I admit I've never seen lizards like them. Somehow I must have missed out. I bet they are quite common somewhere that I've never been before. The monument is appalling and I agree. I originally thought from afar it was a prison camp look-out tower.
An extraordinary place. Originally it was just a tented camp with the tents placed in the rocks on any flat surfaces. Over time it was improved and proper rooms built in and around the boulders. There aren’t many rooms but all of them have character. I took a lot of photos so bear with me as you flick through them. This was the small bridge to our room and the balcony -
The view -
As we go in through the door you can see the ‘bedroom’ -
We turn left and move along the side of the rocks to the bathroom -
Various pieces of art were arrayed around, plus, and I’m not sure I’m really happy with this, but an original cave drawing from millennia ago. The area has a lot and they can probably allow for this, but nevertheless -
I went for a walk round a couple of times, up and down, in and out, it was a labyrinth of rooms and passages and paths -
The reception area -
Parked up was a vehicle I noticed on our arrival, so I went to have a look at it. It was an overland company I’ve never heard of. It turns out it is a Tanzanian registered company, owned by a Portuguese man, running a Namibian registered vehicle (amongst others) and catering for luxury overland trips for the Spanish. But, the owner is now in prison for tax evasion in Tanzania. Evasion for transferring the ownership of his vehicles with paying a certain tax on them. Enquires on my return to Lusaka also reveal the company is now on its last legs and very badly thought of by those still in the business. All I can say is the truck was in very poor condition, I’d hate to spend thousands of dollars and ride around in a crap thing like that, never mind I was staying in nice lodges -
Look, I make no excuses; I was trying to get the perfect shot as the light changed so I rattled off quite a few shots and even then went back later. The pool is one granite rock with a small containing wall built at the end and filled with water. A superb idea -
Damn. I’ve somehow ended up back at the pool again -
There is a small dam nearby but was dry at this time of year. When it is full no doubt it is a focal point for the local small game. I did see some zebras and deer around, and a “zonkey”. Apparently a cross between a zebra and a donkey -
More exploring and poking my nose into rooms and things -
This suspension bridge, part of the honeymoon suite, was rather wobbly, but safe -
How the hot water was heated, twice a day, 6am and 6pm -
We had a walk around outside the lodge in the bush for a couple of hours but soon returned to relax in the surroundings and go for a swim. A relatively pleasant night was spent there, though because our room was not totally sealed, we did get a couple of birds entering but they soon flew out. Also two rock hyraxes (rock rabbits) popped their heads in for half an hour or so up on the rocks at the top of the room but were probably just curious as to the new tenants rather than anything else. Lunch, dinner and breakfast were included at the lodge and it was of good quality and filling.
That is a truly amazing lodge. I love it. However, it makes me wonder what the local population would think of it. "This would be an appealing place to live" or "Those white people are crazy; this is horrible!"
Amazing photos, Mark, and amazing things to be photographed. How did it feel to you? I think I found the interiors a bit claustrophobic and with all the statues and faces dotted around, a bit spooky. Outside is more comfortable and that pool is brilliant. I would be taking pics of it all day. You have shown us such a completely new world on this trip. Thanks.
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]
A beautiful and fascinating holiday! Lovely photos of your accommodations. The surroundings, flowering trees and the variety of flowers are a delight to go through.
One thing I do not understand is why fabric/textiles are used for furniture outside. It is quite popular here as well, so many friends have "outdoor furniture" on their decks/patios and while they look beautiful and are comfortable most complain how impractical it is as the weather (sun/moisture) destroys the fabric. I did really like the wood loungers by the pool, I would love to have something like that!
K2, the locals, I bet, aspire to a nice bungalow in the suburbs.
Questa, the room we had felt more open and airy than the photos suggest. However, going to the toilet in the night and seeing four red eyes watching you from the top of the rocks (Rock Hyraxes) was a little off putting even when I knew what they were.
Mich, the cushions and other stuff outside were there because it is a posh lodge and that is what people expect for comfort. So if they deteriorate it is a price they have to pay. The material was quite hard wearing though. But they also have plenty of staff to put them under cover every night and if it rains.
