2012 Africa

Zimbabwe Revisited Part 3

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Next stop was Victoria Falls, again! We stayed at Shoestrings Backpackers, again! We took a look at the Victoria Falls, again! We even walked across the bridge into Zambia and had a meal on the Zambian side. If you just want to walk onto the bridge you can get a ”bridge pass” at the border control, but if you want to enter Zambia make sure you have a double entry VISA to Zimbabwe, else you will have to buy a new VISA when you re-enter Zimbabwe again. A VISA to Zambia costs $25, a VISA to Zimbabwe costs $35 if I remember correctly.

The falls looked as amazing as I remembered them. And wet. Very wet. Since we spent some time here I managed to convince most of the gang to join me on another white water rafting tour. And of course I wanted the same guide as I had 2 months ago. Titanic! So we walked into Shearwater Adventures office and booked a rafting trip. And we were lucky! The rafting had been closed for almost 2 months due to the high water levels. The Monday we had booked on was the first day they would do it!

Said and done, the very next day we left. The road was as bumpy and the truck was as noisy and uncomfortable as the last time. We arrived at the same place as I had done 2 months earlier, we got our ”spoons” and the soup was just down in the gorge. We climbed down and after the usual safety instructions we we’re on the way. And it turned out to be a really good adventure. The Zambezi river was really aggressive and we had to paddle like crazy!

IMG_7109Then it happened! A huge wave flipped the boat! Everyone ended up in the water. We spent 1/3 of the rafting distance picking up members and their paddles. When we arrived at the sand bank where we had stopped and rested the last time we were exhausted. For me, it was loads of fun, but some of the others were not as enthusiastic as I were.

After some less dramatic rafting we arrived at pick up point of the rafting and we got to climb all the way up from the gorge again. And on the top we were greeted by food and ice cold drinks. Back at the lodge I met some nice people who I chatted with for a long time. I also met a South African tour leader who taught me the rules in rugby and also made me like the game!

From Victoria Falls it was just a short drive to Botswana, but before crossing the border we entered a small national park around Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge. We weren’t to excited about the park so we left or the border station instead.

Gallery updated with pictures from Zimbabwe!

2012 Africa

Zimbabwe Revisited Part 2

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IMG_6859Arriving in Harare also marked the end of the second leg of my trip. Here some people left and some new people joined. One of the new people joining was my friend from back home called Franciska. Being away from home for now about 3 months made me start to long for my friends. And having one of them joining me made me really happy.

With the new people installed we left Harare behind us and was aiming for the caves in Chinhoyi. On the way there we noticed several places where they sold worms for fishing. The display for the worms was quite entertaining. The caves proved to be really cool and we also found that the water in the cave was very blue. This night we stayed the night in a small village and in the morning a woman from the village asked us if we had heard the hyena which had been standing right outside our camp site and howled. We didn’t. She also told us that two nights before some elephants had strolled through the village and destroyed some fences and a water pipe.

IMG_6906On our way to Lake Kariba we met a German couple who had some trouble with their car. We helped them fix the car temporary and hopefully they managed to get to some place where they could fix it properly. We continued towards Lake Kariba and finally we ended up in some kind of resort that looked really luxury. Turned out that the place was more or less deserted. There was some staff there who maintained it and we could stay there. Last time they had had any visitors was 3 months ago but they were very happy we came.

We booked a boat trip on Lake Kariba the coming day which turned out really nice. We spent the whole day on the boat, saw some elephants, hippos, crocodiles and of course lots of birds. Some of us spent an hour fishing or so. When we got back from the boat trip we cooked the fish which tasted pretty nice. We also pealed the last of the peanuts we bought in Mozambique and roasted them on the open fire with some oil and salt. The result was quite nice!

2012 Africa

Zimbabwe Revisited Part 1

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IMG_6825After crossing the border we more or less headed straight for the capital Harare. Finding a place to stay in Harare seemed harder than we thought. We know there would be just one or two places with camp site possibilities and it turned out both were closed when we got there. After spending several hours looking for a place to stay we finally got some help from a man who showed us some kind of camp site outside of town. In this camp site we met a Danish couple who were also doing a tour in Africa with a 4×4 car. It was nice exchanging experiences with them. That night it was really cold but luckily for us the sun made it really warm and nice quite quickly.

