Zimbabwe - 6 Friends & 6 KTMs in DS heaven.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BLIP-IT, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. BLIP-IT

    BLIP-IT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa,
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    A few months ago, my brother Dave invited me to join him for a trip back to our roots, a trip to Zimbabwe with 4 of our close mutual friends, John L, John B, Charl, and Craig, all from Nelspruit and all on KTMs.
    I say back to our roots because both Dave and I were born in Zimbabwe and grew up there until we left in 1982 to live in RSA. Although I have been back quite regularly since then on trips to Kariba, Vic Falls and Mana pools, I had never been back to my home town of Chimanimani since leaving, 28 years!

    Day1; Hoedspruit to Beitbridge.

    All the guys decided to leave Nelspruit on Friday 11th June and come and stay at my place in Hoedspruit, where we would all leave for Zim on the Saturday. It was decided to leave Nelspruit at lunch time so that they could make it to Hoedspruit in time to watch Bafana Bafana play in the first match of the SWC. Safari Club in Hoedspruit was the venue to watch the game, the spirit of the locals in this small bushveld town was astounding, and the beer flowed as Bafana logged up the first goal of the match!

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    Early on Saturday morning we all left my place on a route up through Limpopo, we were to be treated to some awesome back roads through rural Limpopo, up through Leydsdorp, Gravelotte, Giyani, Thouyandou and Chipise to name a few towns.

    Leaving my place on Saturday morning, Charl 950SE, Dave 950SE, Craig 950SE, John L 950SE, John B 640 Adventure and me 990R Adventure.

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    First stop was the ghost town of Leydsdorp, the smallest city in South Africa and once the capital of the Lowveld, was named in honour of President Paul Kruger's secretary of state, Dr William Leyd. Having shot his first lion at the age of twelve, Paul Kruger was a keen hunter and used to visit his hunting house (which can still be seen today) on a regular basis. In fact, he enjoyed it so much, that when he needed to put his signature on a few important documents that were only allowed to be signed in a city, he proclaimed it as such. And thus Leydsdorp was proclaimed an official city on 1 October 1890. However, the history of Leydsdorp started as early as 1870 with the discovery of gold, the extent of which was fully recognised in 1887/8, starting the 2nd gold rush in South Africa. Sadly, just when uncle Paul thought he could maintain state control over the mining through the proclamation of the area as the Selati Goldfields, the sudden and rapid boom ended as quickly as it had started.

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    Craigs 950SE at Leydsdorp.

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    My Adventure outside the Leydsdorp hotel.

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    John L and his 950SE at Leydsdorp.

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    John B and his 640 ADV at Leydsdorp.

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    [Dave my brother with his 950SE outside Porters Pub at Leydsdorp.

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    Charl in front then Dave and John L in Leydsdorp main street.

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    Leydsdorp main street.

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    From there it was on some lovely gravel roads cruising 2 at a time side by side 120km/h all the way to Giyani where we stopped for breakfast at the Wimpy. A friendly bustling town where everyone greeted us. Soccer fever was still running high in this town, we ate our breakfast to the sound of wailing vuvuzelas in the distance.

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    From Giyani, it was onto Thouyandou and then Chipise and Musina. The riding got a little more challenging, there were more cattle, goats and donkeys to dodge, but the scenery was lush bushveld and many flowing rivers.

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    John B and his trusty 640 near Giyani.

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    Charl and his 950SE.

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    We stopped in Musina at a friend of mine, Henry, who arranged a runner for the Zim side of the border, it is common knowledge that the runners at the border are mostly there to rip off tourists, withholding passports until an exorbitant fee is payed, so to save time and to make sure we got a good trustworthy runner, Henry arranged for Brian to meet us at the Zim border. Henry runs a truck stop and import export business in Musina.
    It was also time to say a reluctant goodbye to Charl, he had been invited to join us on the trip, but due to some other commitments could not go, but not wanting to miss out completely he decided to ride with us as far as the border! All our hearts were in our shoes as we bid him goodbye and he started his trip back to Nelspruit. Before he left, he and Dave swapped front wheels as Dave suddenly saw that his font tyre would not last the full trip to Zim and back. Thanks Charl, we definitely missed you on the trip!

