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Johanesburg

Written on: Thursday March 26th, 2015

A journal entry from: South Africa, Europe 2015

We spent a couple of more days in Zimbabwe seeing first Hwange National Park, then the former capital of  Zimbabwe, Bulawayo and the nearby Matopos Hills. Camping at Hwange was an interesting experience as there are no fences around the campground to keep out the wild and dangerous beasts. We were camped near a watering hole and got very close to an elephant mum and her child via a wildlife blind. Fortunately we were neither tramped on by elephants nor eaten by lions that night although when it became dark that seemed like a distinct possibly. On our sunset game drive we saw many animals, the most interesting being a herd of elephants ambling right down the track towards us in our open-sided vehicle as well as a pride of lions. We upgraded to an interesting resort in the Matopos Hills. It was a set of bungalows built into the gorgeous rocks that dot the landscape there. We did a little hiking with a local guide and saw a few vestiges of the long ago bushman presence in the area. From there it was back to South Africa where we were introduced to the village way of life via a visit to a shabeen (a place where they make and sell the local fresh beer) and an amazing meal served to us in the small home of a local family. We finished our Southern Africa tour with a drive through a section of Kruger National Park (the largest in South Africa). The highlight of our night game drive there was a voyeuristic view of the lion mating ritual. After all the wild animal viewing in this part of the world we have come away with a huge appreciation of the immense efforts that conservationist have devoted to preserving for coming generations this rich and diverse heritage. At the same time we fear for the future as the battle against poachers increasingly is waged against well financed and well armed international syndicats.