Hwange National Park
18 Nov 2006
|My first day in Africa went from bad to worse, after I wrote that last entry I went to the bank to get out more money as I hadn't realised it was going to be so expensive...and the ATM ate my card. I could not believe it. Then I went to dinner and got a pizza with a guy I met who was going to be on my safari and it cost us US$38!
Something just did not add up.
Anyway, it turns out that I had been exchanging money at the 'official' rate of $250 Zimbabwe Dollars to $1 US Dollar. Sounded fine to me except that it makes Zimbabwe super expensive because EVERYONE exchanges on the black market and gets $1700 Zimababwe Dollars to their US Dollar. Hmm...I got had big time!! So much for being an intrepid traveller, lol. At least I got my card back the next day though.
I've just spent 3 days in the Hwange (Wankie) National Park going on game drives early morning, 5.30am and afternoon, 4.30pm. It was completely isolated and no one else was staying in the park except for my safari, which was comprised off a grand total of 4 people, including me, plus a guide, Thinkwell and his superb cook, Floyd. I saw so many animals just hanging about it in their natural enviroment it was amazing, it sort of didn't feel real, like I was at the zoo. Even though we had to be careful to keep watch when ever we stopped to that nothing snuck up on us! I've seen 3 of the Big 5 so far, elephant, buffalo and lion. Still waiting on leopard and rhino. At least I was dressed for the part in the baggy safari pants I bought in Vic Falls, and the tacky tourist souvenir t-shirts. Like the one that said 'I bungee jumped Vic Falls' which is didn't (and won't after my Chiang Mai experience, once is enough!). It has been such a culture shock coming from Europe where I was able to style it up somewhat..now its back to scabby backpacker mode :(
Its pretty hot here in the middle of the day, the sun is scorching, but very mild in the evening and until about 8am. I even need to put a jumper on (but then again I am a cold frog).
I arrived back at Vic Falls this afternoon and guess what???
Fabulous news!!! My beloved backpack was there waiting for me!! I was so excited to see my well worn camo pants and wife beaters that served me so well in Central America(sorry Seun, they didn't get lost!)
I have a pre-departure meeting this afternoon before my 3 week safari through to Cape Town kicks off on Monday. So it will be interesting to see who else I'm travelling with and who my tent roomie will be. I hope they know how to set up a tent because I certainly don't. In fact I am really unsure at this point exactly why I picked a CAMPING safari...I don't think I'm actually a camping kind of girl!
My plan is to go whitewater-rafting down the Zambezi tomorrow then a gorge swing over the Falls (kinda like bungee in that you jump off 100m but then you swing out instead of bounce up and down).
"Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things - air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it."
- Cesare Pavese