Gonarezhou…..the truth ! (….complete!)

Well, Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe has been on our list of things for quite some time :wink2:

Did some research and came up with some interesting info. This link inspired me and plans were made to travel there: Read…..

Our route initially was to enter via Beitbridge, but due to the still problematic border control we decided to head for Pafuri border crossing (S22 26 55.1 E31 18 46.4)

Our route:

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Places we wanted to visit:
Great Zim Ruins
Motobo Hills National Park

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People in the group:
– Myself, Danelle (0000DS), Kiara (7) – 2.5 DC 4X4 D4D
– Frans (Houdanoudaar), Denise, Heinie (2), Bianca (10), Tersia-Marie (11) – 3.0 DC 4X4 D4D
– Mike, Sonja my cousin from Hermansburg / Greytown – Mazda Drifter 2.5 DC 4X4
– Val – SFA 2.4 DC 4X4

Plans were quickly put into place and we scheduled to leave JHB on 30 June 2012 and returned on the 13 July. So time was a bit limited.

The round trip from Jhb – Jhb was 2950km in total.

The only booking required was at Gonarezhou as it was in season and we did not want to risk the chance of being turned down at the gate as it was during the school holiday’s.

Info on Gonarezhou: http://www.zimparks.org/index.php?optio … &Itemid=83

Zim Parks Central booking office can be made via Christina Mhuriro, cmhuriro@zimparks.co.zw or RESERVATIONS AGENT
But email worked well, provided they have power……. :surrender:

Val arrived in Jhb at our place on Friday the 29th June (with GI-Jane)

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and plans were to leave the following day and meet up with Mike / Frans @ Millies just before Machadadorp around 10h00 for breakkie.

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After a ‘min maar in’ disappointing breakkie Frans advised that he still had things to do on the farm and would only join us the following day.
Abel Erasmus pass on route: (S24 27 02.7 E30 36 26.9) just before the JG Strydom tunnel

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So the three of us headed for Phalaborwa where fellow Hilux residents (Nico / Christie) aka Vlak Vark kindly opened their back yard to us where we could climitise for 2 nights and do some last minutue shopping :mrgreen: Wow, what a stunning back yard and once again, many thanks for allowing us to stay over and njoy your company :thumbup: Much appreciated :wink2:

Nico’s back garden with a beautiful view of the Olifants river and KNP …… :o: Some people are really fortunate……. :wink2:

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Nico aka Vlak Vark and Christie our hosts :thumbup:

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We had a wonderful braai that evening watching, ellies, buffalo, giraffe come for a drink :thumbup:

Sunday Nico took us for a nice scenic drive around Phalaborwa :dance1:
The mine industry which keeps the town alive…..pretty sad to see such a huge industry around the beautiful nature……:

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Open cast mine which is no longer active as part of the road has collapsed

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Phalaborwa famous for it’s palm tree’s

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We visited a lodge down the road from Nico’s place where we njoyed some sundowners

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Monday, it was time to say good-buy and we headed for Punda Maria (S22 44 08.1 E31 00 46.6) where we could also fill up with fuel.

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We had a quick breakkie on the go at Punda Maria rest camp (S22 41 31.8 E31 01 05.0)nb. last fuel stop also!

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Some nice sights on route

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Val, with her mik en druk…… :mocking: :mocking: :mocking:

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That evening we camped at Pafuri river camp….which is outside the park…. :o: (S22 25 22.1 E31 02 09.0)
We had an nice quiet evening @ R100 p/p kids half price ;-) Info Pafuri River Camp info@pafuri.co.za

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Hamburgers and chips for supper…a real winner :yahoo: :yahoo:

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The following morning it was up early and we headed for the Pafuri border crossing (which when we got there only opens at 08h00 and not at 06h00…… :o: )Into Moz….to be continued :!:
Approx. 1.6km from the Pafuri border post (S22 26 59.5 E31 19 52.3) my GPS T4A showed a road (left) which would save us approx. a 192km 4hour detour if possible :thumbup:So we headed in the direction, as we are always keen for some adventure….and it was :wink2:

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The road got less, however the Luxes were not afraid :yahoo:

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We got to an rather empty Limpopo river………..but we expected it as it is dry season :slap:

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From there it was dust and more dust :cooldude:

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Some pretty scenery

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Crossing the Naunetsi river (S22 18 49.5 E31 28 16.3)

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On the other side ot the riverbank we came to an abrupt HALT……….Moz Police……. :!:

They had all the time in the world …… and searched our vehicles one by one…..almost everywhere :twisted:

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This STOP took almost an hour…. but we just kept caln and played their game, without any nonsense or prepared to pay any bribes as they gently suggested…..