After consulting the internet for a while we found out that there was a place called It’s A Small World Backpackers that might be able to provide us with a parking space for the cars so we drove there. The place was located in a very green part of Harare, I’d like to say that it was really beautiful around there. I think it was located in one of the more wealthy parts of the town. I liked Harare because of it’s mix of western and African civilization.

One of the nights we decided it was party time for real so we took a bush taxi into downtown Harare, found us a restaurant (we had to ask some gentlemen to direct us to one because it was quite hard to find a good one) and after the restaurant we went on to some kind of club where a local band was playing and everyone was very happy and dancing, which we also did. When we went outside we was very close to get arrested by some corrupt policemen who threatened us with jail if we didn’t bribe them but after some discussion and some help from one of the locals the policemen left.

The guy that helped us advised us to leave the area in case the policemen would return, they were a bit grumpy about not getting any bribes so we continued into a international night club called Chez Ntemba close by. It was no one there but we paid the entrance fee and got our stamps so we could return later on. Then we found another guy that tipped us about a place called The Londoner which was supposed to be good. We took a taxi there and once again we almost got arrested by corrupted cops but this time we got away much easier. And for free as well thanks to our taxi drivers.

Well at the Londoner the climate was a bit tense because everyone in there first thought we were some white Zims (Zim = person living in Zimbabwe, and also short for Zimbabwe) and the white population of Zimbabwe is not always liked everywhere. But after convincing the people there that we were only tourists they changed the mood and welcomed us. The place was packed with people, it didn’t smell very good and the music was so loud that you could not have a normal conversation but we had a really great time there. I met a lot of interesting people and even got invited to a coming party which I had to decline since we would have leave Harare in a day or two.

Sometime later that night we left the Londoner and went on to the international night club again. No police around, good for us. We went in and continued the party there until the place closed and we had to get back to the backpacker lodge. The day after me and Veronica went on a small trip into downtown Harare again. We visited the Harare Gardens which turned out to be a really dry garden but it draw a lot of people anyway, I guess being able to sit in the shadow below a tree is a international pleasure!

2012 Africa

Mozambique Part 2

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When we arrived at Inhambane we spent some time just driving back and forth because we didn’t really know which way to take to Tofo but we finally found some kind of off road road through a tropical jungle. While driving between coconut palms and small huts we got chased by some kids who thought it was fun to jump onto our cars and stand on the back bumpers and ride along with us. That was not the safest way of transportation I’ve seen but I’ve seen some crazy stuff down in Africa.

Fatima’s Backpackers have a lodge in Tofo as well so that became our obvious place of rest this time also. Not only did we get discount for having stayed at Fatima’s Backpackers in Maputo, we also got an excellent service and had a great time on the beach. In Tofo we stayed like a three or four nights doing nothing really. Just relaxing, chilling and having a good time. I rented a beach bungalow for the duration of my stay here. I also went on a diving trip which was nice.

The kids on the beach sold both roasted cashew nuts and fresh pineapple, it’s hard to resist these culinary delicacy. There are some nice restaurants around in Tofo by the way. They might be a bit more expensive than the ”common Mozambique” restaurant since Tofo is considered a tourist place but still they are cheap. And the food is excellent. Try the fish or seafood, you won’t be disappointed. Fatimas has a restaurant of their own which is also good so don’t miss it out i you’re here! Tofo is also the pace to go if you like reggae because they play it everywhere. I’d say it adds to the atmosphere!

After Tofo it was time to move north and west again so we took the road to Chimoio, from Chimoio it is only 90 kilometers to the border to Zimbabwe. But before we reached Chimoio we stopped at a small village somewhere along the road where we met a very nice old woman who showed us how they harvest peanuts. We thought we could buy some peanuts from her, turned out we got a small sack of peanuts for the money we gave her. It was a very nice stay, but we had to move on to reach Zimbabwe in time.

