Tag: Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Hwange was left behind, and up with local buses, to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Did not take too long and the lovely bus driver was kind enough to deliver me to the door step of the backpackers. Zimbabwe people are just so incredibly lovely. I took a “chalet”, which was the cheapest bed for the night. I  decided to walk around town for a while. The African Walk is a great place to sit and chill out. Lots of wonderful shops, cafe and art galleries. I met two local rasta musicians, who ended up teaching me to play parts on the Marimba! Not bad for a totally tone deaf and n musical person! They were even kind enough to tell me I never had a GOOD teacher! So there you go! It is the teacher who makes the musician!

The next morning I woke up quite early, and made a stupid decision to down load some unimportant stuff onto my gadgets. I have no idea what possessed me, but when I came back from the bathroom I decided that it was taking too long, switched the thing off and packed it all up! I walked to the Falls, and when I wanted to take the first photos of this magical place, the gadget was frozen! Totally and completely frozen! I met two Japanese men, who as we all know are knowledgable about these things, and they told me to go and find an Apple Store. What do you know? Apparently one must NOT switch off gadget while downloading! Duh!

Anyway the Falls were spectacular event, and I couldn’t brag on Facebook about it! I was there very early in the morning, before any other tourists, and it was just absolutely marvellous walking around in the deep roar, spray and mist of the majestic Mosi of Tunya (Victoria Falls in the official language). I spend about two hours walking around in total awe. Had some more Marimba lessons with the rasta guys, and spend most of the day finding a person who could fix my gadget! Found a store and a man, who needed to download the programme needed, and who started doing this straight away. The next two days I was told to come back every two hours so he could fix my gadget! However after two days of fart arsing around, he had only been able to download 60%! I decided to leave him and his download, and go to Zambia instead!

The crossing into Zambia I did on foot, just to see how I would go walking about seven kilometres with all my luggage. I took it easy, and it was no hassle at all. Also my luggage was still a few kilos more than would walk the Camino with, as I was planning to  send my last diary and drawing book home. I settled back into Fawlty Towers again, where the wonderful staff welcomed me back like a long lost friend. I had planned to canoe on the Zambezi river and to visit Chobe National Park in Botswana. I met a lovely woman from England, Frances, and we became friends immediately. She had been teaching teachers in Zambia and was now on the  way home.

We booked a full day on Sunday, canoe the river, a game drive and a booze cruise in the evening! The canoeing was wonderful, although we each had our own personal guide, who did all the hard work! I totally enjoyed but I did very little work! It was marvellous to be on the mighty Zambezi, very impressive and enormously wide river. We saw a few hippos and lots of wonderful birds, but not much wildlife. The game drive was a waste of money. Supposedly it was to be three hours long and we barely got two hours. Also we saw very little wildlife. The exciting part was that we saw a mother and baby rhino, a white rhino, for which we had to pay extra! The booze cruise was lovely, except a major big storm came! Just before the sun disappeared completely, the curtain lifted and we received a magnificent gift of another super sized African sunset! We drank too many G&T s, but as fun was had by all, it didn’t seem to matter at all! As Francis  and I had such a good time, and she was planning to visit the Chobe National Park as well, we decided to book our safari together! And that is what we did!

Good bye again!

So fast it has gone! Before I realised, the exhibition was over, paintings and art needed to be packed up, flat needed cleaning and again I needed to say good bye!

I have made some wonderful friends, so the last week was spend meeting, lunching, dinners and lots of drinks. I feel intensely sad. Having an exhibition in Namibia has been such a positive and enriching experience, I wanted it to last forever. Shame this is not possible. Having spend four weeks in the craft centre, I felt I had a job to go to, collegues and friends to joke with, interact with and in general having an excellent time!  But, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end!

I had the manager of Nampost tell me NOT to use the normal post to send stuff home as there were problems in Jo burg with strikes and even the burning down of a post office! Interestingly enough, I have just send two parcels home and one has arrived all ready. For the art works I need to use a freight company, but am in need of a customs clearing agent! Of all the possibilities I picked one who has gone out of business. True! How do I manage to do these things? Ah well, I will need to deal with this but not today!

i caught the early morning bus to Gaberone, Botswana. Booked the ticket a week ahead of time, and was told the bus leaves Windhoek at 7.00am in the morning and to be there an hour and a half before the bus leaves! As it was, I arrived at ten minutes to six, just settled into my seat when the bus driver hopped on and started the bus! It was five minutes past six! Ah well, an early start, I thanked my lucky stars that I managed to be here in the nick of time! A young man I met at the border was not so lucky! He was told the bus would leave at 8.00am, arrived an hour and a half earlier but of course the bus was long gone! He had to catch a taxi to e border at extra cost, so he could catch up with the bus there and get his seat!

