the hysterical ‘whoop’ calls of hyena in the background. And then, there was the long, dreadful and often-infuriating drive back to Joburg, during which an…

The dry season in Hwange National Park reached its height in late September. My partner Ashley and I huddled in our Pajero, trying to keep warm in the chilly midnight air on the bank of Mandavu Dam. The water shimmered silver under the full moon as night-owl storks stalked the shallows. Sudden splashing alerted us to the thirsty arrival of an elephant herd on the far bank. I strained through binoculars to count the drinking adults and playful young – a herd of 23. Scanning back to our side of the dam, I found four huge bulls right next to…

Everybody’s heard a Zimbabwe travel horror story. Under the rule of Robert Mugabe, corruption thrived in all but the most remote reaches of the vast and diverse country. One would encounter dozens of roadblocks between Bulawayo and Harare, each ‘staffed’ by police or scammers seeking nothing more than to extort one for a couple of trillion Zim dollars. Journeys by road became arduous and expensive – and often dangerous, too. Well, I’m happy to report that things have changed. Zimbabwe, it seems, is open for business. The fall of Uncle Bob has paved the way for optimism and recovery, and…

A log crumbles. Sparks fly, drifting up in the breeze and disappearing into the sunset. The sun continues its descent into darkness, gently sliding behind the horizon; its colours reflect off the river, with the burnt-oranges merging with the campfire. A pearl-spotted owlet has already started to call, a ‘Tu-tu-tu-tutu. Tu-tu-tseeutseeu- tseeu-tseeu.’ My mate Greg pauses from his fire-stoking. “What’s that? I know it.” He repeats the call and the owl responds. Pretty soon it’s closer, calling frenetically. “It’s a pearl-spotted owl,” he says. Then he tells me a story about why he remembers that particular call. And that strikes…

Words & Images Peter Middleton The border at Chirundu was surprisingly painless. Arriving just after midday, we were through in an hour. The Zim side, air-conditioned and tidy,was also a surprise. The Zambia side was not; it was dirty and disorganised – but that suited us. We paid the four Kwacha road tax, got ripped off for another unfathomable charge (to lubricate the stamps, we supposed) and headed to Lusaka. The countryside was obviously less managed: the roads more potholes than road. Herds of trucks belched clouds of exhaust into our open vents. We entered Lusaka, where aggressive chancers chased…

Words and Images Stephen Cunliffe The lion roars grew steadily louder, echoing off the unseen Chilojo Cliffs. With no moon or stars visible above, the darkness beyond our campfire was absolute. Both Duncan and I pulled our chairs a little closer to the dancing flames, blaming an imaginary chill in the night air rather than the guttural grunts bouncing back off the rock face across the river. Taking a deep swig of Zambezi lager, I fumbled for the powerful torch next to my chair. The hairs on the back of my neck bristled and my heart thumped a little louder…

Words and image by Gordon Stewart My wife, who plans all our routes, has a principle: if you’re going from A to B and it’s a tarred road, rather go via C on a gravel road, even if it is twice as long and takes a lot longer. She reckons that you get to see more of the countryside this way, because the back roads are usually in worse condition than the main roads, so you have to drive more slowly. That, in turn, gives you more time to take in your surroundings. The second reason is that, on all…

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