We continued along the Moz / Zim border where we headed for the border post at Chiquelaquala (S22 04 18.2 E31 40 52.1)

Old railway station in Chiquelaquala, just before the border crossing.

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The broder crossing into Zim was slow as there does not seem to be much traffic going via this route and there was no power so everything was done manually. However after an hour or so we were heading to the entrance gate of Gonarezhou, a 120km good sand road drive.

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The old bridge still washed away by the floods 2002, or somewhere around there…. Runde river (S21 15 49.9 E31 53 26.6)

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Entrance to Gonarezhou

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Road into the park….hippo and croc crossing beware :!:

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Some curious onlookers…..

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We arrived at the Main gate / entrance, exit? Still not sure … paid our stay…which took almost another hour, friendly staff but not so efficient…. We were booked at Chipinda for the 1st night, three nights at Pokwe and the last noght back at Chipinda.

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and headed for our campsite approx. 4km from the main gate, Chipinda Pools camp (S21 17 15.8 E31 54 51.3)

Just what the doctor ordered :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:

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There are x9 campsites at Chipinda, each with a lapa, braai area, drinking water, hot showers and clean ablutions :thumbup: Wood is available at the gate on request @ 5 US$ per bundle but we negotiated a wheel barrow for that price :mrgreen: Thereafter hunted self as it would have meant a 70km drive to the gate :roll:

I have reserved your booking as follows
Booking Ref XXX
Park Date in Date out Facility Cost/Night
Gonarezhou Chipinda Pools 3/07/12 4/07/12 Site 8 and 9 US$15/person/night
Gonarezhou Chipinda Pools 4/07/12 07/07/12 Pokwe US$25/person/night
Gonarezhou Chipinda Pools 07/07/12 8/07/12 Site 7 and 8 US$15/person/nightEntry Fees
Note these are once off payment for a period of 7 days.Print this invoice and pay upon arrival @ the Park

The hippo’s kept us entertained all night with jackal / hyena’s calling all night :celebrate:
Ladies preparing the salads while we braai’d :thumbup:

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Note: there is no electricity at any of the campsites or bush camps. (bush camps are another story…..)

Kiara doing some washing

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Bianca helping with the dishes :thumbup:

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The following morning, we headed for Pokwe camp, saw this nice Kudu next to the river

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View point

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Southern view

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The roads were generally in good condition (easy travel) but I think it can be another story in the rainy season :dance1: Another time :thumbup:

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On route to Pokwe camp we stopped off at a private camp just to have a look :shock2: Called Chivilla camp (S21 18 26.2 E31 54 59.7)….stunning but will be very hot in the summer month’s.

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MIL swimming area :acute:

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Val, was in love with this place and really tried hard to convince me to stay but we had move on to our allocated campsite…. :angel:

Soon we had a view of the cliffs, which is prob one of the main attractions of the park ! Chilojo Cliff’s (S21 26 34.3 E32 05 11.0)

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The cliffs are stunning and we spent over an hour just soaking in the beauty :thumbup:

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And another for Cassie…… :celebrate:

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Val, Denise & Frans

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On route again :thumbup: There are a few legal places one can cross the river.

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But first time for brunch :thumbup: As the ellies were dinking on the other side of the river bed and we did not want to disturb them :surrender:

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Sand was thick, but the water was little, but enough to clean our dusty vehicles :wink2:

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Mike filling up his shower bag

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Still on route to Pokwe, quit a 70km drive if you are having fun and stopping frequently!

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Ellie’s obviously visited here…..

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The road conditions gradually got worse, think this can be pretty hectic in the rainy season….

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Finding the campsite Pokwe was a bit of a challenge……as it is an area and not really a designated site….no toilet, no water just a view of the river bed.

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Map of Gonarezhou and where Pokwe is:

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The next morning after hearing raging ellies / hyena’s and, laaws……we decided to head for pans:But first a fresh bacon bread, made by Mike and the kids :wink2: Yummy!!!

