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Extreme Vacation – Extreme Location

Continuing my discourse on ‘the neglected beauty spots of war torn countries’, there is one country which will very definitely be on this list one day and that is Zimbabwe. Extreme vacation indeed at the moment, but dream location one day… Not exactly war-torn – but certainly terrorized.

Having said that, we leave for Zimbabwe in 2 weeks.

Foolish, do I hear you say? Well, we booked the tickets months ago and we expected the elections to be well and truly over by now – but we didn’t count on a despot refusing to leave. Nor did we count on being in the country for the re-elections which are bound to be stolen.

We hummed and hah-ed for weeks. Should we or shouldn’t we? But, and for any of you out there who might have already visited the country – it’s an opportunity we didn’t want to forfeit.

Zimbabwe is god’s own country. It’s a beautiful place with a beautiful climate full of beautiful people – this madness is government driven and wholly against the nature of most Zimbabweans.

And as for extreme sport opportunities – it has it all.

You can canoe down the mighty Zambezi and revel in the absolute unspoiled beauty of the river and its scenic banks. Enjoy the adrenaline thrill of a hippo popping up beside you (terrifying if they pop up under you) and the stomach clenching fear of the monster crocodiles that are everywhere. Be awestruck by the wildlife on the shore – the thrill of hiding under an overhanging bank whilst a breeding herd of elephants and their cartoonish offspring clown around in the water, gasp at the pride of lion lounging on a bank with their huge paws dangling over the edge, hold your breath while an old dugga boy (buffalo) takes exception to your passing and mock charges – or at least you hope it will only be a mock charge. And marvel at the beauty of the impala, kudu, water buck, zebra and all the other animals that you will see as you drift with the current.

Be thrilled by the night sounds as you camp along the way – the roar of the lion – this has to be one of the most spine tinglingly beautiful sounds in the world. The giggle of the hyena. And all the other quiet rustles that fill the night.

Our iconic picture was taken on the banks of the Zambezi whilst planning the following day.

Follow that up with a trip to the Falls (Victoria Falls). Although Victoria Falls constitute neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, the claim that it is the largest is based on a width of 1.7 kilometers (1 mile) and height of 108 meters (360 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world. You will be awe struck by the sheer unspoiled spendour of the Falls themselves, the original name – Mosi oa Tunya – “The Smoke That Thunders” – is evocative of the whole atmosphere of the place.

And here you have all the toys. White water rafting, river boarding, kayaking, bungee jumping, abseiling, jet boating, helicopter flips, microlight flights, elephant-back trails, horse trails, upper Zambezi canoeing, Zambezi River cruises, fishing trips, walking trails, game drives. Spoiled for choice!

Zimbabwe’s national parks are unspoiled and packed with game. I think, but I might be wrong, that it is one of the last places left where you are allowed to get out and walk wherever you want as long as you respect the way of the wildlife – and if you get eaten by something it’s your own silly fault! They are also free of mass tourism and when you see a lion kill you are able to enjoy it on your own without a dozen other vehicles rushing up to join in the fun. I suppose one has to thank the present government’s mismanagement for this exclusivity!

The Eastern Highlands have mountains and scenery that resemble Scotland – Nyanga, and a more rugged beauty – Chimanimani. Sandwiched between these two is the Bvumba – a misty, mountainous wonderland. Mountain hikes, rock climbing and trout fishing are regular pastimes here.

How can one give up a trip like this?

And if you finally despair of finding any food in the country you can always cross over to Mozambique and catch some fish for yourself. The deep sea fishing is incredible. Here’s one of the monsters we caught last year…

That’s a Wahu – one of the fastest fish in the ocean. The others on the ground are wahu first then bonita and barracuda.

Watch this space for regular updates on our trip. I just hope we have enough electricity (another thing in short supply) to send out a post or two…

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