    Stopped in Musina on Saturday afternoon.



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    We arrived at the very busy Beitbridge Border post at 4PM, the SA side was busy, a queue that stretched out the door and down the road! ::)
    Lucky for us one of the Customs officials was interested in the bikes and came over to chat, after making friends with him, he promptly took us to the front of the queue, stamped our passports and we were out of there and over the Limpopo to the Zim side to meet with our runner Brian.
    Even with our runner it turned out to be a 2 hour wait for everything to be finalized, so after paying our R160 each carbon tax and completing all the paperwork, passports stamped and all for a R100 each "donation" to our runner we finally got through the border after dark.
    Our plan was to reach the Lion and Elephant Hotel 82km from Beitbridge, but we were told that it was really rundown ( a fact that we later found to be completely untrue) and that we should rather stay at the Bubi Motel about 2km before the Lion and Elephant.
    Now as you know everyone tells you don't travel after dark in Africa, and nothing could be more relevant when referring to this stretch of 82km! Unfortunately we had no choice but to push on slowly along this road with it's wrecked trucks and cars along side the road baring testament to all the accidents on this treacherous section. there were donkeys, cattle, vehicles without lights, vehicles with only high beams, vehicles with only 1 headlight, we came across an accident too. As none of us really ride at night, some of the bikes headlights were either shinning too high or too low, every on coming truck or car would bright us because they think you are a car with one light and they need to see where you are on the road. nearly every vehicle approaching would put there right hand indicator on, I realised this is their way of asking you to do the same, this way they can identify the proximity of the right hand side of your vehicle, once I started responding by putting on my right indicator there was no more brights from the oncoming trucks and buses. :thumleft:

    We arrived at the Bubi Motel at around 8PM, cold tired thirsty and hungry, after quenching our thirsts on a couple of beers, we ordered Sadza (Zim word for Pap) and stew which went down well, we then order another few rounds to take with to the rooms.

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    Lizzy kept them coming! ;D

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    ..........and so ended an awesome first day of our trip.

    More to come................
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
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    Looks like a jovial gathering and quite the adventure ahead :beer

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    #2
  3. BLIP-IT

    BLIP-IT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa,
    Day 2; Bubi River to Chiredzi.

    After a good nights rest and a lekker hot shower, we kitted up early and got a good look at our accommodation in the morning light. The Bubi Motel which cost us $25 US per room per night, comfortable, but right next to the highway and the trucks pass by all night long!

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    Dave kitting up.

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    From there we filled up with Zimbabwe unleaded which is called Blend, a type of Sugar Cane derived ethanol fuel which cost about $1.26 US per litre.
    2km down the road we stopped at the Lion & Elephant Hotel for Breakfast, the hotel was in a great condition, the owners had apparently returned from Scotland and revamped the Hotel, we regretted not spending the night here rather. If you ever do stop here, their homemade steak pies are the best I've ever had!!

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    Dave, myself and Craig at the entrance to the Lion and Elephant Hotel, Bubi river.

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    After breakfast, we hit the tar road for 82km to the Nuanetsi river, but first we had to stop for a photo at the baobab layby (Zim word for a rest/picnic stop).

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    Then about 2km before we were due to turn off on our first gravel road I got caught for speeding! :-[ 100km/h in a 60 zone, the fine $20 US, the cops were friendly, I was given an admission of guilt receipt filled out in triplicate, and told to please drive safely.
    We left the tar and after 2km came to a guard controlled boom gate, after filling in the visitors book we entered a game reserve and it was 76km to the exit boom on a great road that passed through mopani veld with the occasional Baobab, and many dry river crossings. We hardly saw any animals apart from a few Impala and some baboons.