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…and… yes wait for it……………unbelievable sight…….. :oops: :oops: :oops:

Shaving in the bucket………. :lol: :lol: :lol: What a sight…..I am now a dead man…… :frustrated:

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While Mike was fiddling with his contacts….. :eh: the advantages of Alu-canopy…… :roll: :roll: :roll:

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Heading for the oasis via an elephant entrance / exit road :wink2:

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Mike requiring some Toyota assistance…..

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Some big bullies around!

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Riverbed exit

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And another beauty…..these baobab’s are really special, somehow :thumbup:

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Upon arrival at the lake / oasis…..was beautiful, zebra’s birds, ellies, hippo’s and a lot more (was a stunning sight :thumbup: ) Animal Heaven no doubt :!:

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Breakkie time, what a view :yahoo:

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Popping in for a drink, right in front of us ;-)

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Spend a day her if not two, you will not be disappointed :thumbup:

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Heading back to our designated site, which could have been better we decided to pop in at some other sites and see what they looked like….perhaps we got lucky and they would be ‘leeg’ :idea:

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But first a good luck chant……… :oops: :oops: :oops:

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And stu’s bob we found one :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:

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The pool was FULL of crocs….I mean full, I counted 28 visible at one time….. :!:

We had the lovely task…..”the guys”…..of collecting shower water, pretty scary I may add, but the ladies wanted to shower….so off the “braves” had to go……. :roll:

Water is no problem in the park……getting it is :!:

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Anyway all was well and so was the camp & sunset :thumbup:

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The following morning it was “difficult” (was gonna say hard….but) getting outa bed….. but that would sound wrong….. :surrender: :surrender: :surrender:

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Val keeping the tummies full for the day’s drive ahead :mocking:

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The last night we were booked for Chipinda again and decided to drive another route ie via the top of the cliffs! The roads were however in a poorish condition, but what the hec, that’s why we have 4×4’s so off we went :mrgreen: Animals were scarce along this route :!:

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And arrived to this view :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:

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Black eagle admiring the same view as us :wink2:

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We headed down towards the river and time for brunch :thumbup: There were plenty of nice big trees to choose from :thumbup:

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Note to Val…..even if you like monkey’s or babboons, make sure to close you canopy and windows while in the bush…….they made off with some goodies…. :shh:

Group pic…. :wave: :wave:

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Carefully watching for left overs….

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Runda river crossing

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Free car wash, to get rid of some of the dust…… :wink2:

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Back at camp Chipinda camp, some washing had to be done.

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Campsite No 7.

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The following day it was off to Lake Kyle or also known as Lake Mutirikw….shortest route via Chivamba (S20 36 11.6 E31 23 36.7)

On route via the consession area

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Very scenic route and roads were in excellent condition :thumbup:

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What was very noticeable was the cleanliness of the country :thumbup:

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Police checkpoint ahead, there were not many along this roure, however the ‘main’ roads were hectic, prob. no less than every 10km’s…….pretty frustrating as this adds a huge amount of time to you travelling time. So take this into consideration. We were seldom stopped due to GP registration, however all locals were stopped and checked at all the points.

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Closer to the dam the road become less, but not hectic, just caution for oncoming traffic…..

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Some farming, but very little, we also managed to buy nice fruit and veggies along the road :thumbup: Naartjies, oranges, huge butter avo’s and bananna’s

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Glimpse of the dam, noticed it was rather empty…… :!:

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A truly spectacular dam…something very special about it! I have said in the past I can easy spend 2 weeks here :!: :!: :!:

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There is little accommodation available around this area, Great Zim ruins being one and an old guest houe nearby, but way to expensive to my liking, however the Lake Kyle boat club offers camping, hot showers and loo’s. In summer the pool is blue. There are permanent structures standing around with some delapidated old caravans from the 50’s. We stayed here years ago and seems they are pulling things together slowly. Basic, but we are there for the view and atmosphere :thumbup:

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Camping for 5US$ P/P kids free, good value imo :!: :!: :!:
Lake Kyle boat club (S20 15 29.0 E31 00 59.7)

We decided to chill here for 2 nights :thumbup:

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Fishing seems popular for the locals

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and visitors

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There are a few permanent cottages and caravans standing around….

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Clubhouse still in use

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End of day…..

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The following day Val, Frans and family would visit the ruins as we had been there twice before.

