Dispatches from the front #10

Submitted by Cecil Hill on Fri, 2017/06/16 - 17:38

 

I returned to Mzansi yesterday afternoon (Thu 15 Jun) via Beit Bridge, the only border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

I arrived in Johannesburg today, where I will stay with my youngest sister for (roughly) the next two weeks, while I go about applying for visas to Angola and the DRC, in order to proceed to and through West Africa. It is the policy of both these countries that one should apply for a visa in one's home country.

I will also use the opportunity to expose Mwendo to some professional care at one of the local Motorrad service centres.

Both Celesta and I left Vic Falls on the morning of Mon 12 June - she on a direct flight back to Cape Town and I on the bike with Great Zimbabwe as my primary destination.

I hit the road to Bulawayo with just a hint of trepidation at the prospect of dealing with the notorious ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) at the alleged multitude of roadblocks. I had flirted, ever so briefly, with the idea of skipping Zim and getting to ZA via Botswana but I was really determined to, at the very least, visit Great Zimbabwe, given that I was already in the country and having gone to all the trouble of getting a new rear tyre before entering it.

I regret to report that the allegations of 'an oversupply of roadblocks in Zimbabwe', to borrow and take license with a phrase from a certain South African - who has an oversupply of sh*t in his head, so much so that it flows freely from his mouth - are true.
I encountered no less then 17 police roadblocks and/or speed traps between Vic Falls and Bulawayo.

I am, however, absolutely delighted to report that I did not have a single negative encounter with the ZRP on this or on any subsequent day during my stay in Zimbabwe.

I was waved through 12 of the above-mentioned 17 points without so much as a "how are you", the universal African salutation.
On the 5 occasions that I was invited to stop, I was only asked to present my driver's license twice. I believe this was just a pretext to satisfy their interest / curiosity as, at each and every one of these, Mwendo and I quickly became the primary topic of conversation.

This behaviour was repeated on subsequent days, though with markedly fewer speed traps / roadblocks.
Not once, during my entire four days on the road between Vic Falls and Beit Bridge, was Mwendo inspected for defects or transgressions on any of the few occasions I was not simply waved through.

I was absolutely thrilled by Great Zimbabwe, another of Zimbabwe's Unesco World Heritage Sites, in the company of an excellent guide. (I didn't have the best light for photography at the time of my visit - I believe early morning or late afternoon are the best times.)

Great Zimbabwe - Hill Complex 1
Great Zimbabwe - Hill Complex 2
Great Zimbabwe - Hill Complex Entrance 1
Great Zimbabwe - Hill Complex with Guide
Great Zimbabwe - Hill Complex Entrance 2
Great Zimbabwe - Hill Complex Perspective
Great Zimbabwe - Hill Complex Top
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure from Hill Complex
Great Zimbabwe - Towards Great Enclosure
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure Exterior
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure Chevron
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure Up Close
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure Outer Wall 1
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure Outer Wall 2
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure Conical Tower
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure Conical Tower Up Close
Great Zimbabwe - Great Enclosure Interior

 

Lake Mutirikwe, also known as Lake Kyle, in close proximity to the monument, was an unexpected bonus. It is actually what we would call a dam in SA, very reminiscent of, though much larger than, Theewaterskloof in the Western Cape.

I enjoyed a mixed tar / off-road ride around the lake after my guided tour of Great Zimbabwe. There are some interesting routes in the area - well worth a return visit.

 

Lake Mutirikwi from Great Zimbabwe
Lake Mutirikwi
Lake Mutirikwi Dam Wall
Lake Mutirikwi from the Dam Wall
Twin Teats on the road to Ngundu

 

I was treated with the utmost courtesy by all Zimbabweans - be they officials or the "man in the street" - I came into contact with during my two-week long visit to the country. I would return at the proverbial "drop of a hat". My single issue would be with the cost of living - Zimbabwe is easily the most expensive country I have visited, on this tour, to date.   

The route to date: 

Day 84: Victoria Falls, Hwange, Lupane, Ken Maur, Masuku to Bulawayo (441km)
Day 85: Bulawayo, Esigodini, Mbalabala, Zvishavane, Masvingo to Lake Mutirikwi / Lake Kyle (318km)
Day 86: Great Zimbabwe Monument, around Lake Mutirikwi (128km)
Day 87: Lake Mutirikwi, Tokwe, Ngundu, Rutenga, Bubi, Chikwarakwara, Beit Bridge Border, Musina, Makhado, Bandelierskop, Mphakane to Polokwane (503km)
Day 88: Polokwane, Mookgophong, Pretoria to Johannesburg (325km)

  • - Hwange : -18.3558779 26.5019976
  • - Lupane : -18.9300127 27.7593273
  • - Ken Maur : -19.1104966 27.967368
  • - Bulawayo : -20.1325066 28.626479
  • - Esigodini : -20.2906811 28.9383082
  • - Mbalabala : -20.4500555 29.0358096
  • - Zvishavane : -20.3139411 30.0549683
  • - Masvingo : -20.0791909 30.8384093
  • - Lake Mutirikwi : -20.2249737 30.9933678
  • - Great Zimbabwe : -20.2674635 30.9337986
  • - Tokwe : -20.610211155841 30.329797267914
  • - Ngundu : -20.8002241 30.799639
  • - Rutenga : -21.465130636209 30.331170558929
  • - Beit Bridge : -22.198902 30.0029572
  • - Musina : -22.3812506 30.0318547
  • - Makhado : -23.0462413 29.9046562
  • - Polokwane : -23.8961708 29.4486263
  • - Mookgophong : -24.5036834 28.7139694
  • - Pretoria : -25.7478676 28.2292712
  • - Johannesburg : -26.2041028 28.0473051
  • Comments

    Submitted by Clive on Mon, 2017/06/19 - 11:00

    Permalink

    Oom C ek is bly jy is veilig terug in SA. Geniet die tydjie by jou familie
    Ek kan nie wag om nog van jou avonture te lees nie.

    Howzit Clive, dis lekker om van jou te "hoor", baie dankie!

    Dit is goed om "tuis" te wees, al is dit net vir 'n kort rukkie. Dis nogal ietwat van 'n aanpassing in my "roetine", nie dat ek juis 'n vaste roetine kon (of wou) ontwikkel nie. Goddank elke dag is splinternuut, in alle opsigte!

    Ek sien self met groot afwagting en, om eerlik te wees, met so 'n effense "spanning", uit na die volgende fase.
    Soos die Ingelse sê: "Watch this space!"