A Travellerspoint blog

Harare

and a day of shopping

sunny

We have driven right the way across Mozambique in a day and a bit and now travel onwards to Harare the capitol of Zimbabwe. Things are looking considerably more westernised and locals have more of a big city vibe to them (IE not surprised to see tourists). I spent the day looking around Harare in particular I'm looking for cap to cover my head from the sun! Its a nice city, not as hectic as many of the capitols I've seen but with enough hustle and bustle to keep you interested. Its a delight to eat cheap ass fast food again after the fare we've been cooking for ourselves. Not really a great deal for the tourist to do here. Its more a jumping off point for Vic falls and anyone going on Safari in the area. For myself at least I enjoyed walking the streets of a city again peering into shops and generally having the kind of normal day you might spend in a city at home. A day here is probably enough for anyone.

Moving on from Harare we visit Gweru and stay for 2 nights at Antelope park. Antelope park is heading up a lion rehabilitation program focusing on both raising awareness of the decrease in lion numbers across Africa (rumoured to be at 80%!!!!) and also in breeding lions for re introduction to the wild. We were given the opportunity to walk with semi wild lions (what exactly is a semi wild lion, well lets just say there not tame lions and if you upset them by making the wrong kind of sudden moves you will know all about it). Great photo opportunity and an even greater opportunity to take close up snaps of adult male lions being fed in an enclosure. These guys you certainly don't want to walk with......

During the night I was awoken by a nudging sensation against my foot, In horror I see the ground sheet of my tent start to take on snake like properties, holy shit am I dreaming here? No there is definatley something moving under my tent. By torch light I notice that its around the width of my wrist ! and curling up into a very typical snake like shape under the warmth of where I was just lying down. Using a boot I start to make walking sounds hoping to scare it off, nothing......I try harder smacking the floor (being careful not to actually hit the snake) with both boots. Still it won't leave! what do you do when you have an unknown snake relaxing under your ground sheet right by the door you will need to get out off in the morning? I decided to make a break for it and spent the night sleeping on the truck. In the morning a very gentle moving of my tent proved that my night tine visitor had left but I was intrigued as to what kind of tent is not at all concerned to have large boot sized impacts that close to its head. I questioned one of the park rangers and the resident experts on snakes "that will be a puff adder" he said, adding "they won't move away from interruptions there fear less" bloody hell. "are they dangerous?" I asked, "deadly" he replies. Ye gods!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by cd108 05:23 Archived in Zimbabwe Comments (0)

Another long drive day

in the blistering heat part two!

sunny

We had already organised visas for Mozambique in Lilongwe and the plan now was to try and dive almost the entire length of the country in a day, I'm not sure why Oasis make no real stops in Mozambique but they don't so thats that. We spend the night in a bush camp and try and cook food while utterly covered in flies. Not pleasant but I guess its Authentic.................

Posted by cd108 05:20 Archived in Mozambique Comments (0)

Kande beach boys

Don't buy there tat!

sunny

So the touts along kande beach will agree to sell you just about anything and promise you the earth and the heavens can be achieved in just 24 hours. Malawi is famous in particular for its intricately carved wooden chairs and they truly are breathtakingly skill full at carving them but heres the deal. From what I gather the touts are just middle men with no real skill at carving there selves and the touts have no reservation about accepting custom orders that they can't actually deliver. Two individuals in our group ordered custom items that to put it bluntly were bloody awful in comparison to pre existing items in the stalls. I never buy this kind of stuff anyway if only because I can't do anything with it (can't send it to a home I don't have and can't carry a giant wooden chair in my backpack). Anyway A few short days later we passed the genuine guys on the road, all of them carved there items there self and all them made it clear that if you want a custom order don't expect that kind of art work to be done in a day. The quality was better too.

Moral of the story, if you want a malawi chair shop around and be realistic in your expectations....

