The little escape

13 05 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Matopos hills south east of Bulawayo. 10 years to be precise. In 2007 the Zimbabwe dollar was in free fall but not yet terminally ill and my brother and his family took delight in parting with large bundles of nearly useless money. This time around we are using US dollars, cost of living is much higher and we now also have bond notes that are a sort of hybrid between the old Zim dollars and US dollars but are in short supply and useless outside the country. The absurdity continues but the countryside and the wildlife is still stunning.

We stayed in the Big Cave Camp on the edge of the Matopos National Park and thoroughly enjoyed the good company and atmosphere. The structures are wonderfully blended into the rocks and the view is great.

Hwange National Park some 4 hrs to the north-west was showing the results of a great rainy season – the bush was lush and all the animals were in great condition. We were exceptionally lucky and saw a lot of game, the highlight being a pack of painted dog (endangered) that had returned from a foraging expedition and must have found an old carcass and stank! One had been injured so we reported it to the research station on the way out and were pleased to note that it has already been treated (see the Painted Dog Conservation page on FB).

Lions had made a kill almost on a side road and stayed for some 36 hours allowing for fantastic viewing VERY close to the vehicle.

The Main Camp lodge we stayed in was clean and functional in true National Parks style. Roads were OK given the amount of rain that had fallen but there were few tourists around as could be seen by the nearly empty roads – this is not the Kruger National Park in South Africa which features bumper to bumper traffic.

The only sour note was the bully-boy behavior of the police at a road block on the way home. They fabricated problems with my old Land Cruiser, got stupidly creative with fines and then gave up after half an hour when they realised we were not going to be intimidated.

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Still looking good

31 03 2015
Still going well...

Still going well…

I came across this grand old lady in a supermarket car park recently. The owner was only too pleased to chat – one can be sure when this amount of work has gone into a car it will be very special! It turns out she’s a ’68 model, has done 300,000 miles (500,000 km) and is on the first engine rebuild. The owner couldn’t get the right sized pistons and liners so he upgraded it to a 1600 cm³. Yes it has been resprayed too.

Some German friends whom I showed the photo to commented that it was the first model that did not have a split windscreen. And yes, she really did purr (in as much as Beetles ever did) out of the car park!

 





You know you are having a bad day when…

10 04 2012
Image

Won't you help me - please?

You have just emerged from your pupa to find that your wings won’t open properly, your legs don’t work very well (I know THAT feeling!) and no-one can help!

There was not a lot I could do except take a photograph. It died soon after this and appeared to also have been parasitised by another very small wasp.





Hope Masike

1 04 2012

I caught Hope Masike and her band at the Gallery Delta last night. This talented Zimbabwean has recently spent time in Norway but is back in Zimbabwe until June and is definitely worth seeing if you like mbira music. Her band consists of herself on mbira and vocals, traditional drums, bass guitar, maribma and percussion.

Last night’s show started off with a very young girl who sang Whitney Houston’s “Saving all my love for you” including the lyrics “… and we’ll be making love the whole night through” which got more than a few giggles from the audience! Another young girl then sang two of her own compositions and proved adept at getting the audience involved before we moved onto the main act.

The small amphitheatre at the Gallery Delta was packed with a mixed and appreciative audience and we only dispersed after 10 p.m. Well worth the drive into town for me!





Why I still love this country

12 03 2012

These photos were taken this past weekend on the east side of the Great Dyke near Ceasar Mine some 70km from Harare. Despite the generally poor rains the veld is looking good.





Remembering Brezhnev

19 02 2012

Leonid Brezhnev was one of the premiers of the Soviet Union. I cannot for the life of me remember when, but I DO remember he had massive, bushy eyebrows. This moth reminded me of him with its massive, brushy antennae. I am pretty sure Brezhnev was not orange though! No, I have not adjusted the colour in any way.

Brezhnev the moth

Brezhnev the person





Can do

14 02 2012

I saw this broken down truck in the Mazowe valley this morning. The cans are there to warn approaching motorists that there is a hazard ahead. Now about a year ago we all had to purchase red triangles (x2) and a fire extinguisher to be carried in all vehicles at all times. Yet I still see branches and various other unique warning signs used for this purpose.

A Zimbabwean answer to the red warning triangle.