Great House of Stone
'There is a problem with petrol in Zimbabwe, do you think you have enough?' This from a Customs Officer as he perused our entry papers.
We had prepared an extra 38 litres of fuel. Was it enough? We did not know.
We turned Miss Piggy into a rolling Molitov Cocktail. The standard 22 litres in the tanks, two 5 litres one each in the tank saddle bags, a further 16 litres in the left pannier, a ten litre tank strapped on top of the right hand pannier and one and a half litres in a juice bottle over Jules shoulder.
It was all a little daunting as we bumbled into Bulawayo, our first stop.
There are many things you can prepare for before entering Zim, petrol for instance, and the only sure way is to carry what you need, despite what may be said (for example: 'you can get petrol on the black market, you may just have to wait 2 or 3 days) don't bet on it, you may get lucky.
No Petrol Today
Lots of US$ or other foreign currency (ZARand) in the smallest denominations possible. Our mistake. No one has change for anything. Even the staff at the plushest of hotels will have to scratch about valiantly, unable to change US$100.00 for a US$75.00 room and to make matters worse credit card machines often do not, if ever, work. Don't for a minute think he locals want some Zim$.
JACKPOT - 240 Million Zim Dollars
Equivalent to about $16.00 at time of purchase, value dropping by the second
The complete lack of services between larger towns, which themselves only offer limited services, so with that little challenge it is necessary to carry most of your own food. This makes the whole process of traveling in Zim somewhat bothersome.
Cheapest Petrol in Town
Yee Haa! for Miss Piggy and thank goodness for our heavy duty suspension in Cape Town.
So, most things you can prepare for, however nothing prepares you as you enter a city of one million people, Bulawayo. It is something akin to travelling through a war torn country without the smouldering rubble heaps.
On rare occasions another vehicle may pass by, the populations mill about on the roads in groups on one side hoping to hitch a ride and then the other people walking to and from home, work, markets, wherever they need to go.
Down Town Buluwayao in peak-hour traffic
The industrial area is full of factories and warehouses, empty, closed up and though modern in appearance they stand, broken windowed, overgrown and dilapetated from lack of attention.
Down Town Buluayo
Obviously Zimbabwe has had better times but certainly not at this time. So the pictures seem rather bleak and depressing. One would ask, why bother going, and why indeed did we go?
Well to tell the truth for us Zim is our most enjoyed country in Souhern Africa so far! Part of the adventure was the difficulty in being therr and truly the Zimbabwean people are courteous and friendly far beyond thier current economic climate should dictate.
Millet shaped Structure in Great Enclosure
Another reason was to view the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. A truely beautiful, mysterious and grand ancient stone city. Built 1,500 years ago and estimated at its peak to have housed over 25,000 people it is the largest stone structure in the Africa's other than the Pyramids of Giza (Egypt) and of course with our obsession for ancient cities we had to see it!
Great Enclose Walls
Great Enclosure Perimiter Wall
At last it was time for us to leave Zimbabwe and we would have stayed longer, exploring it more thoroughly, if it had not been so difficult to travel there. With gorgeous scenerey on the raod from Mazvingo to Beitbridge our hearts wanted to stay.
Once angin we entered South Africa, with 5 litres of feule to spare!
* Immigration window for exit stamps
* Cusoms window for carnet stamps
* Pay for visas (US$30.00 for Aussies, single entry, six months - You must pay in foreign currency and have the exact ammount as there is no change available. Officials will NOT accept Zim$ from foreigners nor give change in Zim$)
* Customs window for your carnet stamped
* Exit through the baggage inspection gate where they may open your luggage, and if you are lucky they will not question the ammount of gasoline you have in your bags!
Under the Boabab Tree
* Pay US$4.75 or ZAR35.00 toll for use of the bridge (you cannot pay in Zim$ you must pay in foreign currency, again no one has any change)
* Exit stamp from Immigration
* Exit stamp in Carnet from customs
* Police stamp on your gate pass
* Drive past customs window for inspection
* Drive over the Limpop River
Enter South Africa
* Normal Immigration and customs stamps
Posted by Julie Rose at March 28, 2008 03:11 PM GMT
Bus near Masvingo