We were to move on the next day but we nipped back to Bulawayo to pick up a few things from a supermarket. I spotted the following car in the shopping centre car park -
It is an old Austin A35 pickup. Fairly rare to say the least. It was made on 21.11.1956 and was one of 485 shipped out to the colonies, except Australia (also fifty went to Chile for some odd reason). Initially they were for the domestic market but it was decided to class them not as a commercial vehicle, but a normal one, thus paying higher taxes, a purchase tax. It was decided to ship them out instead -
As I was pottering around it the owner came back. He mentioned he actually had two of them and used them quite regularly. He showed me around it, especially the production number though out of focus, number 46 -
I spent many thousands of miles sitting and fighting with my brother in the back of the normal car version, a 1953 model, when I was a kid and I was happy to see them still going strong. After all the emotion, we had to stop and have a coffee. Especially because this cafe was one of the few nearby that had wifi access and Mrs M had to check her work emails -
Here is the menu. Make note that on the bottom left it states that you ask what is the USD price if you want to pay in that rather than the local currency - mentioned before but is a type of bond supposedly tied one to one with the USD, but has been slipping quite dramatically of late. We paid in USD and the prices were half that shown -
There is a bit of a break now as we travelled towards the border for two days. That night we stopped at the Gwango Heritage Resort near Hwange National Park. We didn’t go into the park and the accommodation was clean and basic but it was quite a hot day and it took some time for the buildings to cool down -
We slept well though and the next morning we were up early to get to Victoria Falls. We wanted to cross the border than day but we made a top off in the town first for a late breakfast and for me to relive my times past staying there and sampling the adrenaline sports on offer. It had not changed much though there were some new buildings and is still more than ever, very touristy -
I stopped to take a few shots of the old railway station. Not impressive but has a long history -
The exit from Zimbabwe and entry to Zambia was easier than the other way round. It wasn’t difficult then and this time we’d done it all in about half an hour. Immigration the Zimbabwe side didn’t even look at my passport, he just opened it, stamped it and handed it back. Customs weren’t bothered about anything other than the Temporary Import Permit I’d obtained on entry. He just asked for it, I handed it to him and he motioned for the next person to come forward.
On the Zambian side the same virtually. A quick look at my visa and a stamp, Customs weren’t interested at all and wave me through and out the gate into the country. Mrs M did have a little hiccup at Zambian immigration because her passport is full of her comings and goings to Zimbabwe and elsewhere and the official was looking for her latest exit stamp but couldn’t see it. Mrs M had no idea which page it was one and I think eventually the official gave up and just stamped it anyway.
This was our last night of our little holiday and we decided we’d splash out a little again and stay in a nice place - though it is far from the most expensive in Livingstone, the town on the Zambian side of Vic Falls. Plus even though we’d already treated ourselves several times whilst in Zimbabwe. We’d driven over the Vic Falls bridge between the two countries and border posts and passed slowly by the bungee jumping station in the middle of the bridge. I had to chuckle when as we passed it, there was a scream as a young girl jumped off. Mrs M and I looked at each other knowing it didn’t appeal to either of us.
We didn’t eat in the hotel as nearby is one of, if not the best, Indian restaurants in the country. Called the Golden Leaf. I took a photo of our meal, but it looks a bit grim due to the lighting. As reddish brown as it was, it was extremely tasty. There was vegetable pulao rice, mixed raita, plain nan bread, pickles, aloo jeera (potato and cumin seeds) and a paneer (cheese) and tomato curry -
We spent a happy evening finishing off on the balcony, me burping from eating too much to add to the romanticism, and watching the sunset. I’m not sure but I think Mrs M didn’t appreciate my windy moments. I’ll have to ask her to make sure -
That was it then. Apart from a coffee stop on the way back to Lusaka the next day in a shaded garden at the side of a museum in a town called Choma -
Objectives achieved - Mrs M had the luxury of being driven to Harare rather than flying again. We had a tour round Zimbabwe, 2280km, without one incident and could see a lot more of the country than we’ve seen before. We stayed in some nice places, intentionally for two reasons - one was we were unlikely to encounter any problems and more importantly, apart from few days two years ago in Namibia, this was the first break we could have without having any kids tagging along, for many, many years. I enjoyed the drive, she enjoyed the scenery and we both enjoyed the food and the little adventure.
That’ll do until next time. Thanks for coming with me this far.
Thank you and your good wife for allowing us to accompany you on this trip. A couple of observations...The strange animal called a zonkey...there are a lot of girls called Debra in the world who are glad the animal's name was not formed by the alternative combination of syllables.
Was the Livingstone a heaven for Mosquitoes? With the trees and standing pools of water it would seem like DEET-land. A great report, you must be proud of it.
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]
Posh places like to show their education I suppose. I will hope to go back again to Zimbabwe, if I can be bothered again doing the paperwork to get the car there, but I'd have to always suffer from shortages in one thing or another.
I enjoyed this so very much, Mark -- an honest, close-up look at a place that is completely unknown to me. There is something about the presentation of a couple on a road trip that makes it so much easier to really visualize, and of course your wonderful pictures round that out.
Pee ess ~ I love those manipulated photographs you show in the "art abounds" sectionof this page.
What a wonderful trip! I would have loved swimming in a pool with a view and enjoying sunsets from the balcony. I agree with you about the ancient cave painting in the lodge, though. Doesn't seem right.
By the way, I think those lizards are some kind of rock agama. They have such beautiful colors, don't they?