- Safari: Zimbabwe
Jasmine and myself travelled out to Zimbabwe in October
of 2001. We stayed for 2 weeks in Harare at "The
Bronte". An excellent hotel in the old colonial
style, situated in the northern suburbs of Harare.
One thing I was surprised about was the dire state
of the economy, since I left in '98 prices have gone
ballistic! With that and a government hell-bent on
destroying the soul of the country, I was pleased
to still find many familiar faces and businesses surviving
if not thriving. Of course life is harsh for the majority,
but you (as a visitor with foriegn exchange - forex)
can still have a wonderfull visit. With the black
market rate for the pound being anything from 350
dollars to the pound and up, now is the time to visit
some of Zimbabwe's more exclusive safari camps.
first weeks of this holiday were a bit quiet for me
as Thoko was working in ITDG's Harare office, Jasmine
was with her grandparents in Ntabazinduna and I was
just loafing around. I did manage to check out an
excellent hunting, camping & fishing outfitters
called "FEREDAYS" on Robert Mugabe Road.
It offers good, basic camping kit and it's own brand
of bags and packs. I also found "HARRISONS",
on Nelson Mandela Way, which had a good selection
of rifles but at prohibitive prices.
was busy, as usual, and there appeared to be no shortages
of fuel or food, but there did seem to be a shortage
of honest taxi drivers and good restaurants!!
Thoko had finished her work, we went back to Bulawayo
and then on to Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls.
After living large at "The Bronte" we found
something much simpler in Bulawayo: "BERKERLY
PLACE" on Josiah Tongongara. BP's is a simpler
establishment offering cheap (Around US$3 per night
for a single). clean & secure rooms and a rather
basic breakfast. There is a craft shop in BPs and
the owner can advise on where to get the best rates
for your forex (or you can email
me). It's close to the center of town and so you can
just jump in a taxi and have your breakfast at the
rather excellent "HEAFFELI'S COFFEE SHOP"
on Fife St.
you like steak, you'll love Bulawayo! After sampling
the peppered steak at about half a dozen different
restaurants I can assure you that the steaks at "LA
GONDOLA" on Robert Mugabe beat all others hands
down! I also ate at "CHINOS", a new development
on the Hillside Road, that has the brilliant "BRASS
MONKEY" bar alongside. OLAV'S in Bulawayo town
wasn't bad, and "THE CATTLEMAN" provided
a larger than usual, but rather less tasty, peppered
stuffing ourselves with steaks we decided to take
advantage of the Forex rate and book (via GEMSBOK
SAFARIS in Bulawayo) into one of Zimbabwe's premiere
safari camps: "THE
HIDE". This excellent camp is right on the
border of Hwange National Park and on our first evening
we saw Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Wild Dog! Jesus
we were chuffed! But the Elephants! We saw groups
of over 100 at water holes and pans EVERY afternoon
and evening! Family groups, old males, batchelor herds
and lots of youngsters to make you laugh.
met Greg Rasmussen, the Painted
Hunting Dog researcher, and had an "up close
and personal" with one of the park's resident
dog packs and all in all had a blissfull time in the
company of The Hide's resident guides, Daffy and Ryan.
October is usually the hottest month in Zimbabwe,
but Vic Falls was UNSUFFERABLY hot when we drove up
there - 40 degrees in the shade! We stayed at "THE
SPRAYVIEW HOTEL", another cheap (US$15 for family
room), clean and basic hotel on Vic Falls' main drag.
Anyway the other memorable thing in the Falls (apart
from the Falls themselves) are all the aggressive
sales people and con-artists about the town. A good
place to eat is "ON THE HOOF" in the Landela
Shopping Complex. Part of "THE BOMA", On
The Hoof offers: Croc tails, Warthog steaks and Ostrich
burgers as an alternative to the dubious meat in fast
back to Bulawayo I found a great place that makes
number plates, I'll get a pic up as soon as possible,
but these plates are stamped steel not plastic like
UK plates, and you can have them made up to say whatever
you want. I had BUNDU 1 and GB 2 ZW made up. They
also are stamped with the Zimbabwean bird as part
of the country's security system.
I'll add more info, tel. no.s and photos etc in the
Enzo & Thoko, MMIX
Self-Drive Safaris in East and Southern Africa
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