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    After exiting the wildlife area we entered a tribal area with little settlements all along the way, most were subsistence farmers growing maize and vegetables, but we did see a lot of cotton fields too. The locals were always friendly waving to us and the children cheered us through their villages!
    The riding was total heaven , the roads were wide, and when the main road deteriorated due to potholes or corrugations, the locals had resorted to driving next to the road, so you could choose between 3 roads all traveling parallel, and when there was an oncoming donkey cart or car you just jumped onto the main dirt road then back off again. I can only describe it as riding poetry! The speeds we were riding were sometimes in excess of 160km/h, awesome awesome riding. :eek7:
    The bushveld next to the road resembled a park with lovely big trees and beautiful short lawn growing underneath, one could ride just about anywhere here! Total riding bliss!! :D:D

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    When fuel was low we stopped at the nearest village, they often sell petrol in containers from the small stores, the fuel is quite clean and when funneled into the bike through a sieve filter it is safe enough.

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    After filling up we headed for Chipinda pools in the Gonarezhou National Park, we knew that the bridge over the Runde river had been washed away and that we would have to find an alternative crossing place.

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    We were in awe :eek7: at the force of what water can do when we finally reached the Lundi bridge, it was a big bridge and at least 80m had been washed away in the 2000 floods! We stopped on the remaining section to admire the view.

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    We realized that the water was too deep to cross here and we were told by the locals that we could cross 2km in the Gonarezhou National Park close to the Chipinda pools reception, so off we went. We found the crossing which was about knee deep, but about 120m across and we quickly found out it was unridable, the bottom consisted of soccer ball sized boulders which were slippery as snot, I could hardly stay on my feet walking across! It was decided to push the bikes across 2 people at a time. time to get the boots wet!! It was slow and very tiring. Not to mention the ever present Hippo and Crocodile close by. We nervously made our way across one bike at a time!

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    Just as we had got 3 of the bikes across a Parks Board official stopped us and duly informed us that should we all get across, we would have to pay $17US each to go through the park which was about 3km before we would be out again, this was too expensive, so back we went and we travelled another 20km up stream where we managed to cross at a small town called Chilonga, but first we stopped at their little market a sampled some very cold zim Castle lagers.

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    Check the live chickens tied to this mans handle bars!

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    Once across the river we entered Hippo valley, a major sugar plantation with a big sugar mill, I was surprised to see how many people were working as it was a Sunday, but there were people and vehicles operating all over. The dust on these sugar plantations was terrible and the going was slow.
    Then we found the tar again, first time in over 300km, and it was on to Chiredzi (10km) to fill up again and find a hotel.
    We found a hotel called The Nesbitt Arms, very nice, but at $90 US per person it was a little out of our budget, so we drank some of their beer and proceeded back to the Hippo pools country club.

    The Nesbitt Arms

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    The Hippo Pools Country Club was almost fully booked, but they had a 4 sleeper chalet for $30US for the night, so we took it, I would have to sleep on the floor, luckily I had brought my new ATG stretcher which I bought from Michnus. The one room also had a double bed so John L and Craig decided to share it, it was going to be a cold night and so being able to cuddle would be an advantage. :pot:

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    Here we experience awesome hospitality and service, our waiter, Bright, was friendly well educated man, nothing was to much for him, and they fell over themselves trying to help us. I must ad that during our stay in Zimbabwe we soon found that their load shedding was such that most places only had electricity from 8 or 9pm til 5 or 6am daily, so we had to time our showers when there was hot water and most of the hotels cooking was done on gas, coal stove or even open fires.
    So ended another fantastic day in Zim, we were tired, but looking forward to the days that lay ahead now that we had had a taste of this DS heaven!
    #3
  4. BLIP-IT

    BLIP-IT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa,
    Day3; Chiredzi to Chimanimani.


