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Author Topic: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY IS COMPLETE....PHEW!!)  (Read 5804 times)

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Offline Adventurer

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open
« Reply #80 on: September 07, 2010, 10:03:06 pm »
Sorry guys, I'm having issues getting the pics uploaded...
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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open
« Reply #81 on: September 08, 2010, 08:08:23 am »
excuses, excuses...... ;)
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open
« Reply #82 on: September 08, 2010, 08:45:21 pm »
Day 1 JHB to Bulawayo

We had a relatively early start, leaving home at 5-30am, after a bit of confusion we finally all met up at the Petroport after Pretoria, we were finally on our way, today our destination was Bulawayo via Botswana. Breakfast was had in Potgietersrus.

 Thereafter we headed towards the Botswana border at Martin’s Drift, we were welcomed at the SA side by the most miserable person you could wish to meet, ah well, I guess it’s a crap job, but someone has to do it..

The Botswana side is where our patience test cycle began, plenty Immigration and Customs counters, but one miserable road tax counter, manned by slowcoach himself, 2 hours later we were finally in Botswana, heading towards Francistown.





We had wasted a lot of daytime, we still had another border crossing at Plumtree to do…




This time the Botswana side was quick, but then the Zimbabwe side beckoned, another 2 hours were wasted, road tax, carbon tax, temporary import permits, what a mission..We finally left there at 7 pm in the dark, breaking the single most important rule in Africa….’Don’t travel at night’! We had 100km to go; thankfully we all had HID lights, after being waved through quite a few police roadblocks we arrived in Bulawayo at 8pm, which was in a partial black out, chaos reigned, out of order robot intersections are not 4 way stops in Zimbabwe, drivers careen through them at will, apparently there are regular accidents, every robot became a stop street for us, this place was madness. It took us another 30 minutes to find our pre-booked accommodation for the night, Bucknell Lodge,(maureen@yoafrica.com) power was out there as well, Zimbabwe has load shedding like you’ve never seen before….Winney invited us in, she was the cook/housekeeper/do-everything of Bucknell Lodge, she pointed me towards the generator (everyone in Zim has generators)and after a short while we had lights and power.

While Winney was warming up our dinner, Maureen , the owner of this splendid one time huge family home/now splendid lodge arrived, then the party started.. we had just done over 950km, been on the road for 15 hours, but we were finally in Zimbabwe, Maureen kept us entertained until we could no more, the 4 of us finally passed out, exhausted, it had been a long day.






Day 2 Bulawayo to Vic Falls

After a tasty breakfast laid on by Winney we hit the road, forewarned about the numerous speedtraps, Zimbabwe Police have been issued with laser traps and have been told to go make money, you can just imagine….

We refueled at the last petrol station on the way out of town and headed for Vic Falls, it was a pretty uneventful day, we passed through countless roadblocks, but the police manning them were friendly and courteous, we were novelties to them, foreigners on loud flashy expensive bikes touring their country, we soon learnt that you got nowhere until pleasantries were swopped, ‘hello sir, how are you today? Fine sir, how are you? Fine thank you. Aaieh, so, you are tourists, are you enjoying Zimbabwe?’ So it went on, what impressed me was the proud but humble approach these people had, nothing was too much trouble, they had all day to do nothing and were very interested in us as tourists, no agro at all.
We stopped in at Halfway Motel, yes, halfway between Bulawayo and Vic Falls, we met up with some Zimbabwean tourists on their way to Hwange National Park, after a chat and refreshments we headed towards Hwange town itself to refuel and scout the shops for provisions which we thought we’d need the following day en route to Mlibizi. Thereafter it was a short hop and we were in Vic Falls, we booked into the Sprayview Hotel, affordable yet very pleasant accommodation.



 Myself and Carol stayed here a few years ago at a time when Zimbabwe was on its way down, it was immediately apparent that things were improving, the entire menu was available and the bar was well stocked. After checking into our rooms each of us decided on which adventure option to do the following morning, Rob decided on the gorge swing…’Cuzz, do you know what that is? Not really sure but it looks cool…’ Carol opted for the elephant safari and myself and Debbie decided on the jet boat safari above the Falls….more on that later.
Once the excursions had been booked we went to see the Falls which were at their fullest for the season, Debbie had never seen the Falls, and was not disappointed, neither were we, no matter how many times you visit them, Vic Falls remains an awesome sight.














 Our next stop was the Vic Falls Royal Hotel, we parked off on the verandah overlooking the bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia, we drank tea, right posh and all….



