Usually when you mention tourism and Zimbabwe in the same sentence the iconic Victoria Falls is probably the first thing that springs to mind. However, if you follow that 500 million litres of cascading water eastwards into Lake Kariba and onwards through the Kariba gorge the Zambezi eventually spreads out into a flattened, fertile floodplain ringed by the forested blue mountains of the Zambezi escarpment. This area of Zimbabwe’s southern bank is where you can find Mana Pools National Park and a camping experience like no other.
American Bill Bryson in his book ‘Notes from a Small Island’ wryly observed that us Brits have the idea that Britain is a big place and therefore we have a unique and private sense of distance. After my second road trip in Southern Africa, I’ve found myself living up to the stereotype. I used to think driving the 415 miles (668 km) from Edinburgh to London was an epic and exhausting road trip, but I’m quickly realising that if you want to explore Southern Africa by road then a paltry 415 miles is not really very far at all. Southern Africa is vast and when you factor in the bureaucracy, perplexity and commotion of border check points then a road trip here truly does become ‘epic and exhausting’.
‘I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward’
There are so many faces to the ultimate travel experience that in such an astonishingly diverse region it is difficult to pick out a bucket list of what you want to see, do and feel. Southern Africa really does offer the full spectrum of experiences ranging from enchanting wildlife encounters, immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage, exploring remote landscapes and wilderness to throwing yourself into adrenaline pumping fun and adventure.
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.