    After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the Hippo Pools Country Club, we refilled our camel packs and rode out of Chiredzi. We had to cover about 50kms of tar before we turned off onto gravel where we again went through a boom into a restricted conservation area. It was amazing to me that bikes were allowed into these big 5 conservation areas, but I was glad to be able to experience the ride through this area which was part of Devuli Ranch, which was originally settled on by the 2 Bridges brothers who were part of the 1920 settlers. The original Devuli Ranch was 1 million Acres!
    On the way through this ranch we travelled 86kms of gravel, and what an awesome ride it was, the lowveld bushveld scenary was again Mopani trees, Baobabs and acacia scrub, with many dry and wet riverbed crossings between beautiful rocky outcrops and kopjies. We saw Giraffe, Impala, Baboon, Kudu, Wildebeest and although we didn’t see elephant we saw their sign everywhere including their massive footprints on the road! I was relieved not to have bumped into any Ellies or lions!:lol3

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    What a road!!:huh


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    What a bike!!:D

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    Isn't Africa beautiful?:clap

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    Resting under the Mopani trees.

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    Back on the black top again for a 15km ride tho the famous Birchenough Bridge across the Save River, and what a sight she was when we finally saw her rising majestically from between the Baobabs!
    Birchenough Bridge is the name for both a bridge across the Save River (pronounced Sa've) and a village next to the bridge. Birchenough Bridge is located 62 km from Chipinge in the Manicaland province of Zimbabwe linking Mutare with Masvingo. The bridge was funded and planned by the Beit Trust, a foundation chaired at the time by Sir Henry Birchenough. It was completed in 1935. At a length of 1080 feet (329 m) it was the third longest single-arch suspension bridge in the world at the time.

    Ralph Freeman, the bridge's designer, was also the structural designer on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and consequently the two bridges bear a close resemblance, although Birchenough is only two-thirds as long as the Australian bridge.Ralph Freeman also designed the bridge over the Zambezi at Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe/Zambian border. This design of bridge was tried out in Zimbabwe and when it proved to be successful, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built.

    In the 1970s a 40-tonne load limit was imposed on the bridge but in 1984 the bridge was widened (roadway: 7.2 m to 10 m wide) and strengthened as part of the World Bank's Highway Project One. The village which sprang up next to the bridge has become the centre of a small-scale farming area.

    The bridge is widely considered by Zimbabweans as being one of the country's finest pieces of architecture, and as such, it appears on the twenty-cent coin.

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    The Save River.

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    We filled up with fuel at the small and busy little town of Birchenough Bridge and then went for lunch at the Birchenough Bridge Hotel which used to be a top class Hotel in it's day, but much had changed.............we decided to settle down in the garden to suck on a few beers and take our boots off to dry in the sun, (they were still wet from yesterdays river crossing) we all ordered the T-bone steak and chips on the menu. The T-bones were ordered medium, but arrived an hour later and were very well done and tasted suspiciously like goat!! :eek7: :imaposer:

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    John L & I trying to force down the T bones.

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    John B, "WTF is this?" :huh:eek1

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    Dave, " Fuck that! I'll stick to the chips thanks!" :D


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    After a good couple of beers, John L argued that his nose was not as big as Daves, we humoured them with this photo, Dave in the foreground..................you decide? :freaky

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    Just after leaving the hotel on the tar, we crossed this bridge with a beautiful clear little river, this was too tempting to pass up, Dave and Craig decided to do a little crossing!

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    The enevitable happened on the way back through the river, Craig fell prey to the combination of short legs, and slippery rocks and dunked his 950SE in the river! :poser

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    Damn! I just got my boots dry now this! :cry

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    Luckily, no damage, but Craigs battery drained from all the cranking, so we were there for a while......... :wink:

    From there we rode a mountain pass with about 3000 corners that took us up about 1000m to 1400m, what an awesome ride on these bikes, we were throwing them through corners like superbikes. This pass ended at the top at an area known as skyline, the scenery changed dramatically to lush green vegetation and forestry plantations with flat topped umbrella acacia along the road sides.

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    This pass had some of the best corners I have ever ridden!:clap

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    ....and in the far distance the majestic Chimanimani mountain range!