The only exciting thing that happened was that the bus driver locked the bus at the border, I was still filling in my paper work and had not noticed that everybody had left the bus. When I wanted to leave the bus the doors were locked! Oops! So I beeped the horn! Loudly and lonely! It was raining heavily so needless to say that the driver was not at all impressed. To be honest he was down right angry! In the rain he proceeded to yell at me for being left on the bus. I didn’t react at first and then, as he kept going on and on, I lost my cool. This is the first time in Africa I was confronted with blatant anger, and I decided not to put up with it! I turned around put my hands on my hips and blasted him right back! This stopped him right in his tracks. It is actually his responsibility to make sure everybody is off the bus. It entertained the other passengers, and I must say that it was the driver who backed off and not me! I don’t normally do this, being aggressive , I mean, but I just had enough. I was tired and sad and couldn’t accept his rudeness to me. The rest of the trip I just slept as much as I could.

In Gaberone I had a lovely time catching up with my Mokolodi family, on Good Friday! how wonderful it was to see Hendrik, Henk and Rone and meet Kiki and her friend Margot. Albert and Sam were also delighted to have me back! Hendrik absolutely loved his gift of the Mokolodi memories painting and gave it immediatel a prominent spot in his lounge! Easter was spend with Christelle, enjoying her wonderful cubby she built in her front yard. We had decided not to go anywhere as I was totally exhausted and all I wanted to do was sleep and catch up with a wonderfully relaxed Christelle. It was indeed sad to say good bye again but as we have been keeping in touch since we met for Christmas dinner five years ago in Atar, Mauritania, I can’t imagine us losing touch now!

As I had met lots of Zimbabwe people, I decided to cross the border at Plumtree, Zimbabwe, visit Bulawayo. See the ancient ruins of…….. Whatever they were called. And saw the world view where the grave of Cecil Rhodes is the founder of Rhodesia. I hope he didn’t expect to have a quiet place! It was full of tourists and noise! There was also a out of place large memorial for 12 English soldiers”who were murdered” or “lost a battle” depending to which side of the war you would like to be on! Interesting to note if it was the black people who won, it was murder! If it was the White a victory! Hm! Interesting note.

From Bulawayo I travelled to Hwange National Park. I was told the park of the highest elephant population in Africa (they lied) The atm in Bulawayo didn’t work on Monday morning, I wasn’t too worried as I have a new Visa card and had plenty of Rands(South African money) I had to hitch a ride into the park, as the plenty of buses into the park statement didn’t hold up at all! I think it is hilarious that after ten months in Africa I still believe what people tell me! Either I am naive or incredibly stupid! I don’t think I am naive! When I arrived at the park I tried to pay with the new visa, shame! Their machine did not work! Oops! Will try again the next day! Still no go! Double oops! I had hoped to go on a game drive in the morning, except as I now have to pay cash out of my pile of Rands, leaves me very short. Also as I am on my own, I needed to pay a single supplement, or pay for two rather! This is something I absolutely refuse to do! I refuse to be penalised for travelling by myself! So I said NO, luckily there was a lovely young couple from Zimbabwe and of Switzerland, who were going on a game drive the next morning, Lucy offered to take me along! So there I was the next morning, listening to the lions making there first kill of the morning, when Felixstowe and Lucy picked me up, the screaming and growling had just finished We drove out of the fate into the park and within the first kilometre we met the first lioness! She was so incredibly fat, that she looked ready to give birth! The next thing was an old male lion, with a pitch black mane, walking slowly in the direction of the car! It was so incredibly exciting that I completely forgot to take pictures! In the end we saw six lionesses and one male, plus two cubs! It was amazing! We were on the drive for over five hours. Saw zebras, ostriches, hippos, crocodiles but NO elephants! Over 40.000 elephants and not ONE elephant to be seen! Unbelievable!

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