Great Zim ruins to follow :thumbup:

So while Val, Frans and family were off to the ruins we lazed around more and baked some bread’s :thumbup:

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I handed my camera to one of Frans’s kids and they took the pics :thumbup:

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Some more pics :thumbup:

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It is believed that more than 18 000 people lived here :shock:

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Some more ref’s:
http://goafrica.about.com/od/zimbabwe/p … mbabwe.htm

Great Zimbabwe Ruins (S20 15 38.6 E30 55 55.2) only 10km from Lake Kyle boat club :thumbup:

From there we headed towards Masvingo, to refuel and get some fresh supplies from the Spar in town :thumbup:

Masvingo (Spar co-ords – S20 08 20.3 E30 50 32.0) :thumbup:
The Spar is well stocked with literally everything you can think of from chocolates to meat, plaas wors (truly… :!: ) & fresh baked bread….plenty. Prices were reasonable and some luxury items 50 – 70% more expensive. But it’s all relative, you really want condense milk in your coffee, you buy, you need petrol you gooi….. :wink2:Most garages in Masvingo were low on diesel or already out, but the fuel tankers were rolling in by the dozen.
Diesel was $1.28 and petrol $1.45 about the same as in ZA @ 8.5 :wink2:

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The ladies convinced us to go to the Wimpy for breakkie…..not my idea of fun, I said fat chance……and true as nuts we arrived there and they had NO power……… :lol: :lol: :lol:

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But spotted the Pizza joint….. :!: I was ignored……. :oops: :cry:

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For Ali3n…..plenty of them in Zim :thumbup:

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We headed for Mushandike National Park just 40km’s out of Masvingo

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Staff were friendly, however was not worth our while staying over for a night. Campsite was clean an basic but we decided to head on to Motobo NP (S20 24 39.2 E28 30 23.2). A pretty stiff drive……

Our first toll gate $1 per vehicle, on route to Bulawayo

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Just a few pics of Bulawayo, to get an idea, friendly town with some nice development. Friendly Rhodesian’s to be seen everywhere. Seems they are keeping things together :thumbup:

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Matopo NP entrance (phixed foor Val’s :wink2: )

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You come here for the powerful view’s, beautiful rock formations, but animals were scarce…… :wink2:

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We decided to spend 2 nights here :thumbup:

Campsite, situated next to a nice dam

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If you don’t like the view, just move….. :lol:

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There is hot water, washup facilities, clean and neat :thumbup:
More details here and the rates.
http://www.zimparks.org/index.php?optio … &Itemid=88

Some more of the hills :D:

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Back at the campsite :mrgreen:

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We had another nice cholesterol free meal :shock2:

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Some woke up with a smile the next morning and some …. well let the pic tell you…… :mocking: :mocking: :mocking:

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We headed for Plumtree border, as other travelers we met advised us it had taken them 6 hours to get through Beitbridge….and were decided to travel to Zanzibar border post instead!
On route to Plumtree.

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Coffee break, quite a few roadworks currently being done…….along this route.

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40min later, we were in Bots and headed for Francistown, as some had to refuel :thumbup:

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Roads were hectic and busy as usual….

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500m from the Zanzibar there is a Lodge (Oasis Lodge) that offers a ‘bush camp’ @ P120 pppn, personally I njoyed it….would have stayed there 2 nights….
Donkey showers + towels, clean loo’s, and a truck load of free wood :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:

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Zanzibar opens at 08h00 and quick and friendly staff assisted us :thumbup:

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Note: this border post has low river crossings and is not always open especially in the rainy season!

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By the time we got to Potties everyone was hungry and ….

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….so we headed for the Wimpy….my favorite :twisted: and met up with Jaco aka Zandyl where he joined us for a megga cuppa :thumbup:

We said our good buy’s to the Eksteen family whose company we truly njoy and hopefully wil still see on many further trips, you guys have become great friends indeed :thumbup:

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Mike and couzie Sonja, always a pleasure having you along, with all your twitching and tweeting…. :thumbup: Hopefully next time in a Toyota :lol:

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Anty Val, was great having you along, even if your mik and druk is bigger than mine……trust you njoyed it and hopefully see you on another :thumbup:

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To my wify and kids, you rock :!: It’s great having an awsome crew at hand :thumbup:

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That’s all from my side, hope to meet some fellow travelers, ON ROUTE
some day :thumbup:

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:wave: :wave: :wave:

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