Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Curious what backpackers do in Zimbabwe? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
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Most traveled places in Zimbabwe:

  • 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.
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  • Day1

    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

  • Day17

    Lazy morning. Still up at 6:30 but only by our internal alarms. Breakfast is included at this hotel, so we met up with mom and dad for breakfast at 9. At 10, Yvonne picked us up to go to Victoria Falls (only a few minutes away). She had pre purchased tickets, so we walked right in. She gave us a short orientation and discussion about the falls and we started our 4.4km, leisurely walk, with 16 look-out points to appreciate the exquisite falls. March and April are the high water flow months for the falls. By November the volume of water will have greatly decreased.
    The falls were made famous by Dr. David Livingstone in 1855 when he came across them for the first time. ("Dr. Livingstone I presume?") Yvonne brought us ponchos for the wet portion of the trip which was a must (to stay dry anyway!). I had a chance to talk with Yvonne quite a bit on the walk. She is so easy to talk to and is very honest about the state of affairs in Zimbabwe (though it would be illegal for her to say some of the things she says!) Belmond subcontracts her to guide tours in this area. She started her business, Routes Through Africa, 6 years ago after managing the local Abercrombie and Kent tour operator office here in Victoria Falls. She tells us that very few women own their own companies in this country. Pretty remarkable!
    We had lunch with Yvonne at The Lookout Cafe (recommended by her) which had beautiful views of the falls and the historic bridge (finished in 1904) that spans the Zambezi River. Ken had crocodile which truly tastes just like chicken. (I confirmed. 😊) This restaurant is also the point where travelers sign up for bungee jumping, swinging and zip line. We saw a few people jump. Made me sick just looking at them!
    We had a half hour back at the hotel before Yvonne drove us to our next activity at 3:30p. We took a sunset cruise on the Ra Ikane, a small skiff with seating for 12. Drinks were included along with some small appetizers which were fine, not excellent. We had nice views of birds and crocodiles, a water monitor lizard, saw hippos, and saw another lovely sunset. We were back at 6:15p.
    Yvonne picked us up and drove us back to the hotel (5-10 minutes).
    We ate at the terrace again, this time just dessert. The ice cream brownie was mediocre in my opinion.
    An early night tonight - back up to the room by 7:30, but Ken and I ended up sitting in the lounge downstairs so that the room could be turned-down.
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  • Day1

    After a lunch in between two countries waiting for visas to be issued, we drove into Malawi. A hill range with tea plantations marked the end of Tanzania and the beginning of Malawi, quite a marked difference. It's known as having the friendliest people in Africa and so far it seems to be the case. Lots of waving, shouting and running to catch a glimpse of the big yellow truck and it's strange cargo of musungu (white foreigners) leaning out the sides.
    The camp is on the sandy shore of Lake Malawi, more like a sea than a lake.
    Today we chose to visit the local town to have a look at the infrastructure and facilities including a school, hospital, day centre for orphaned children and the local witch doctor!
    More happy people who were very friendly and loads of children who just wanted to play and have their photos taken (in order to see the results on the screen). Not once were we asked for pens, sweets, money or passports.
    The school has 13 teachers with up to 120 children crammed into each room, with no desks or electricity. Louisa thinks she has a hard time with 30! We support UNICEF so it's interesting to see how vaccines are supplied, stored and administered by them. The doctor said that without that assistance the hospital wouldn't exist at all. The state of the hospital was shocking to see, with basic facilities and instruments. The doctors and nurses are doing what they can but funding from the government is limited.
    From this to a visit to a witch doctor who provides alternative mental, physical and spiritual treatments. After a quick dance demonstration to see how he gets into a trance we looked, smelled and snorted some treatments for various ailments - including a hangover remedy which is mixed with beer...... It's easy to be sceptical, but the fear of bad spells from evil witches is widely believed in here, so a great deal of faith and trust is put in this person.
    At the day centre all the children wanted to do was play and try on sunglasses, so we arrived, caused chaos then left! I'm sure the children see a few tourists but all they are interested in is playing and being entertained now!
    Quite an interesting but also thought provoking day.
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  • Day3

