Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Buses and sore bums

Travelling is so much fun! Woke up at 7am to try and find some transport to Zimbabwe as all the main bus firms were fully booked until the 6th. David, one of the Brown Sugar drivers was very kind and advised me that he was off work but would be in town and could help me find some otherbuses that run straight to Bulawayo. I got a lift down to meet him and we went to a smaller bus depot two blocks away from the main station. The companies (Revivo and Senatar) were not listed on the internet so I was quite intrigued as to what I would find. The compound was small and packed with people and their bags with two older buses idling in the corner. David got me a ticket for just 250 Rand and by 1130 the bus was as full as it could possibly get and so we began the long journey north.

We had soon left the city behind and the landscape became brown and barren. It was mostly flat with some interesting large and smooth rock outcrops that looked pretty ancient. The fields were dotted with small termite mounds but otherwise there was not much to see. After about four hours we stopped for a break and foolishly I only bought a soft drink. The next stop after that was five hours later at the Zimbabwe border! By this time the landscape was more forested and mountainous. Suddenly we were there and all shuffled off welcoming the opportunity to stretch our legs. Being the only non Zimbabwean on the bus I ran around wanting to be certain I was in the correct queue as I knew I would need to get a visa. I met Brian from Bulawayo who held my spot in the queue and we chatted a while about the IT industry in Europe. Once stamped out of South Africa we boarded the bus for five minutes and then we were in Zimbabwe!

Everyone got off again to queue for the passport stamp and then I spotted the visa counter, got my forms filled in and 55$ lighter I now had my visa for 30 days. After two hours we were finally done and able to head off to Bulawayo. On arriving at about 1am I was told there was a bus to Vic Falls at 0530hrs so I dozed in the station for a couple of hours and soon I was off again! This second trip was another slow run up but at least I could now watch the landscape change again. The weather was getting much warmer and I noticed the termite mounds were now huge, some several metres high. On arriving at Vic Falls I found a backpackers called Shoestrings and went for a well earned sleep in order to get in contact with the lion project early the next day.

Sunday morning arrived and while walking around town I stumbled across the project offices and wandered in to see if there was any way I could drop in a day early. Nathan Rabinovitch the Project Organiser was there and said I could move over to the rest lodge they use immediately if I liked. Off I went and was overjoyed to find nice two person rooms with hot showers in each building and a nice swimming pool in the gardens! One of the organisers introduced himself as Ed and told me the volunteers were going over to a 5 star lodge to watch the sunset above a watering hole (nice start!) so I hopped in the pickup and off we went to an awesome place with incredible views. There were some Marabou storks and a kind of very small antelope drinking so I snapped a few shots and had a drink while meeting some of my fellow volunteers and finally starting to relax properly. After sundown we headed back for a good nights sleep and thoughts of what it would be like to meet a lion.


  1. Another good read dude and glad things have worked out so well and at last your able to chill out for a while in Z'we.

  2. Thanks man, wait for the next post when I have time - should be over the weekend. The kitties are awesome! Chilled out is right, life is so different at the moment its crazy.
    Hope all is well up north. Lastly thanks for the comments, it is the closest I get to talking to my friends at the moment as internet here is almost nonexistent at times. ;P

  3. What a wonderful time you're having, and how exciting to follow your experiences on the blog. Love and miss you.

  4. Happy national day!!!! Having a beer or 2 tonight for all of Gib!

  5. Que pasa dude!! I see that you're having a fantastic time, you lucky bugger. Bueno en Gibtelecom like always todo trankilo :). Looking forward to your next post. Bueno back to the NOC. Take care.