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  • Day2

    We arrived in the capital of Zimbabwe yesterday, a vast contrast to the surrounding countryside we had been in. The avenues of bungalows made you feel like you were in parts of rural Britain, apart from the walls, electric fencing, barbed wire, security guards and bars on windows! We are having a couple of nights staying in a hostel so all enjoyed a meal out at a western restaurant where we welcomed three new travel companions and said farewell to one. The party then continued once we were back at the hostel with everyone getting along really well. Today, after massive bacon sandwiches that we cooked for ourselves, a group of us went for a walk into town. It was enjoyable just to wander around the streets, not being bothered by people to buy things but just happy to offer directions or just chat. Since 2005 their economy has been in serious trouble and physical currency is scarce. People are able to draw out only $80 a month. People pay by using their phones and doing a bank transfer at the till. We are using US dollars but have managed to get a $2 Mozambique bond which is equivalent to a $2!US. The bonds are produced so the currency can be devalued at any time. Inflation is such that in 2005 there was a 20 thousand dollar note, three years later a 150 trillion dollar note had been issued. It became so bad that notes produced in a morning had been made obsolete by the following day. Tonight we went to the Oasis house and had a local meal cooked for us. We had beef stew and sadza, a polenta like consistency made from ground maize, mixed with water and heated up. Each country we have been in has it but calls it something different.Read more

  • Day7

    We went on a two hour horse ride through their game reserve where we saw giraffes, warthogs and wildebeest up close. In the distance we saw lions and elephants. It was a great way to see wildlife although James was told near the start that his horse doesn't like wildlife! Thankfully the horse behaved himself once he knew who was boss. Our route took us through open grasslands, thorny bushes and a waterhole.Read more

  • Day4

    We drove from Harare to Chimanimani, in the mountains to the east of Zimbabwe. We ended the last part of our long journey that day by having an impromptu Christmas party, including a sing-along to our Christmas album. Many of us realised that we had been away during the last Christmas so hadn't really celebrated it until then! We had lovely views of the mountains from where we stayed and enjoyed a relaxing day walking around the village, shopping for snacks, talking to locals and playing cards by a fire in the much cooler evening. They had an adorable dog that we wanted to adopt as our truck dog but not everyone was so keen (its owner included)!Read more

  • Day9

    We have had three amazing nights at Antelope Park, not only is it a relaxing place to stay with a great vibe, it has friendly staff and lots of wildlife activities. It is set in 1,215 hectares of bush with the main facilities set next to gardens, a river and reservoir. We were welcomed off the truck by some staff singing and playing the drums. Later on ponies, elephants, a bush baby and Jackie the donkey were wandering around camp! See later blogs for wildlife encounters. Our time here has been a highlight of Africa.Read more

  • Day8

    Five of us went to walk with the four elephants, for over 2 hours. It was an amazing opportunity to just follow them as they walked through the bush, eating the trees as they went. While they are peaceful animals they have incredible strength which we witnessed as they were either pushing trees over or ripping branches off. The thick thorns didn't bother them at all while they were eating them. We were able to touch them or just stand by watching them, although we chose to give a wide bearth to the least friendly female. It was fun watching them at a mud pool, although we did get splattered ourselves! They store upto 20 litres of water in their stomach and listening to them empty their full trucks sounds like a huge hose being emptied.Read more

  • Day9

    Believe it or not, these lions are only cubs! They are 21 months old and retire from walking with tourists at 24 months as they become to grown up. These four have already made three kills while on walking tours and tried to make their fourth today. We were out for about 1 hour walking with them and were only safe as long as we stayed in a pack. One girl strayed from the group and was hurriedly reined in as the three lions took to stalking her from the long grass! Demoing that they are still very wild creatures. When they were play fighting we got an idea of the size of them and the power as the male one jumped up.Read more

  • Day22

    We have had three 5am starts in a row now, followed by three long journey days to leave Zanzibar and head overland on the truck towards Malawi. The twelve hour travelling day on Tuesday was beaten by the 14 hour drive yesterday! Today's should only be about 10... A bonus of these long days means we have had two bush camps, the first one we had time for a camp fire which both Junior and Senior James managed to build very successfully. Arriving late last night we ditched the planned chicken stew and had a quick breakfast tea with left over potatoes, baked beans, tomatoes, eggs and toast - ideal when you're really hungry with all hands on deck. Often, the driver, hasn't had it easy, not only suffering from Malaria, another illness related to Malaria and Typhoid but is also a target for the very corrupt traffic police in Tanzania. Many times they stop him, to try and fine him for speeding, which clearly he hasn't but who can argue with them? All this and he has never complained once, he just keeps on smiling.
    Yesterday's scenery was particularly interesting with hills, valleys, villages boa boa trees (the same as boab trees in Aus) and a drive through Mikumi National Park as the main surfaced road transects it. Apparently it is home to pygmy elephants and other unusual looking wildlife. We saw lots of giraffes, zebra, warthogs, impala, birds, and blue wildebeest. All great to see from the truck while just driving through on route to somewhere else.
    Read more

  • Day1

    We entered Zimbabwe this morning (three countries in two days). It seems very poor, with coal and cattle as the main source of income. The homes still have a small cluster of buildings but these round houses have a higher pitched, thatched roof.

  • Day5

    We drove west across the country and stopped for the afternoon at the ruins just outside Masvingo. In the distance you could see a part of Lake Mutirikwe, just as we could from our camp that night. We were also treated to a meteor shower while lying down next to the camp fire.
    The ruined city is on a 722 hectare site and is the largest stone structure ever built south of the Sahara. It was a base for a succession of kings and rulers spanning four centuries and has subsequently had the whole country named after it. In Shona words it means 'houses of stone' referring to this and the hundreds of other smaller sites in the area. The first houses were built around AD1100 and in its heyday around 20,000 people lived there. Eventually the population outgrew the local resources necessary to sustain it.Read more

  • Day24

    For my Intrepid families past and present, and for those who have lived as part of an Intrepid family this one's for you...

