At the Zambezie River
Here in Africa, it is normal to stop and give a lift to anyone standing beside the road, particularly if one is driving a ute. Just as we turned off onto the road out to the river, Nick stopped and picked up Ronald, one of the engineers from the plant, and two other people, to give them a lift, as we were going past where they wanted to go, which was Chief Hwange's village. Chief Hwange is headman for the local people, and one negotiates land purchases through him.
Eventually we arrived, at the Hwange Angling and Boating Centre, owned by the colliery, of course. This place is fabulous!!!! Right on the banks of the Zambezie in delightful, well kept grounds, it has a restaurant/bar; a leafy, green camping ground with several permanent caravans owned by fishermen; a nice swimming pool; and several thatched chalets.
Above: One of the chalets having the topmost layer of its thatched roof replaced, as the old one was 25 years old! These thatchers are truly artists of their craft, believe me.
After a leisurely look around the whole property, we retired to the outdoor restaurant overlooking the river, and Nick ordered lunch - fish and chips, the bream caught fresh out of the river. Mmmmmmmmmm! Yummy! How fresh can it be?
I fell in love with the place, and quickly revised my non-existent itinerary. I just had to stay here in this wonderful, peaceful place for a couple of days. I spoke with Gabriel, the resident manager of the place, and he provided me a lisiting of the prices for the accommodation.
There are hippos and crocodiles in the river, but it is a little high at present for them to show themselves, so I didn't see any, unfortunately.
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Folks, this place is a MUST for any travellers passing through Zimbabwe or, really, just anyone who wants somewhere quiet to relax. Because it is a club, a temporary membership of $10 per person per week is payable.
Three single beds in one room, ensuite, fully (and I mean FULLY) equipped kitchen. All linen. Ceiling fan in bedroom, and pedestal fan in kitchen area. Just $20 per night - FOR THE WHOLE CHALET!
Six beds (sorry, configuration is not known), ensuite, fully equipped kitchen, and all linen and fans - Just $40 per night for the whole chalet.
Camping is $6.00 per person and $3.00 per vehicle (they charge for vehicles as well, here in Africa) . Why bother camping???
Waking in the mornings to the cacaphony of bird calls, and nodding off at night to the tune of the crickets. No traffic noises! It was so peaceful and relaxing that I ended up staying for four nights, for a total cost of $90. Not too many places are available for that sort of money these days, especially with a stunning location like this. So a couple or group staying for a week would cost peanuts. Meals are available if you don't feel like cooking - brekky, lunch and dinner. The bream and chips are just $6.00. Unbelieveable! Fishing is available - no licence needed. Loads of fish, apparently, too. Bring yourself a line and hooks!
The only downside that I could see was a lack of internet access.
Above and Below: The lovely twin cats which wander around everywhere.
Below: The stunning sunsets over the river are amazing
I must mention a couple of things , for anyone considering making the trip out there. The road to the river is mostly tarred, except for a couple of small hardpacked gravel patches (max 80 metres) and various potholes. It is only single lane, and there is very little traffic, however it is advisable to keep to the left on the many hills, just in case.
Also, at the 40km mark from the highway, there is a nasty causeway with barely running water as normal, and the bottom is EXTREMELY slippery. The back wheel slipped on both crossings, but it just needs a little care to be taken. There is a large sign at the turnoff to the left for the HA&BC.
The manager, Gabriel, is eagerly awaiting all the bike travellers coming to visit! It is worth it, believe me!
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