Through water to the falls

Oct. 29, 2012 (day 530) Zimbabwe

On the second evening in Harare a huge thunderstorm came. Once again I witnessed the special moment when African seasons turn from dry to wet. This time, however, it was much more abrupt than half a year ago in Ethiopia. Since the initial storm there was no single day without rainfall for more than a week.

Souther African cities are different quality

Souther African cities are different quality

After pleasant and prolonging stay there, we cycled across the centre of the capital. The city looked modern and quite clean, however it was visible that the best moments had passed some years ago. Cracks in pavements, occasional rubbish on lawns and other small signs that things had deteriorated from past prosperity. Wherever we stopped, the bikes attracted too much attention and we were constantly asked exactly the same set of questions by every new person that arrived:
“Where are you from?”
“Where are you going?”
“On bicycles?!”
“Your bikes look strong. How many tyres have you used?”
The conclusion was that sometimes it would be better not to have a common language with the locals. Playing dumb and speaking Polish did not work in Zimbabwe. Nobody believed we could not understand English and they just continued talking.

To go or not to go?

To go or not to go?

The next three days we spent just cycling south, sleeping in the bush, drinking cold sodas and mending punctures. Cyclist's enemy number one, the remains of exploded car tyres, were present all along the main road to Bulawayo. Together with acacia thorns in the bush they worked to keep us busy and my new plan is to keep the rear inner tube until the end of the journey. It will be probably the most patchy tube in the world by then.

As soon as we tuned off the main road in Kwekwe, we congratulated each other that brilliant idea. For the first time since Dar es-Salaam we camped without the sound of passing trucks. With almost no traffic and generally little human presence, the road was pleasant. Still, there was a narrow stripe of asphalt, which lasted until the village of Nkayi, making the ride pleasant and relaxing.

This is called “cost reduction”

This is called “cost reduction”

Peaceful rural landscapes

Peaceful rural landscapes

Then the road turned into gravel and pretty soon into sand. Many times we had to get off and push our vehicles, sometimes for a few hundred meters. The solitude was surprising, as I had not experienced such lack of human presence for long months before. There was hardly anyone on the road more than herds of cows wandering around with bells tied to their necks.

We had to push a bit

We had to push a bit

The rain follows us, time to look for a place to sleep

The rain follows us, time to look for a place to sleep

Camping was easy. Just turn off the road, go into the bush, pitch the tent before the huge clouds collapse in the evening. A free shower came in the form of torrential rain. I just walked outside, equipped with flip-flops and soap. Nature did the rest, rinsing my body thoroughly and turning off the shower a couple of minutes later, giving me a chance to use a towel and return into the tent refreshed.

During the day, however, it was horribly hot. The lack of villages made access to water more difficult and finally we ran out of it. A small sign “primary school 2km” pointed left, down the horribly sandy road which led into a valley. Equipped with two water bags I descended there to find a house with a well. It was one of the deepest I had seen, just barely able to notice reflection of the water some dozens meters below.

The valley which ran along our road was a seasonal river, a tributary to a bigger one, which we reached soon. The flow had still not reappeared despite the late rains, but closer to the underground water table the surroundings looked beautiful. It seemed like the spring had already begun and trees radiated with fresh, bright green color of young leaves. Unfortunately, it lasted for just a couple of hours, and then the usual dry bush reappeared.

Roadside laundry with fresh water

Roadside laundry with fresh water

There will be a new roof

There will be a new roof

In the first bigger town — Hwange — we found a Don Bosco college, where a brother from Czech Republic resided, together with a local priest who had visited Poland a couple years before and could still recall prayers in our language. Again treated with bed and food, we could relax. Rafał, however, did not enjoy it too long. He took an overnight bus to Harare in order to pick up a package which had arrived too late. I continued to Victoria Falls the next morning.

Skiers in Africa?!

Skiers in Africa?!

For the first time since Dar es–Salaam I paid for accommodation. A backpackers hostel with campsite and swimming pool was a nice place to chill out for a couple of days. The main attraction, Victoria Falls, I did not see until Rafał's arrival. While other residents engaged on rafting, safaris, bungee jumping, helicopter flights and other pricey activities, I enjoyed laying by a pool and eating well, then having a couple of beers in the evening.

Nice shower in the dry season

Nice shower in the dry season

A view from the jungle

A view from the jungle

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Comments:

mama
mama
6 years, 1 month ago
Tych wodospadów Wam zazdroszczę! Ale i tak nie wierzę, że są prawdziwe, to wszystko fotomontaż. Ściskam i spokojnej jazdy!!!
iwo
iwo
6 years, 1 month ago
Wypasiony ten busz... planujesz kąpiel pod wodospadem? :)
Wir
Wir
6 years, 1 month ago
Bardzo lubię czytać Twoje wpisy.
Wiem, że podróżnicy nie lubią pisać o takich sprawach, ale możesz napisać jaki budżet przewidziałeś na Twoją wyprawę i czy mieścisz się w ramach ?
z poważaniem
Arkosław
Arkosław
6 years, 1 month ago
ale wypas ta wyprawa. Czytam to od ponad roku i coraz bardziej mi się podoba. :-)
Norbert
Norbert
6 years, 1 month ago
a na drzewie w hostelu w VF wisi jeszcze tabliczka Afryki Nowaka?
podróże blog
podróże blog
6 years, 1 month ago
Wspaniały blog, pełny ciekawych opisów . Fantastyczne zdjęcia które oddają charakter podróży. Serdecznie pozdrawiam i czekam na kolejny wpis.