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    I was really excited to drive down this pass, it had been more than 28 years since I had last been to thie town where I lived and grew up as a boy, back then it was called Melsetter, now it was called Chimanimani after the mountain range that stood before the little village.
    We rode into town and headed for the Chimanimani Hotel which would be our home for the next 2 nights.

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    Our Chalets.

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    That night we were treated to the best service and hospitality I have experienced in a long time, the Hotel Manager Robson and his staff fussed over us and Robson himself a chef, personally cooked our chicken and chips supper! The beers flowed, and 5 good friends enjoyed a lovely supper together in good company, excellent surroundings and a really great hotel.

    :1drink:freaky:1drink:freaky

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    With childhood memories flooding back to me I went to bed that night happy to be back in my home town. Can life get any better than this?
    #4
  5. BLIP-IT

    BLIP-IT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa,
    Day4: Chimanimani.

    We decided to hang around for an extra day exploring this awesome place with it's beautiful mountains, Msasa tree forests, crystal clear streams, fresh mountain air and friendly people.
    Dave and I especially wanted to visit our old school and walk around the old village and reminisce about our childhood growing up here.

    A quick tour around the village revealed that it had fallen badly into decay and ruin, uncle Bobs (Mugabe) hands had past over the place and placed a curse on this once bustling little village.

    The main street.

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    This used to be the Bottle Store, now the MDCs Building.


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    The St Georges Anglican Church.

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    Our old Primary School, when we were there there were 25 pupils total, now there are 400!


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    The old country club, now taken over by the war veterans who have f@cked it up completely.


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    Not wanting to spend too much time on the deteriorating town we decided to head for those magnificent Chimanimani mountains for a little hike , it was about a 50km ride from town along a badly deteriorating road that eventually became a basic foot path, it was tough going but we knew it would be worth it and boy were we in for a treat, still one of the most beautiful untouched places I have ever been to, there was no sign of people, no litter, the place was untouched by humans. Words can not describe how spectacular this place is, so I'll let the pictures tell the story...........

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    Crystal clear mountain streams.

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    We parked the bikes and hiked into the mountains.

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    The water was crystal clear but cooooold!!! :huh:huh:huh:huh

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    John L.

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    Me.

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    Even Tarzan showed up!:poser:poser
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    The riding was quite challenging in places! :ricky:

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    Then a quick stop at a shabeen (Slang for liquor store) for some cold ones......... :freaky

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    Then back to the Hotel.

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    Many of these were consumed! :1drink:1drink:1drink

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    .................and so ended another tough day in Africa!

    The next day was to be even better! More to come..................




    #5
  6. BLIP-IT

    BLIP-IT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa,
    Day 5; Chimanimani to Vumba.

    After a hearty breakfast we kitted up and left Chimanimani, riding down the valley on the road to Cashel, the first part of the road was well used, but in a bad rutted and rocky condition, but as we went the road got less used and athe bush was slowly taking over and at times the trail was down to a single track. The scenery remained breathtakingly beautiful and we stopped regularly to enjoy the view. John B, was so busy admiring the view that he ended up lying on his back in the middle of the road! :poser:poser

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    We rode this beautiful road for about 80km before reaching the small village of Cashel, we hadn't filled up in Chimanimani so we searched for a fuel station here, unfortunately there wasn't one, another 20km and a police roadblock we found petrol at the small settlement called Nhedziwa.

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    Some of the shops and stores.

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    From there it was back onto the dirt on a road that I can only describe as the best dirt road I have ever had the privilege of riding! The road twisted and turned through the indigenous Msasa forests between beautiful rock and boulder kopjies, the road was hard surfaced with a layer of sand on top, perfect traction, every corner was camber perfectly, on corner after another of throwing the bikes hard first left the right, down through little dry river beds then climbing up and over the mountains, then the road opened up with long straights with gentle sweeping corners inviting you to hang on the throttle, leaving long drifting powerslides for 40 to 50 meters at a time. I was going so fast i didn't dare look at the speedo. What an experience of exhilaration, speed and control. :clap:clap

