Zimbabwe and Zambia – A short break

Until a few years ago I had never thought too much about Zimbabwe. Hanging out in Australia you know they had a bit of a go playing cricket now and then, you heard of the exploits of Robert Mugabe in his day, and knew that their inflation had constantly been totally out of control and people had wheelbarrows full of cash to buy milk…..That was about the extent of my knowledge, and even interest, then a few years ago when in a bar in Lahore, I will always be haunted by a meeting and a discussion with a new face in our club (as this was our weekly hang out – the International Club) .

The conversation, in short version went a bit like this: Me asking his name? (Andy was the reply), What did he do? (coaching the Pakistan batters, just back from NZ-Aust), Oh, i said, did you play, were you any good? (Yea played a bit in Zimbabwe and in the UK county a bit)…he then went outside with me knowing nothing of this guy….a quick Google search of – Andy Flower – brought up something that still haunts me thinking about my discussion with him to this day……(must to the amusement of Greg my American ‘friend’ in the photo).

“Andrew Flower OBE is a British-Zimbabwean cricket coach and former cricketer. As a cricketer, he captained the Zimbabwe national cricket team. He was Zimbabwe’s wicket-keeper for more than 10 years and statistically by far the finest batsman the country has fielded. He was, as well, the former England cricket coach.”

So that was 4 years…fast forward to my move to Cape Town, and there are people from Zimbabwe (or Zim) as they say EVERYWHERE….at my work, every second Uber driver, all over the place, and all awesome people, so it was only right that we make the opportunity to go and see some of what Zimbabwe has to offer.. So off we head for 5 day trip which includes a few of the activities (and details linked to below):

Lokuthula Lodge – Zimbabwe

 

 

 

 

 

Our accommodation is at the awesome looking 2 bedroom lodges around 3-4 km from the main town area. There are hourly shuttle buses to many key points in town including the falls, and shops etc and is set in a lush green garden, with many wild animals roaming the grounds, however apparently the electric fence keeps big game out, but there are warnings on a resident leopard and cheetahs etc being seen. The first thing we saw was a family group of close to 20 or more warthog walking through like the own the place and they are a common sight in front of or behind your unit. Add to this Mongoose, lots of monkeys (who will steal anything), baboons, and even a Vulture flock at the base of the neighbouring Safari Lodge. The whole complex has 4 different accommodation types and is home to the famous Boma Experience, a traditional dance show each night.

The hotel has a watering hole at the base of the valley where game come in to drink, however apart from Warthog, not a lot were seen there.

 

 

Posts on some of the tours we undertook whilst in Zimbabwe:

Zambezi River Cruise READ

Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe and Zambia READ

Devil’s Pool – on the edge of the world READ

Boma Dining Experience READ LINK

A few other things we did, saw or went to included:

Zambezi House   

On the banks of the Zambezi River and interesting restaurant sits, with a very casual and relaxed feel inside, and a massive tree growing through the centre- its more like an oversized tree house.

Dinner was had here one evening, and would recommend…very cool view of the ‘moonset’ but lots of bugs… More info at Zambezi House website

Jetboat Ride – the Boiling Pot – Zimbabwe 

Following a hike down to the base of the river from the top, of about 400 steps including the steepest stairway I have seen, and a cliff side walk along the so called ‘path’ (which is actually rocks with some cement here and there), we reached the bottom of Victoria Falls in an area known as the ‘Boiling Pot’. This is where the water flows from several parts of the falls from Zimbabwe and Zambia combine in the gorge creating a circular water flow, and is situated underneath the Zim-Zambia border bridge, making for spectacular view from above.

Once strapped in and given our safety briefing, we are off with several jumps of rapids, and the captain seeing just how much water he can dump all over us – which was welcomed as it was hot, before we headed upstream and around the corner into the direct base of the falls at Danger Point. Unfortunately we had no photos as this was simply too wet to being cameras, but the view from below was spectacular, with the strong mist and feeling of a torrential rain pelting on us from the power of the falls hit our faces. A total of around 40 mins or so were spent up and down the gorge, and under the falls before the walk back up the side of the hill brought us back to reality in a quick way!

This tour was booked from Shearwater Adventures, as well as the photo.

Zambezi Helicopter Flight

The helicopter flight has a 12-15 min and a 25min option, with the longer one going into the gorge and around the national park a bit. The views are spectacular and can be seen in the link to the Victoria Falls post above.

A few things about our Zim trip:

Everything in Zimbabwe is in USD, lcoal currency isn’t used at Victoria Falls, or if it is, not for tourists, so bring cash!

Almost every tour excludes a National Park fee, between $10-15 per person, and must be paid in cash to the tour operator, even the helicopter flight that flies over the falls (apparently because it leaves from inside the park (about 100m) this is why! Seems a bit of a dodgy thing, but it is what it is.

People are friendly, will chase you for a bargain, lots, but nothing to worry about.

It’s safe to walk around, no issues.

Overall highly recommended.

 

 

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