Sunset Serengeti Africa 2017
Sunset Serengeti Africa 2017
  • All Rhodes lead to Vic Falls
    • 16/10/2017
Yesterday we stopped at the country's second city, Bulawayo, supposedly the home of the opposition movement.
Rather than become embroiled in agitiation, we are here for a day out in Matopos national park (bald heads, named after the dome shaped granite outcrops rising from the landscape) to track rhino and see ancient cave paintings.
Each group of rhino here have there own 24/7 guard, who follow and camp near the animals in two weeks shifts. The rhino also have their horns removed to deter poachers. The horns are just made of keratin like finger nails, and grow back to full length every four years. However, unlike most peoples fingernails, a vet needs two or three chainsaws to cut a horn, since the chainsaws overheat with the effort!

So we got within about 20 metres of a family group of three, who looked unperturbed, another surreal and humbling experience.

The cave paintings of the sana people are estimated to be 8000 - 10000 years old, and are crazily well preserved. Far from being crude they depict animals and events in detail using red and white dyes, made from a long lost of ingredients, including metal ore for colour, egg for adhesive, and gall bladder juice as an acidic agent which helps the paint to etch into the rock.

A quick stop at s scout camp, as it was in this area that Baden Powell received his training in bushcraft during a posting in the second Matabele war (an uprising against the colonial rule of Rhodes' Southern Africa Company).
Finally visited the grave of Cecil Rhodes, who requested to be buried on a hilltop here he had named "World's View".
Apt, as he was a bloke with some strong views on how the world should look and certainly left his mark on this part of it.

Now on the overnight train from Bulawayo to Vic Falls, last leg of the journey! The locomotive turned up to the beautiful but almost entirely deserted station three hours late and we constantly seem to be stopping in the middle of nowhere, but I think this is all factored in to the estimated journey time of 12-14 hours.

In the last day or so I have been thinking Zimbabwe is a little like Cuba - lost in time - the clocks stopped on the day of independence, and infrastructure has had no investment (or often maintenance) since. I'm surprised these trains are still run at all to be honest.


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