IMG_6802In Chimoio we got ourselves a surprise. When we stopped at a Shoprite to buy some supplies we found a Danish guy who invited us to stay at his place for the night. We followed him to a small work shop where we could put our cars behind the walls. That night we had another barbeque party with Niels Bonefeld, the founder of Baisikeli. He explained his bushiness idea for us which I actually found to be smart. I like that he was very honest about it as well. Check out their website for more information.

After having a good night of sleep and a breakfast worthy a king we packed our stuff, said goodbye to Niels and headed towards the border. At the border station it was time to get rid of the remaining meticals (the money they use in Mozambique) so I bought a bottle of vodka for $1 and a six pack of coke for $6. The Vodka tasted horrible and just a few centiliters of it required a full can of coke. I knew it was something fishy with the vodka being so cheap!

Gallery updated with pictures from Mozambique!

2012 Africa

Zimbabwe Part 2

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After Victoria Falls we went to a town called Hwange and bought some supplies before we went on to Hwange Game Reserve. This park is famous for it’s huge population of elephants and there is also supposed to be a lot of lions here. We saw no lions. But we had some really nice experiences with the elephants. Driving through the reserve we realized that it would soon be dark so we better find some place to rest.

IMG_3879Along the road we picked up a ranger who took us to a campsite where we stayed for the night. Just outside the campsite there was a water hole with hippos in so we spent the evening with eating our dinner watching the hippos come out of the water in the darkness. And suddenly a huge lone elephant bull came walking right below us. The joy of sitting there beneath the twinkling stars watching this amazing wildlife is indescribable. The next day we would proceed towards the exit of the reserve and towards the border of Botswana. If only someone would let us out!

Suddenly we see two female rangers running towards us with AK47’s on their backs. When they arrived they explained that they had been hunting baboons. Then they let us out and we were on our way to Botswana. We arrived at a really small and more or less unused border crossing right before it was about to close for the night. I say unused because the last car that had passed before us passed the border 2 months earlier.

2012 Africa

Zimbabwe Part 1

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Arriving in the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls in the afternoon the best thing we could do was finding a place to stay. We ended up in a place called Shoestrings Backpackers and had our first pizza for this trip. We camped in the cars in the backyard which suited us pretty good. Now, we knew there were some cool stuff to do around here. One of us had serious thoughts of bungee jumping, I convinced 3 others that we should go white water rafting on the Zambezi river (which is supposed to be one of the top 5 best white water rafting in the world with a rate of 4 & 5 and sometimes even 6).

Said and done, we went out to find someone who could take us. We found that Shearwater Adventures were the perfect providers of adventure for us! So we booked a tour the next coming day. In the evening we took a short tour on the town to see what was up in Zimbabwe. Found a bar called Hunters where we spent some time before going back home.

The following morning we were awakened by a thunderclap and then the sound of a lightning splitting a tree somewhere really close. Well, now that mother nature had our attention we figured we should crawl out of bed and prepare for the white water rafting. A couple of hours later we were on the back of a truck that slowly worked it’s way forward through the harsh and unforgiving nature around the Zambezi river. When we finally arrived at the starting site we got our safety gear (helmet, life jacket and paddle) and the guide pointed down the gorge and said: Here’s your spoon, there’s your soup!

We begun descending down to the ”bottom” of the gorge with a lot of inconvenience while the staff ran up and down like it was nothing. At the bottom of the gorge we got appointed a guide for our raft. His name was Titanic. This didn’t bode all to well. After a while the staff had pumped the boats and deployed them into the water and we could finally begin the white water rafting!

We went about 10 km downstream and had a really good experience. Some really good splashes and me and Robban fell into the water once but over all it was a really good ride. Oh the fun!!! When we were done and finally hit a shore where the water was calm we had to climb up the gorge again. Now, tired after the rafting and carrying the helmet, life jacket and paddle in the hot sun was not a nice experience. But when we got to the top we got our reward!