    Life on the road is precious time when you leave the routine and comfort of home and swap it for a life way more adventurous. It usually involves lots of animals in their natural environment, villages, townships and experiences you just don't get at home. You meet amazing people from all corners of the globe with a variety of backgrounds and all in all, everyone just gets on with doing what the itinerary has on it for the day and the other responsibilities that being part of a participatory camping tour requires of you.

    As with any part of life though, life on the road can also be challenging in more ways than one. I have my own set of challenges that I am about to share, these may not have bothered others and things I haven't listed may have been the biggest for others. I am keen to hear your lists as well!

    1. Getting a good nights' sleep

    The deep, wake up refreshed kind of sleep. It seems such a natural part of the day but over the past 4 weeks there have been some hurdles to overcome (or not) in order to get some good sleep. Things like, leaving your tent zip slightly and I mean slightly undone and spending the night listening to a swarm of mosquitoes who shacked up all around me. Going to sleep in one layer of clothing only to discover that Africa in winter is freezing to the bone and your bladder decides it's ready for a short call at 1.34am. Your 2nd mattress you so smugly displayed on day 1 is a fraction of the size of the main one and you keep rolling off, particularly if over inflated and when you phone dies in the middle of the night and your alarm doesn't go off at 4.30am for a 5am roll out, leaving around 10 mins for a total pack down and a cup of tea before another long drive to do it all again.
    I have at times chosen to upgrade to a room. On that, I have absolutely no regrets.

    2. Hot Showers

    Each day our guide gives us information about where we are staying and it goes pretty much like this ... Jambo Jambo, welcome to Paradise Valley Campsite. Tonight we have facilities with hot showers, wifi and a human watering hole where you can buy your..........drinks. We then pitch the tents and head off to enjoy the facilities with the following chorus shortly being sung back from the crowd. Does anyone one know which tap is the hot one? Can anyone get the wifi to work? Does anyone know where the bar man has gone? I jagged a hot shower the other night after several fellow campers told me of their ice cold experience. I felt a little bit guilty and like a lottery winner all in one. We stayed at the Habitation of Hope campsite last night. Unfortunately all hope ran out at the same time as the gas for the hot water.

    3. African wifi

    See above. Buy a sim. Pray.

    4. Physical inactivity

    Nothing creates the need to snack more than physical inactivity. Several hours of sitting on the truck moving only your bum cheeks to remind you they are still there sets off the part of the brain that tells you if you don't immediately eat a bag of salt and vinegar chips and wash it down with a ginger beer you might not make it to dinner. It's life and death, therefore you snack.

    5. Mental inactivity.

    A big one for me. I have practiced being in the moment by looking out the window and counting any trees with coloured flowers, trying to spot animals (even when in places where there are no animals), and being generally appreciative that I am staring at something other than Microsoft Outlook. My iPod has gone around the playlist so often it sounds like commercial radio and it was on one of these drives that myself and two fellow passengers decided we need to up the game.

    We are now involved in several personal challenges that need to be achieved each day or in the case of the "most interesting photo of a clip on kangaroo" challenge, this is to be judged in Victoria Falls by the trip matriarch Rose.

    The list is long but some of the challenges include, the "Octo flap" this is the skill of being able to effectively flap 8 coffee mugs dry at the same time. This one was proudly achieved this morning.

    We have the Masai blanket challenge and that is for any one of us to be able to get Pato to willingly offer us his Masai blanket. Not achieved.

    The Flap Lap, a mental and physical challenge of running one lap around the truck while flapping two plates without another passenger making a comment about what you are doing, coming to a campsite near you tonight, and ...

    The Jambo Fact, standing up on the truck and commanding the attention of the rest of the truck by confidently hollering Jambo Jambo, something about Bulawayo .... and sharing a historical fact.

    If nothing else it is keeping us insanely amused. We giggle like school girls and the days seem to go faster. Now does anyone have any salt and vinegar chips?
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Zimbabwe, Simbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zembabwe, ዚምቧቤ, زيمبابوي, Zimbabve, Зімбабвэ, Зимбабве, Zimbabuwe, জিম্বাবুয়ে, ཛིམ་བྷཱ་བེ།, ཛིམ་བབ་ཝེ, Zimbabwe nutome, Ζιμπάμπουε, Zimbabvo, Zimbawe, رودزیای جنوبی, Simbaabuwe, Simbabvi, An tSiombáib, Cimbabue, ઝિમ્બાબ્વે, זימבבואה, ज़िम्बाब्वे, Զիմբաբվե, Simbabve, ジンバブエ共和国, ზიმბაბვე, ហ្ស៊ីមបាបវ៉េ, ಜಿಂಬಾಬ್ವೆ, 짐바브웨, زیمبابوی, ຊິມບັບເວ, Zimbabvė, Zimbaboe, സിംബാബ്വേ, झिम्बाब्वे, Żimbabwe, ဇင်ဘာဘွေ, जिम्बाबे, ଜିମ୍ବାୱେ, Zimbábue, Zimbäbwe, සිම්බාබ්වේ, Simbaabwe, ஜிம்பாப்வே, జింబాబ్వే, ซิมบับเว, Simipapuei, Зімбабве, زمبابوے, Dim-ba-bu-ê (Zimbabwe), Orílẹ́ède ṣimibabe, 津巴布韦, i-Zimbabwe

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