    What a way to celebrate a crew members birthday, go to the market and buy a fancy dress costume for someone else to wear! Think the ladies of the group got off lightly whereas cross dressing is apparently illegal in Malawi so just as well we stayed in the camp all evening. Not sure what the campsite owners children thought of us. We spent two nights here which gave us plenty of opportunity to swim in the clear blue water that felt more like the sea than a lake with the white sand. Lou swam to the island and back, about 1.6 km or 62 lengths of a pool, not bad with a hangover, and jumped off one of the high rocks there. The nearby river has crocs but they only occasionally venture into the lake at night, thankfully there were none around while we were there. We also had the use of old windsurfer boards to play on as well as a rubber ball that we picked up while driving through the rubber plantations on our riute to here. We were treated to a massive hog roast and jacket potatoes for tea.Read more

  • Day5

    We arrived in the outskirts of the capital yesterday, called Lilongwe, and left this morning but I don't think we missed much as it seemed like any other town. All the rest of our driving has been through rural areas, vastly different from home and very interesting to see. Apart from a problem with blue plastic bags littering the edge of each village, the scenery is very picturesque. Most villages are made up of rectangular and round mud houses, each home having a collection for either sleeping in, cooking in or washing in. All the water for the village is collected from a central hand pump and carried back on their head, age not mattering as we have seen very young children with small bowls on their heads. Apart from farming, people make money by making bricks or charcoal which they sell in white bags by the side of the road (this is what we use to cook with daily). Roads are pretty bad here so we are thankful for seatbelts when sitting at the back of the truck as you get thrown into the air a few times! It's much less bumpy at the front and less windy than the back when we drive with the sides up or the beach roof up.Read more

  • Day18

    Mom got her hair done in the hotel at 9am while Ken and I went down for breakfast. They offer a breakfast buffet which is not bad. We left at 10am for a lion walk which mom arranged for since they had done it 7 years ago and really enjoyed it. Interestingly, Belmond - who arranged the trip for us - does not support the lion walk and so couldn't arrange it for us. A young woman named Amanda picked us up in an open safari vehicle. We had to stop at their office in town to pay for the excursion. While Ken and mom went inside to pay, dad and I were shooing away individuals trying to sell us bracelets or the, now worthless, Zimbabwean trillion dollar bills which are no longer in circulation. It was a 20 minute ride from there, mostly on bumpy road. Once there, we were greeted in an outdoor 'reception' area and joined by an American tour group. They gave us an orientation that included their conservation efforts and desire to release lions back into the steadily decreasing lion population. All well and good though there was quite a bit of discussion about how they count on us, as tourists, to help fund their endeavors (through the walk, purchasing their lion walk products, buying the video they were going to make of us, etc...)
    We broke up into 2 groups and walked with walking sticks which were to help establish some level of dominance with the lions. They brought 2 lions to walk with us, a female and male pair of cousins who were 19 and 21 months. They were playful with each other which was adorable. We walked, in pairs, with the lions through the bush. The walking terrain was quite difficult for mom. Dad appeared to do fine with it. It was actually hard to keep up with the lions as they were pretty fast! There were a couple of guides with us and lion handlers as well - even a gentleman with a rifle. The guide took all of the cameras and took many pictures. After we each walked with the lions, the animals rested in the shade and we each went up (behind them!) to pet their backs and get pictures. We were asked to tip the handlers and that was pretty much that. We went back to the reception area for light snacks and a drink and to watch the videos they wanted to sell us. The whole thing seemed heavy handed, and it wasn't entirely clear to us what the purpose of the business was - to help save lions (though not one has been released back into the wild since the lion walks started over 7 years ago) or to just make money. Still, Ken and I enjoyed the pictures we got (expensive ones though! - $150/person).
    We got back to the hotel by 1:15 and left with Yvonne, at 2p, for Ken and me to be able to say we've been to Zambia! She drove us the 4 of us to the check point and across the border. We all met up with a driver (Calvin) who drove us to the Livingstone Hotel - a beautiful 5 star hotel with gorgeous grounds overlooking the Zambezi River. We had a drink outside and had another nice conversation with Yvonne about the state of affairs in Zimbabwe. There is still a bride price here which allows for male ownership of women. If a woman is mistreated by her husband her parents will often encourage her to stay in the marriage because they can't pay back the dowry. Yvonne, herself, is divorced. There is about a 50% divorce rate here.
    We discussed the race delineation here including black, white, and colored (child of mixed parents) groups, the latter being a difficult word to accept in my vocabulary but is common place here.
    We were able to see a room at the hotel and it was very nice. There were also zebra all over the property which I'm a big fan of. 😁
    We drove the 5 minutes back to the border, switched back into Yvonne's vehicle and she took us the 5 minutes back to our hotel. So we've officially been to 4 more African countries!
    At 7p, mom, dad, Ken and I had dinner reservations and ate at the Livingstone Room at the hotel. It's their fanciest restaurant. The service was excellent, the food very good and the prices very reasonable for such a nice restaurant. And, of course, the company was great too! It's been a wonderful 2.5 week trip and we always love traveling with my parents. They make it very easy!
    Tomorrow we will have breakfast here and leave for the Victoria Falls airport at 11 to catch a British Airways flight to Johannesburg at around 1pm. It's an under 2 hour flight. If all runs on time, we will leave for Atlanta at 8pm and will get in 16 hours later. We will finally get home at around 11.
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  • Day37