On our way out we stopped to view the paintings in a gallery, the artist was Larry Norton, Google him and see what his paintings cost, then have a look at them and understand why, they are simply amazing, but more on him later.





 It was time for dinner, Sprayview Hotel fed us a sumptuous meal, thereafter we all headed for bed, anxious about the following day’s adventure we had selected.


« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 08:48:16 pm by Adventurer »
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Offline Adventurer

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (pg5, Day 1 & 2)
« Reply #83 on: September 08, 2010, 09:17:50 pm »
Day3 Vic Falls to Mlibizi

After an early breakfast myself and Debbie were collected for our Jet Boat Safari, dressed to get wet and full of excitement we arrived at the departure point, only to see a variety of game viewing boats…I asked our driver where the jet boat was, expecting to see a sleek mean machine with a serious V 8 coupled to a jet drive, I was shown the jet boat, it was a sightseeing booze cruise barge, but yes, under the floorboards lurked 2 Nissan V6 motors coupled to jet drives…..EISH!! Ah well, we’re here, lets make the most of it..myself and Debbie boarded while our driver/tourguide slipped the mooring and we were off on what turned out to be a very interesting game viewing tour above the Falls, because the jetboat has a shallow draft we were able to cruise within about 150 metres from the Falls, the scary part was we were running on only one motor, which at idle sounded like a mechanical catastrophe waiting to happen, our driver did reassure us that the other motor does work, it was just more economical to run on one, I dread to hear what the other motor sounded like…We saw elephant, hippo and an abundance of birdlife, the ‘Safari’ turned out to be quite worthwhile.







When we returned to the hotel Rob and Carol were still away on their excursions, Rob was the first to return, his rendition of the gorge swing was hilarious, 70 metre freefall before the swing action, he reckoned he started vibrating from speed, combined with a vice-like sphincter muscle, he said it was an amazing rush…been there, done that, won’t do it again..
Carol returned from her Elephant ride smiling from ear to ear, she said it had been an amazing experience riding on an elephant, there wasn’t much game to see, but the experience was still very thrilling.



We packed our bikes quickly, and after meeting JB, Sprayview’s owner, he reassured us that food was available at Mlibizi, saving us the hassle of buying food at Hwange, which had been our plan. We popped in to see the huge baobab tree near the Falls, did a quick photo session at the Falls entrance, thereafter we stopped at the Vic Falls Hotel so that Debbie could see the bridge properly from the hotel gardens, and then we were off towards Mlibizi, our final destination for the day.







After turning off the main road towards Bulawayo we rode the most amazing roads through the hills, tight twisties coupled with amazing scenery, in places the road was quite potholed, and after stopping to help a Zimbabwean family get their bakkie going again after it had suffered an air lock we arrived at Mlibizi.









 We found our accommodation, Mlibizi Resort, with the help of the owner of Mlibizi Hotel, where we would certainly stay next time we’re there.








Mlibizi Resort is a self catering fishing resort whereas Mlibizi Hotel has an outside bar and restaurant, more suited to our requirements. We unpacked and walked back to Mlibizi Hotel (mlibizilodge@mweb.co.za) for drinks and food, that night I was introduced to Kariba Bream, very tasty fish which became my staple dietary requirement the rest of the trip where it was available. Maxmillian, part owner, barman and all-round host chatted to us at length about the issues they’ve endured for the last few years, trust me, these guys have had it tough.


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Offline Crop Sprang

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (pg5, Day 1, 2 & 3)
« Reply #84 on: September 08, 2010, 09:31:28 pm »
looking good K

A fine sight seeing three adventures next to each other

 :happy1:
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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (pg5, Day 1, 2 & 3)
« Reply #85 on: September 08, 2010, 09:47:40 pm »
Day 4 & 5 Mlibizi to Kariba

We were up early, determined to be first in the queue, I had been told that the upper deck was the place to be, Carol’s task was to haul ass up there and book 4 chairs/loungers.

The ferry arrived late because of strong headwinds and after everyone had disembarked it was our chance to board, Ian, the ferry owner, had us board first, our bikes had to be at the back, bargain because the back is the most stable part of the boat. We parked them on the centrestands and tied the front wheel to the centrestand, it was not nessessary to lash them to the floor.







 Carol had secured our accommodation upstairs and after unpacking what we would need we finally had chance to chill out, loading all the vehicles was quite an art, at around 11 am we finally departed for Kariba. I had planned to do this ferry trip about 10 years ag, but for various reasons never got to do it until now, it was well worth the wait. The ferry cruises up the lake at about 20kph giving you plenty of time to chill out, chat to other passengers and make new acquaintances, as luck would have it Larry Norton, world renowned artist whose paintings we’d seen in Vic Falls, was onboard with his family en route to a 3 week holiday at Mana Pools. The rest of the day was taken up with eating, drinking and just taking in the wonderful view.