Posted by cd108 05:14 Archived in Malawi Comments (0)

Malawi, Kande Beach and me in a dress?

its Xmas ever after all

After another blistering night spent in tents in Dar Es Salaam thankfully it was time to travel on toe Malawi. Its was the night before the night before Xmas and we had planned a fancy dress party. Where do you suppose you find fancy dress in Africa? Well naturally you look in a clothes market! Given just 40 minutes to spend looking and with a lack of options on offer my original idea of going as the ghost of Xmas past (complete with chains and black eye make up) had to be ditched. Instead a new plan formed I would go as Mrs Claus. Never before in my life have I worn a dress (honest) and it was a tight fit to say the least but it was a snip at 5 US. Cordelia very kindly offered to do my make up for me and I was soon sporting a bright red dress, green eye liner and red lippy Sadly I had not found enough time to accessorise my outfit so I had to stick with my flip flops and had no bra or handbag. Even so I made a very attractive woman in my opinion and it only took me a half dozen attempts to remember not to sit with my legs open (breezy here isn't it?). Xmas was essentially a massive party, we were dancing on the tables and the bar on the beach and skinny dipping till god knows what time before eventually everyone rolled off to there respective tents. i can just barely remember agreeing to marry our driver Nathan at some point and just barely remember Chris (US) who has some kind of pastors licence performing the ceremony (thankful not a legal binding outside the US I learnt after).

The following day we had Xmas dinner with all the trimmings, kindly cooked for us by our fellow truckers at kummuka travel and bloody scrumptious it was too! not only had there guide (and chef, how posh) cooked up turkey, chicken and roast lamb he had also created chocolate mouse, cheese cake and other assorted delights for us! of course since Geof (the Kummuka guy) had cooked it was had to do the washing up! A small price to pay for such a sumptuous banquet I'm sure we can agree.

Boxing day I had booked 2 dives in Lake Malawi what better way to spend it than underwater. Not great expectations for a fresh water dive but i was suprsingly pleased with the variety of Marine life, including a first for me a mouth breeder (one of the species of fish that swallows its babies when it feels threatened) there was also some mildly challenging diving through narrow crevasses. All in a great dive site and I recommend diving it if you get the chance.

The people in Lake Malawi were also exceptionally friendly far more so than there counterparts in Stone town. Malawi itself is the 3rd poorest country in the world. This was best illustrated to me during a visit to the capitol Lilongwe. I stood in line for an hour at a cash machine laughing and chatting to locals who take this in there stride every day. Just as I near the front of the line the cash machine bleeps and shuts down "its out of cash says a chap in the que next to me" with a big beaming smile. This is just as it starts to pour with rain and myself and around 30 Africans are crowded under a small awning laughing at life in general. Great way to meet people locally in Lilongwe......

Posted by cd108 05:00 Archived in Malawi Comments (0)

Nungwi

North beaches in Zanzibar

Roughly an hour on a bus took us to Nungwi where we would be staying for the next few nights. In particular I was looking forward to diving here as I had heard good things about the Zanzibar archipelago. The beach itself was beautiful, on a par with anything the Thai islands can conjure up for instance. Food was good value by western standards but more expensive than in many of the African places we had already visited. I was diving the very day I had arrived having already called ahead and organised 4 dives with a company near to your hotel called spanish dancers. Day 1 I did two local ish dives based around the Island itself. Great visibility and the water temperature was a very comfortable 26 degrees (ish) sadly the choral was a little worse for wear. partly I imagine thanks to the development going on just on shore and also I'm told largely due to the locals using dynamite to fish. Even so many of the fish you can see in the red sea were still in plentiful supply. Banner fish, Angel Fish, lion fish et al nothing particularly large such as tuna or barracuda were present during my dive but I had high hopes for the following day when we would be heading further out. Day 2 and were diving further out and deeper dive sites, I'm sorry to say the choral although better was still quite clearly damaged in many places but I was lucky enough to see a green back turtle at about 28 meters on the second dive and some dolphins out in the blue (racing much to fast for me catch them unfortunately). In general the dives were good and spanish dancers a non too shabby operation even if we did bend the rules slightly on dive 2 to reach 28 meters (diving on air with a previous dive of 32 meters my NDL was down to just 3 minutes!).

The last day in Nungwi saw me and the rest of the group relaxing on the beach with many a cocktail to be had, a traditional island style break from our overland experience and one we all very much enjoyed, forever more after that night the trip theme tune would alternate between rhiannas "we found love" and Starships "we built this city"

Sadly its time to move on for us back into the blistering heat and away from our lovely air con.........

Posted by cd108 04:49 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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