Distance : 392.3 km
Country : Zimbabwe (Harare to Mana Pools, Gwaya Camp)
A good nights sleep in Harare, staunch breakfast in the morning and we got to repacking the vehicles. A very early morning trip to the shops plus collection of the pre-ordered meat meant that we had to re-arrange a few things. Once we were set, it was off again.
The picture above is one of the very many toll gates along the way – 1 USD fee for each. One or two of the toll gates have obviously had a run in with a heavy truck and are looking somewhat worse for wear!
Some of the best marketing we have seen on the trip was from the various worm sellers – this one was self explanatory. This being the main road up to Kariba there are several entrepreneurs selling worms to the fishermen travelling through. Other examples “Worms that fit all hooks” and “Pufadar worms” (sic)
Three and a half hours and an abortive trip to the Makuti petrol station (my fault, should have stopped in Karoi – I ignored the African Fuel Rule, “If you see fuel, refuel” we started down the the Zambesi escarpment. The time of year (dry season, winter) makes for a hazy but impressive view of the Zambezi flood plain. Unfortunately, after the building of the dam wall at Kariba, this area does not get the same floods that it used to which are important to the ecology of the area.
10km after the park turnoff we stopped to refuel for one of the vehicles from the jerry cans as things were starting to get a bit tight. We also reduced tyre pressure as the corrugations along this stretch are quite bad.
After a short stop we set off again. The corrugations along this part of the road are bad enough to shake the fillings out of your mouth. We tried several different speeds but in the end settled for a spine grinding, teeth rattling, eyeball shaking 3rd gear option that tried to re-arrange the entire contents of each vehicle.
At least we were entertained at intervals by parts of the road that split around baobab trees.
Dust – soon to become our new bestest best friend!
As you can see from the picture below, no every trailer is made equal. We saw at least three other trailers discarded on the side of the road on the way in.
Our first game sighting was a pair of elephants that eased out of the bush, glanced our way for a while before silently disappearing into the bush on the opposite side of the road.
Finally, after taking 2 hours to cover 77 km we pulled into the reception area, booked in go the camp, purchased some firewood and made our way to our campsite – Gwaya.
High fives all round – we finally made it after three days of travel. Now to set up camp.
Once the camp was up and supper on the way we settled in with a few well earned beverages to enjoy the sunset.
Suffice to say, being the first night in camp, there was a lot more wildlife in the camp than in the surrounding bush! A few hours later the snores – and I’m not kidding on this point – were drowned out even the noisiest hippos in the river. And trust me, there were a lot of hippos and they are flippen noisy!