3 weeks ago I moved to Africa….Zimbabwe to be precise and it was then when I had the notion of writing a blog. I knew that if I was going to start writing one, I had to get ‘pen to paper’ as soon as possible before the predictable routine of work consumed me and life rolled on as normal albeit with the exception of living under a sunnier sky. Moving to a new continent, to start noting my ramblings and musings was too good an opportunity to miss.
I departed a grey, cold UK for Zimbabwe late November and I guess had some pre-conceived opinions of the country mainly formed from stuff I had heard over the years in the news, such as the UK’s frosty relationship with Zimbabwe’s current President Robert Mugabe, the hyperinflation of the late 90s and the violent seizure of white owned farms.
Apart from the above there wasn’t a great deal I knew about Zimbabwe and this ignorance had naturally led me to feel a wee bit of trepidation of what to expect. The most common replies I heard when I informed people where I was going was ‘Be Careful’ or ‘Watch Yourself’ or ‘Isn’t it dangerous?’.
After being here for 3 weeks, I can safely kick that unfortunate and commonly recited piece of travel advice ‘This is a dangerous country’ firmly onto the trash heap along with other travel idioms as ‘Don’t eat the street food’ or ‘Don’t trust strangers’. Although my relationship with Zimbabwe got off to a rocky start after flight delays and my luggage deciding to spend an extra night in Johannesburg, any apprehension or sense of foreboding quickly disappeared. The climate is just about perfect, the people have been so friendly and the place has a great vibe about it. I’m quickly falling for this place.
This is the 41st country I have been fortunate to visit and rarely have I come across such affable people. I hate to admit but the friendly, open and inquisitive nature of the locals initially caught me off-guard…and sometimes still does. My first reaction was to be suspicious, to question their motives….’What do they want? Absolutely nothing was the answer apart from a chance to smile, say hello and welcome me to Zimbabwe. I am slowly learning to smile and say hello to strangers and not to be so suspicious. When in Rome and all that!
Initial thoughts? I’m loving Zimbabwe so far. It has a great vibe and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I love waking up to sunshine, I love driving around the streets of Harare and exploring the local markets. Yes I know I’m still in the honeymoon phase and a little bit of the novelty will eventually wear off.
My aim over the next 3 years is to explore Zimbabwe and as many other Sub-Saharan countries as possible, take lots of pictures/videos and record it in this blog. There are so many things I want to do and see: safari in some of Africa’s best national parks, hear the roar of Victoria Falls, visit the Caprivi Strip, explore the Okavango Delta, dare the white water rapids of the Zambezi, walk along the white sands of the Bazarutu Archipelago, go diving in Lake Malawi and admire the stark beauty of Namibia’s Skeleton coast among many others. I can’t wait 🙂