Next destination Mana Pools (southern side of the Zambezi). I’m not sure, the car will make it, top speed goes down to 100 km/h and the engine seems to stutter. We continue hoping for the best, which is, we just have gotten dirty Diesel. We reach Mana Pools in the evening after 80 km backbone breaking gravel road (possible top speed 25 km/h). We forget about the engine, have a nice evening, lots of game (hippos looking into our rooms), wonderful game drive with our car next morning and back on the gravel road. There was rain during the night and lots of elephants have left their droppings on the road, a perfect feast for butterflies. We have never seen before so many different species in clouds of thousands swarming around, we need time to take photos, which allows our backbones to relax too.
We make it to Harare (capital of Zimbabwe) in the afternoon, a growing and prospering city, but no whites at all, seems, they all have been killed or chased away by the old regime. Now it looks peaceful, forgetting the 20 police guys at every road crossing. We develop some strange feelings about this, but enjoy the evening anyway in a great restaurant outside the city (which is recommended by our taxi driver, you never take your own car here at night as a white). Sleeping impossible, air con defect and/or too much red wine.
During the next day we make it back to SA, border crossing no problem, but we feel completely exhausted, we need a massage, I need lots of Gin&Tonic. We sleep at Tshipise, the moth light attracts about 300 Mopane moths (great experience), then we enter the Kruger NP and stay for one day in Pafuri Camp. This turns out to become the most expensive day of the whole trip, but including game drive, meals, massages and lots of G&Ts. Unfortunately our luxury tent is filled up with sting bugs, which make sleeping impossible. According to Claudia it’s the attraction of my moth light, meaning it’s my fault. But after switching the light off, these little beetles still don’t intent to disappear, but prefer to creep into every hole, they can find.
After breakfast, still grumpy and tired, we made it through the whole park in 10 hours, no time to watch animals seriously. Back to Nelspruit we needed to relax for 2 days before we took Birgit to Jhb, from where she departed back to France. She arrived safely, but is still speechless.
In summary we had a great time and when I talked to Claudia’s father about our experiences his only answer was:
“T I A B – This is Africa Baby”.