The smoke that thunders

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Iganyana tented Camp at Hwange National Park, Matabeleland in Northern Zimbabwe. I am on leave for some days and have the possibility to reunite with Ride Zimbabwe, for whom I have worked for 3 months back in 2019.

Early morning, we took the game drive vehicle once more to head out and find the buffaloes as well as hopefully the lions. On our way we spotted impalas, zebras, an elephant cow and kudus. 

The big herd of buffaloes was to be found at a waterhole, calmly drinking and relaxing. We spotted lots of lion and hyena tracks but no lions to be found. However we knew they must have been around, probably hiding in the bushes.

During the afternoon we went out for another lovely ride through the bush. We spotted the herd of sable antelopes between the trees and just enjoyed the sun setting in the vlei, while the fire place was lit up in camp and waited for our return.

Sunday was reserved for another conversation project, we visited the donkeys sanctuary build up in the small village of Dete by the help of MARESZim and Ride Zimbabwe. Any sick donkey of the village shall be brought to the Chief and he will then together with his son take care of the injured animals until they have recovered. The support, lots of hard work, medication, education and funding comes from the NGO, MARESZim with the support of Ride Zimbabwe. Your donation via MARESZim will save animal lives and support poorer communities in Zimbabwe.

On our way we shortly stopped at Hwange main camp to look after Nugget and Skanky, 2 horses from Ride Zimbabwe. Not far away we spotted about 6 – 7 old buffalo males. They were grazing just next to the main road.

The end of the holidays is coming closer and Monday morning started with the last ride through the vlei. We were lucky enough to see 2 secretary birds, tall birds that you will usually spot walking on the ground on the hunt for some food such as snakes, frogs, lizards and other small animals. The ride was fabulous and I enjoyed it a lot, still not wanting to believe that the 8 nights holiday in the bush will come to its end already.

The last afternoon was reserved for a game drive within Hwange National Park. When you enter these days your tires will be desinfected as well as yourself. After paying the fees you can drive through the boom and enjoy nature‘s beauty. The aim was to drive to Nyamandlovu pan that has a little hide lookout with lovely views on a waterhole. It’s an epic place for a perfect last night sundowner!

Unfortunately, the last day of my bush adventure had arrived and I packed my bags to hop on my transfer back to Vic Falls where I headed straight to PSMI for my COVID-19 PCR test. The results were ready within 2 hours, very efficient work. Afterwards, I enjoyed the vulture feeding at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge before I ventured off to see the mighty thundering smoke, the Vic Falls.

This time I was almost alone with the falls, due to COVID there aren’t many tourists around which makes the sighting very special and unique but of course the harder it is for the locals to keep their business up and running. It’s hard to see all the people that were depending on tourism and now have no jobs anymore. I so wish this will soon come to an end and change as yet again it’s the poorest of the poor that suffer the most! On the other side almost everyone has received their vaccine in this town and people are hopeful for the tourists to come visit their beautiful home.

The last night in Zim has arrived and I enjoyed my stay at Victoria Falls Safari Club that offers beautiful views into the bush and a waterhole where the baboons like to gather. During the evening hours there was also an elephant coming for its good night drink. Thanks Zimbabwe, for yet another unforgettable, peaceful holiday. It’s always special to visit and reconnect with nature. Happy to return soon!

My newest lessons learned in Northern Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls:

  1. Melting shoes – If you are smelling rubber at the fire place, your shoes might well be melting away already;
  2. Sunset views – Nyamandlovu platform is an epic place to enjoy a sundowner & 
  3. Fast testing – At PSMI in Victoria Falls you can get your PCR test results within 2 hours!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring Northern Zimbabwe – bye bye, salut and lisale kuhle ∞

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