Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else. Leonardo DaVinci
Wtf… I was so done with Zimbabwe before I even visited the Victoria Falls. Shortly after I arrived from Botswana on a Friday morning, I decided to run the usual i-just-crossed-the-border errands. Take out money in the local currency (US dollars), purchase a simcard/cut it to nano format/activate the data bundle, stock up at the supermarket (preferebly non refrigerated groceries). I had barely reached the main road in Victoria Falls, when the Zimbabwean shit show started. The ATM wouldn´t accept my Spanish debit card. A 5$ data bundle would only get me 80MB, so 5 times less data than in the previous Southern African countries. And the prices at the supermarket were at European level.
Worst of all, I wasn´t prepared for all the hassling in Victoria Falls.
Special price! Free sunset cruise (just purchase the 300$ activity package)!
Take me with you to Australia! A-u-s-t-r-i-a? That´s great too!
I like your body! I like the way you dress!
Barely a few hours in Zimbabwe and ready to leave again, but then the solo traveler magic happened…
I escaped into the next store, wishing my girlfriends were here.
Me: I am looking for a long skirt! Salesman: You look like a real African woman now!
By Mother´s Day I had paid a visit to the beautiful waterfalls from both sides, gotten myself a $2US wedding ring in Livingstone, recovered from an improvised bar crawl – and finally started to relax.
Marco (German soon-to-be student): I just arrived from Great Zimbabwe! Amazing! Me: Great what..?! Okay, one more stop so that the Visa pays off.
It is not a truly Zimbabwean bus ride unless the driver blasts the party music at full volume non-stop. Even on the night bus. I felt very tired when I walked past the entrance of Great Zimbabwe the next day. Luckily the campsite was located right near the ruined city.
Me (exhausted): I could camp, but I think I will spoil myself today… Moreblessings (smiley manager): You have the dorm to yourself!
Soon local artists should entertain the visitors there, and hopefully attract the tourist crowds in the future. I only put my backpack down to take pictures and to talk to the blind old man, who played the guitar in front of the huts.
Next stop: Harare. In Botswana my how-to-bribe-your-way-across-african-borders coach Q had told me to stay away from the cities in Zimbabwe (“tent lady, they see you with all your bags & you will get robbed!”). But nobody seemed too interested in my belongings, and a few people actually greeted me politely on the streets of the capital city of Zimbabwe.
Thursday evening at the hostel. Time to relive the past days and start a blog post.
Inge (Dutch manager of a women´s training center in Kongo): We should go out! Juanita (regular hostel guest): Tonight the Roki concert is the place to be!
Juanita gave us a lift and pointed out to the doorman that there was really no reason why we should have to pay to get in. He only complained a little when we walked straight into the party tent.
But aren´t all songs about love? We made up our own lyrics and ended up dancing in the front rows.
After the concert Juanita took us to her favorite bar for drinks, where Inge raved about her stay at the Warthog Bush Camp in Kariba (“Elephants walking by my tent!”). She had just arrived from Kariba that same Thursday, where she had been the only camper (“impossible to catch a ride to nearby Mana Pools National Park”). We realized we were the only non hookers at the dodgy bar and called it an early night. While falling asleep in my upper bunk bed, I decided to stop in Kariba for one night before finally crossing over to Zambia.
Arrival at the campsite in Kariba on Friday before sunset
On Saturday morning I sat down at the Warthog bush camp´s restaurant. I positioned myself so that I could watch the elephants that were bathing in Lake Kariba and meant to start blogging about Zimbabwe.
Tracy (manager): We are gonna head to the flat plains for a couple hours. Wanna join? Me: Alright! (putting on my new jeans skirt) Tracy: It´s only the ladies, you can wear shorts! And take off your wedding ring!
Me (heading for the bush): I will be right back! Tracy: Andrea, stop! Wild animals, you know? Stay here, you can pee behind the car!
Saturday night back at the campsite. The ladies had called it a day and I was about to walk back to my tent when I started a conversation with Laura and Elmer, two Skandinavian campers who had just arrived.
Shawn (friendly local who loves Jägermeister, like all white Zimbabweans): Are you guys up for a night game drive? Us: Alright!! (squashing in the front of Shawn´s Toyota)
We couldn´t hope for a more authentic Zimbabwean experience! Every time Shawn stopped the Toyota on the way to Kariba Heights we had to push start the car. We came across plenty of elephants before we reached the top of and enjoyed the view of the Kariba Dam.
Back at the campsite after midnight.
Me (ready for my sleeping bag): That was fun! Tomorrow Zambia, just too bad I didn´t get to go to Mana Pools! Jolie (local hunter who “lives life to the fullest”): I haven´t been in a while.. Let´s go?!
Elephants around the campsite during the day. One hippo marching out of the Zambezi and passing by our braai on Sunday after sunset. Woooowwww!!
Monday evening back at the Warthog campsite. I finished my last food, that had been waiting for me in the fridge since before the ladies braai, and switched on my laptop.
Finally time to blog.
Brian, John, David & his dad Toni (at the next table): OMG! So many cables?! Me: Just backing up my photos before traveling to Zambia tomorrow! David: But you CANNOT leave Kariba without having been on the lake!!
One more day in Kariba.
Tuesday evening, returning from the boat cruise on Lake Kariba. The hippos were getting hungry.
On our fishing trip I had only caught a tiny grey fish that went directly back into Lake Kariba.
David: Hold on! Just hide behind the car and watch the hippos to leave the lake to feed on the campsite! Me: Really?! Alright!!
The day after I finally left for Lusaka. I had spent almost 2 weeks in Zimbabwe 🙂