Next stop was Chimanimani village, the entrance to the beautiful mountains within Chimanimani National Park. 2 km before the village the obligatory police stop, this time no penalty, but a very helpful police man telling us, we are not allowed to go anywhere without a permit, which we could get in the village. Still reasonably grateful we managed to find the hidden office, where we got for 35US$ pp the license to roam around. We had scheduled 2 days for this area, but could shorten it to 30 minutes, as after 3 km the only road into the mountains turned out to be impassable because of some earlier flood rains. Nobody in the village might have noticed that purposely until today ?
Further north to Vumba (Mutare), lunch at Leopard Rock Golf Hotel, favorite place of dead Queen mum and Tiger Woods. Due to budget reasons we slept in a birders camp with romantic candle light, as load shedding didn’t give us a glimpse of electric light. First serious discussion about my route plan and schedule, basic tenor “we have to get out of this place”. So we skipped Nyanga NP and went to cross the border to Mozambique at Mutare. New experience on the Zim side, car check at customs, did we declare everything, when entering Zimbabwe ? Unsure, what they were looking for, I said “we are no diamond smugglers”. I don’t know, if he believed me or thought, I’m a funny guy. He said “that’s what South Africans normally are” and let us go. On the Moz. side 80US$ pp visa costs for Germans (single entry visa), 20US$ carbon fees, but all to be paid in Meticais (Moz. currency). It’s fantastic, that nearly everyone at these border posts seems to have a second job as a black market money dealer. The exchange rates are up to 30% better than what you get at the bank or using an ATM, and they still make profits. Needless to guess, how big the amount of not declared money/income in these countries must be. Claudia speaks perfectly Portuguese, so we could shortcut the obligatory discussion about the need of a local 3rd party insurance for 20US$, in less than 1 hour we were on the road to Tete. We know a nice bakery with wonderful Portuguese and German pastry there and plan a late lunch in Tete, with just enough Meticais left.
But things can go different sometimes. Speed trap 2 km after a small village, my speed is about 87 km/h in a 60 km/h zone. I explained, that I had seen the 60 km/h sign at the village entry, but assumed, that 2 km after the village end the speed limit is not valid anymore, as usually there are no signs “no 60 km/h speed limit”. One just has to guess, when the limit doesn’t make sense anymore. The police man agreed in principle, but indicated, that I would in this case find the “missing” sign in 500 m (which I did !). If that’s no trap ??? Penalty about 50US$ in Meticais, which Claudia with her local language skills could negotiate down to 8US$, leaving us financial space for the lunch. Crossing the Zambezi at Tete gives you a feeling of the mightiness of this river. We are happy and spoiled with “Berliner” and only 2 hours to go to the Malawi border.