met Thoko in Harare at The Jameson Hotel and
after spending a day in H-town we got an ET
to Bulawayo. An ET is an Emergency Taxi here
in Zimbabwe - generally a combi or mini bus type vehicle
- and it was the only option available to us as both
coach and flight to Bulawayo were booked up. Built
for a driver plus 13 passengers, their entrepreneurial
drivers squeeze in at least 18 passengers and then
drive like the clappers to their destination. Instead
of sharing our seats with other passengers we "bought"
the back two rows of four seats - one for all our
luggage and one for ourselves. To say that the driving
scared us shitless would be an understatement! We
were traveling at night, having set off at dusk, and
were reminded of the Zimbabwean habit of indicating
with the offside turn indicator as we approached another
vehicle coming towards us from the other direction.
This is to let the other guy know were the outside
edge of your vehicle is! This isn't as obvious as
it seems as 1: There are no lights on Zimbabwean roads
outside of the towns, 2. African nights can be very
dark, 3. Half of the cars that you meet at night only
have one headlight and invariably it is the nearside
one, and finally, 4. Alot of the big trucks, and I
mean the really big one's that can squash you like
a bug, have their headlights "inset" by
about 8 inches from the outside edge of the vehicle.
pulled into Bulawayo at around 10 pm and checked into
The Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel. Now this used to
be a 4 star joint but I tell you straight that it
might just scrape 2 stars now. The rooms were a bit
grim and the place now seems to get most of it's business
from The Silver Fox NightClub opposite and
most of that by the hour it seems!
this jumped up knocking shop we then went to ZAK'S
PLACE. Now I can't really fault Zak's Place as
it was half the price of The Rainbow, ZW$ 12,000,
plus we took a family room which gave us two rooms
with an ensuite bathroom, plus Satellite TV, coffee/tea
making facillities and a good cooked breakfast every
morning. ZAK's is on Robert Mugabe Way between 13th
and 14th Avenues. Tel: (263 - 9) 881129/30, 881330.
The only small complaint I might have is that we had
a room that faced the main road and therefore was
a bit noisier than I expected or wanted.
made ZAK'S PLACE our main base of operations in Bulawayo
- we pointedly did not return to BERKELY PLACE (J.
Tongongara and Harare Road) as they were now insisting
on charging US$5 per person per night even for residents.
of money: the Zim dollar changes at 80:1 at the bank,
BUT, we got 2100:1 on the black market! The US$ is
similar, 55:1 at the bank and 1800:1 on the black,
or parallel, market. So basically our accomodation
cost GBP 6 per night, what a pleasure! And remember,
NEVER USE YOUR CREDIT CARD! You'll get billed at the
bank rate and your ZW $15 000 meal will end up costing
GBP 270 rather than GBP 7.5!
couldn't get out to Hwange due to fuel shortages -
no fuel, no transfers - so we went to a safari camp
close to Bulawayo (60 km). This one was called CAMP
AMALINDA, and it was, again, excellent! Here we
enjoyed sumptuous accomodations; a beautifull granite,
open air, swimming pool; Elephant rides and tracking
White Rhino on foot in the Rhodes Matopos National
I'll add more info, tel. no.s and photos etc soon,
Enzo & Thoko, MMIX
Self-Drive Safaris in East and Southern Africa
(0) 776 860 6729
(0) 1273 731 166
(0) 9 241 131