 At about 4pm the pilot stopped the ferry and gave us the opportunity to swim in Kariba, it would have been almost rude not to, so myself, Debbie and Rob, along with quite a few other passengers, had a quick swim, we were told it was safe from crocodiles in that area. Later on we witnessed the most incredible sunset, kapenta fishing boats in between, this was Africa…









Ordering SW Motech parts for a WD…….










After dinner we all sat back and enjoyed a few drinks, looking forward to a good night’s sleep, which was not to be, the wind picked up and before long Carol started feeling the effects of seasickness, I soon followed suit and before long we were both violently ill, driving the car with a white steering wheel, wondering if we were going to die, got past the stage of caring, could this ferry handle the waves, were our bikes ok, stuff it, who cares, just get us to land!!!
Much later the seasickness subsided slightly, just enough to allow us some sleep, both of us curled up on a single mattress on the middledeck floor as far to the rear of the ferry as we could get, it was a long night…Carol was up to see the sunrise, I still didn’t care, as I looked around I saw Larry and his family who had taken refuge under a table, his youngest daughter had become quite frightened upstairs and during the night they had all moved down to where we were..he looked at me and asked me if I was ok…’No, I have been seasick’…’Aah, did you chunder?’ ‘Chunder? Yes, properly, I am now empty’…
Ian was nonchalantly walking around handing out tablets to those that were sick, no stress, he commented that we were all quite safe; his ferry could handle much worse. Anyway, after forcing down a light snack I started feeling better, just wishing the time would go faster, I wanted to get my legs on dry land soon..
I was later given some sound advice...'When you taste your asshole...SWALLOW!' :biggrin:







We arrived in Kariba town at around 11am, we packed our bikes and roared down the loading ramp, my head still weaving around as if I was still fighting the waves, this feeling only subsided that night. We had pre-arranged an eight sleeper house called Leopard Lodge with the help of Ian’s wife, so we went in search of our residence for the night, arrived, unpacked and got ready to explore Kariba. Our house consisted of a 4 bedroom luxury 3 level house that overlooked the lake, complete with John the houseboy and Kelvin the cook, there was a bar, two lounges, a large dining room and verandah with a view to die for, talk about colonial.


We went in search of friends of Des, an ex Zimbabwean that works with Rob, we found them at a lakeside club, had a long chat over lunch,(Kariba Bream for me of course) these were people that had lost everything in the landgrab, had moved to Kariba and made new lives for themselves, salt of the earth people.

We bade farewell after lunch and headed to the dam wall, after border formalities we did a leisurely tour of the wall, well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. We chatted to a few Zimbabwean soldiers who were tasked with looking after the wall from the Zimbabwe side; this is where a large percentage of Zimbabwe’s electricity comes from, and the only town in Zimbabwe that was not subject to load shedding.












We then hunted down the Spar for provisions for dinner; we had a cook now and had to take advantage of this. I stayed outside to keep an eye on the bikes, where I had a long chat with a very sorry case, this guy was being treated for cancer which he suspected he had contracted after being bitten by a hippo many years ago, the doctor at the time neglected to remove shreds of wetsuit, grass etc and didn’t know his femur was broken. After nearly dying a few days later this guy was given the proper care, but it seems the damage was already done, he was a white guy living in a squatter camp, begging for money to get his next chemo, at first I thought he was bullshitting me, but after a long chat, and me knowing enough about cancer and chemo etc I seriously believed the guy, if he was bullshitting, he did it extremely well. (I have subsequently heard from people that knew of this guy and this hippo incident)That night Kelvin the cook presented us with a meal of note, considering what we had bought in the relatively under stocked Spar, he did a fantastic job. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing on the verandah, with the lights of Kariba below us.





« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 10:03:12 pm by Adventurer »
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Offline GlenInk

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (pg5, Day 1 to 6 )
« Reply #86 on: September 08, 2010, 10:03:50 pm »
Really cool  :thumleft: Definatly worth the wait !
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Offline GO GIRL

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open
« Reply #87 on: September 09, 2010, 07:20:24 pm »
I dont ride with a GPS....I retract my words....I will get one sometime soon.... :mwink: for me that was another new experience... :thumleft:

Hey Debs, glad you came to your senses   :thumleft:

Also nice to hear you're out and about on your bike again. Hell must have been forever since you've done a decent trip?   :peepwall:

Leo that is no understatement....maybe moreso the last statement ....IT HAS BEEN FOREVER!!! >:( at least its the beginning..!!!
 