The staff from the truck had set up a BBQ and there was a huge chest full with ice cold beer, soft drinks and water. The food was so tasty and sitting on the edge of the gorge looking out over the mighty Zambezi river was something extraordinary!

The next day we left Victoria Falls, but before we left one of us wanted to do a bungee jump. I’m quite impressed considering he was 58 years old doing this jump. All respect to Christer!

2012 Africa

Zambia Part 2

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IMG_3542What to do in Lusaka except for the more obvious things? Well, we found the New City Market and Kamwala Market where they sold even more stuff than in the market in Lilongwe. Here I bought a fake Nokia for cheap. Always good to have a less expensive phone when out traveling. We also found the local brew Shake Shake which tasted worse than anything I’ve tried before.

We also learned that there was some decent night clubs around so we decided to visit them. The first one we arrived to was a Polo Club and felt a bit too posh for us so the taxi driver took us to a theater where they had a pub also. In the pub we met some nice people who told us to go to Kalahari which is a famous club for African music. On the way there we kind of wondered where they were taking us since we seemed to pass through some really rough neighborhoods but when we arrived we got a very pleasant surprise. The music there was indeed really good.

Here we also met two local girls who took us to another night club and then after that the night ended. The next day we went to Cairo Road to have some shwarmas which is the closest we could get to good food the day after heavy drinking. When we left Lusaka behind us we passed through another village where we played some football with the villagers before sleepy time.

Our goal was the town of Livingstone on the Zambian side of the Zambezi river and the mighty Victoria Falls. On our way to Livingstone we passed through a town called Choma where we visited a museum where I think I learned to drink coffee. There was also a market situated right at the rail yard. Seemed a bit risky but okay.

We stayed in Livingstone for 2 days, enough to visit the museum about Dr. Livingstone and the area. The day we left for Zimbabwe we also passed through a national park called  Mosi-O-Tunya Zoological Park. In this park we had a quick walking safari to see some rhinos. It felt a bit scary to stand so close to the rhinos who can be quite aggressive if threatened but the park keepers told us we were safe behind some bushes and a fallen log. I guess we had to rely on their expertise in the matter. The only thing I know is that poachers are hunting the rhinos for their horns.

Later that day we came upon the Victoria Falls and entered the Zambian side of the falls and became extremely wet since the falls produce this massive water vapor that rains down all over the area. However, looking at the falls was really nice, they are truly majestic with their 1.7 km which makes them the largest falls, not the widest and not the highest but the most ”massive” falls.

The only thing remaining now was crossing the bridge over the Zambezi river, the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and so we did! A very narrow bridge and only one file to go alongside the railway tracks so in every end of the bridge there is a guy who opens the bar over the road to let the traffic through in sequenses.

The gallery is now updated with pictures from Zambia!

2012 Africa

2012 Africa Introduction

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In the winter of 2012 I went on a expedition trip through 10 African countries during 4 months. I left Sweden on the 12th of February and arrived back home again on the 16th of June. I went with a company called 4x4expedition.se whose concept is going by car by a loosly planned route where the participants can make decisions on where to go and how long to stay. The cars are equiped with tents on the roof so that we can camp, there’s also small gas stoves and other equipment needed for camping. So the concept is also not so much hotels and resturants (which makes traveling pretty cheap since we buy most food from local stores/markets).

The trip was divided into 3 legs.

The first leg started 20th of February in Dar Es-Salaam, Tanzania and went through Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and ended in Cape Town, South Africa on the 14th of April.

The second leg started in Cape Town on the 20th of April and went through South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and ended in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 19th of May.

The third leg started on the 20th of May and went from Harare to Victoria Falls and then to Botswana through the Kalahari back to South Africa and ended on the 10th of June in Cape Town.

I stayed a couple of extra days in Cape Town before flying home. Also, the dates mentioned here might differ a bit, I don’t remember entierly but they should be somewhat accurate. I should have done this when I got home 5 months ago, not now. Oh well. Enjoy anyway!

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