fiery sunset, San Francisco
fiery sunset, San Francisco
  • Chim Chim Charoo Mountains
    • 05/10/2017
Camping for two nights at "Heaven Lodge", nestled in the Eastern Highlands, the brilliantly named town of Chimanimani.
We are here to hike in the rocky mountains along the border with Mozambique, and the landscape is pretty unique, see photos rather than me try to describe it further. Ok, rocky granite outcrops, erratic, weathered boulders, razor edge peaks, separated by scrubland plateaus covered in termite mounds, and lush steep valleys where clear fresh (hopefully) water cascades into shimmering pools.
The area has, like much of the country, suffered an economic downturn since liberation, as farms and mines were seized from white ownership and subsequently run into the ground due to lack of expertise and capital. Most recently a Russian diamond mine has been taken over with accusations that they were reporting falsely low yields. We can hear the dynamite as the hillside is blasted away.
The area was evidently once quite well developed, evidenced by the miles of telephone wires hang limply and broken on rusted poles, and occasional corrugated iron industrial units. Commercially scaled farming, dairy herds and plantation fields, although on the margins people still live in straw huts and scratch a living, selling bowls of produce on the roadside.
Lots of logging operations in the hills.
Tourism has also seen a huge decline, as the image of animosity towards whites and the disintegration of infrastructure has kept people away, but apparently some green shoots of recovery are appearing.
Testament to what once was is the alps style mountain hut we visit in the national park, a wonderfully solid building in the mountains, once providing lodging and meals, now left abandoned to the cobwebs...
Discussing the political climate here is a bit of a taboo, but there is an open sentiment of waiting for Mugabe to die as a turning point for democratic reform.

The roads in the hills are narrow and dusty, with overhanging branches frequently brushing through the open sides of the truck, causing frantic ducking and warning shouts of "TREE"!
Elsewhere the roads are well tarmaced and there has even been a dual carriageway!


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