    I bungee jumped off of Victoria Falls Bridge which is situated between Zimbabwe and Zambia, so I guess you could say I bungee jumped in two countries at once!

    This is the third bungee jump that I have done but that adrenalin you get from jumping off of a bridge will always be there, the feeling you get while free falling is not comparable to anything else!

  • Day16

    Had a shortened game drive this morning from 7 to 10:30. Only a pride of lions worth mentioning though they did perform when they suddenly ran after a Steenbok. It was quick though with no catch.
    Our 14 seater flight left for Kasabi at 11:25. This time I was prepared! Scopolamine patch, Meclizine and Zofran to start then no looking outside the window and staying distracted playing a game on my iPad. Worked like a charm! The flight was 40 minutes long. We were met by Yvonne, our guide for this last portion of our trip. She seems wonderful - beautiful English and incredibly knowledgeable. The historical and current political/societal conflict in Zimbabwe is extraordinarily depressing. It is a true dictatorship here led by Robert Mugabe (who is 93 years old). There is a 95% unemployment rate! Zimbabweans are required to use banks to save money with strict limits on what cash can be withdrawn. The government changed currency suddenly several years back (from a highly devalued currency to the US dollar). This was done overnight and those with a lifetime of savings in the banks, lost it all. There is enormous corruption and voter fraud here so little changes. Makes one grateful to live in a democratic country!
    Yvonne drove us the 10 minutes into Zimbabwe. We had to purchase our visas (good for both Zimbabwe and Zambia which is very close) and clear customs. This took about 30 minutes including time in line. She then drove us 60km (about 40-50 minutes) to Victoria Falls where she dropped us off at the Victoria Falls Hotel. Very elegant hotel much like the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island - fancy in its heritage, location and view but small rooms with little storage (no towel rods which is strange). We are in room 136 and mom in dad in room 137. Unfortunately, we are on the 2nd floor with no elevator here which is tough for both mom and dad.
    We had 45 minutes before we left for a helicopter ride above the falls at 4. (12-15 minute ride for $150/person). I got the co-pilot seat with great views and opportunities for photos. It was a beautiful first view of the falls. Given that Victoria Falls is part of a National Park there were warthogs right on the property too!
    We were back at the hotel by 5:30pm and went down for dinner on the hotel terrace at 6. I had a yummy ceasar salad and Ken's chicken sandwich was delicious. (Ice cream sundae was weak though) 😕. It's annoying to have to pay for our meals again not to mention, they charge for still water!
    Up to the rooms by 8 and, I am totally ready for bed!
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  • Day36

    This campsite looks amazing, the campsites have cement blocks for the tents and lots of green grass surrounding them with a huge undercover meal area and kitchen. The bathrooms were clean and modern. There was a bar and restaurant area as well as a beautiful pool, I am very happy to be staying here for a few days.

    We set up our tents and then all met at bar where we were one of the hotel's staff members gave us information about optional activities available in Victoria Falls. I have decided to do a guided tour of Victoria Falls, bungee jump and the lion encounter.

    The second to last night we went out as a family for dinner where we all ordered different meats such as warthog, crocodile, impala, giraffe etc. I tried most of them but my favourite would have to be the crocodile!

    The last night at the camp I let my hair down a little bit and 'Jess the Mess' came out to play, 8 pre-mixed vodkas and 5 double shot vodkas with coke all within two hours was probably not the best idea. I was drinking because my tent buddy Nicole was leaving me and was already out drinking with her new tour group. We also met the new people joining our group that night, it first time we have met so I probably didn't give a very good first impression. I ended up in bed at about 12am but woke up at about 12:30am and vomited in my tent, once I made it to the bathroom I rested there for about an hour. The next morning was a struggle but no sympathy because it was self inflicted!
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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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