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #88 on: September 09, 2010, 07:37:58 pm »
The evening on the ferry was an adventure in itself.... :biggrin: after having capentas and lekka peri peri and sundowners and after goin through the Chobi gorge did the wind pick up :o :o :o

The ferry rocked and rolled all over the place... :o :o

After Carol feeling green Kurt soon followed suit...well the rest of us upstairs were OK well Kind of... :biggrin:

I got comfy in my bed/stretcher Rob too as well as two other groups ...this was not to be for very long... :o :o

The sails to keep the wind out soon came undone and from then on things changed radically that night a long night it proved to be ....lots can abe said for that....

All I know is that when we eventually go some sleep we awoke in the morning to only three people on the upper deck.... :o :o :o Rob, another guy and myself  :thumleft:

People all went downstairs cos the Ride got very Rough.... :o :o :o

You should have seen K and C the next morning THEY WERE SERIOUSLY GREEN AROUND THE GILLS.... :biggrin: :biggrin:

Sorry K and C I am going to start  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: all over again at your expense....

I am going to find those piccies and post them....

K and C had there full of "chundering" :biggrin:
 

Offline Adventurer

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #89 on: September 09, 2010, 07:56:10 pm »
Yup, the chundering wasn't very mush!!! :biggrin:
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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #90 on: September 09, 2010, 08:09:03 pm »
Ok so now I am havin probs uploading.... ???
 

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #91 on: September 09, 2010, 08:28:56 pm »
Ok so now I am havin probs uploading.... ???

Possibly a good thing for me....... :biggrin:
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Offline Just Blip It!

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #92 on: September 09, 2010, 08:39:30 pm »
Good stuff, looking forward to the next few days!
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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #93 on: September 09, 2010, 08:53:46 pm »

Day 6 Kariba to Chinhoyi Caves


Lots of Chinese vehicles.




Awesome view of Kariba.


Well stocked mini-shop at a filling station.

We departed from Kariba at leisure, first stopping at the viewpoint that overlooks the bay, outside town we saw two elephant sauntering alongside the power line cutline,




 there were zebra, monkeys, baboons and a fair amount of donkeys alongside the road as we made our way to the main road which leads to Harare,

 the vegetation was changing from dense bush and trees to open once well cultivated farmlands,  we stopped along the way for Rob’s occasional smoke break and Carol’s bum therapy, at one point a bakkie stopped in the middle of the road, Robs goatee beard had caught his attention and he’d stopped to compare beards, Rob was the clear winner.





These guys had a car gearbox on the back, were going to have it fixed…


I wonder how full these silos are?

 We arrived at Chinhoyi Caves Motel, a run down but clean establishment right next to the Chinhoyi Caves. After booking in and a light lunch we went off to see the caves. We were greeted by the most amazing sight, the water in the caves is a kind of iridescent crystal clear blue, with an abundance of fish that had been introduced, it was like looking into a fish tank from the top, the caves are apparently just over 300ft deep, a diver’s dream.










 After exploring the caves we checked out the adjacent campsite, very basic but viable.



The rest of the afternoon was taken up by bike maintenance which was a bit overdue already, needless to say, the 3 KTMs needed nothing more than a bit of chainlube. Rob was a bit shocked that night, he ordered a few Jack Daniels’, which had been a bit scarce until now, at R48.00 a shot!!!!


For dinner that night I ate chicken for a change.
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Online JMOL

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #94 on: September 09, 2010, 08:56:08 pm »
Subscribed  ;D
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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #95 on: September 10, 2010, 06:18:39 am »
Awesome!!!!!!
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Offline DeonS

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #96 on: September 10, 2010, 07:02:15 am »
 :happy1:

Loving it! You're mostly retracing a trip I did in '94, except we didn't do the ferry thing, but rode South of the Kariba.

Deon

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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #97 on: September 10, 2010, 07:48:14 am »
Thank you. Brings back great memores. Lovely to see Kariba full again, last time I was there the water was really low, all the harbours were dry land. Can't wait for December. :thumleft:
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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #98 on: September 10, 2010, 08:27:48 am »
Wonderful trip so far Adventurer!  :thumleft:
Just out of interest, why did you choose to do 2 border crossings -  Botswana and then Zim, as opposed to going straight to Beit Bridge border post and then Bulawayo?
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Re: Zimbabwe's doors are open (THE STORY HAS STARTED....pg5!!)
« Reply #99 on: September 10, 2010, 09:12:04 am »
Very nice - next pleeeze! :thumleft:
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