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    Around mid day we decided to stop at another shabeen (roadside liquor store) for some refreshments. As usual we were the only customers for about 10 miutes until the bush telegraph went out and before long the place was crowded with inquisitive onlookers. No matter where we went or stopped, every shabeen had it's local resident Rastafarian, dreadlocks and all! :huh:huh

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    The resident Rastafarian. :1drink

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    John B describing his wipeout and the "farm he had bought that morning". :poser:poser

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    That afternoon we made it to the Vumba mountains and we booked in at a place called "Seldom Seen", a cottage set in the mountains with an exquisite view. The bird life here was phenomenal, and birders come from far and wide to seek those elusive species to ad to their positively identified lists.
    Unfortunately a cold font had started to move in turning the weather very miserable for riding, so we found a great restaurant and decided to settle down to some good food and beverages. :freaky

    The cottage at Seldom Seen.

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    The restaurant.

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    The view.

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    Huddled around the fire.

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    More to come soon.
    #6
  7. BLIP-IT

    BLIP-IT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa,
    Day 6; Vumba to Lake Mutirikwi (Kyle)

    We woke up on Thursday morning to miserable cold and overcast weather. The original plan was to go up to Nyanga which our route would take us up into the mountains where the altitude would exceed 3000m in some places, but due to the bad weather we decided to head in land towards lower and warmer altitudes and where we could explore the many gravel roads on the map.


    Our first stop was the Prince of Wales view point which looked out over the city of Mutare.

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    The view at Prince of Wales viewpoint.

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    We drove into the outskirts of Mutare at 8AM, straight into rush hour traffic, I was surprised how busy this bustling little city was, people were on there way to work, taxis, cars buses and pedestrians everywhere, it was the first time we had to ride carefully and defensively since entering Zim!
    We headed straight for the Wimpy to have a breakfast and coffee.

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    Some of us didn't look so good after last night! Too much :1drink??

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    After some terrible coffee and a really crappy breakfast (not up to Wimpy SA standards ::) ) we headed for a tour of the town. Many years ago I went to school here at Umtali boys High School, so we rode past the school, it was really depressing to see the condition of this once proud school, I decided not to take photos and rather to remember it as it was.
    We then hit the road up Christmas pass and out of town past Penalonga, I saw what looked like an interesting road on the GPS we then took the turn-off to the right at a little roadside butchery/shabeen, we were riding along this little road, came around a corner and rode straight into an army platoon armed to the teeth out on training patrol, they had RPGs, Mortars, MAGs AK47s the whole nine yards, and here we come 5 white okes balls to the wall straight through their platoon, they fortunately just waved, looked like they had had seriously strenuous exercise session, they were to poked to do anything! We carried on with the road and rode straight into a full on army camp!! The guys were really friendly and just wanted to know about the soccer scores and if we had smokes for them! We didn't dare take any photos here! :eek1
    After re-calculating our route we turned off the Tar at the little farming town of Odzi, from here we were back onto the awesome dirt roads again, this would be the longest gravel section that we would ride without seeing any tar or fuel a full 228km!
    Along this road the scenery was back to big rock and boulder formations with large baobabs and indigenous forests with the occasional village and settlement.

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    We stopped around lunch time at a shabeen for a beer or 2, :freaky the locals all crowded round to look at the bikes. Next to the shabeen was a little maize mill and they were busy grinding maize with an old mill run by an even older Lister motor. There was also yet another carpenter making coffins.

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    The beers were cold! :clap

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    Across the road was a school, the headmaster came over and started talking to us. He asked us if we wouldn't mind riding over the road to visit the school as the children were really excited to see the us on the bikes and they would really appreciate the visit. We decided to do one better and offered to do a little show and demonstration (show-off) on the bikes for them as long as they all stayed on the side of the road. This went down very well, and quickly the whole school 1600 pupils were assembled next to the road! Dave and Craig proceeded to give them a show of wheelies and ramps to their delight, they were cheered on with much enthusiasm, needless to say they will be talking about those white guys on their big orange bikes for many days!!

    The school.

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    1600 pupils assembled for the show! :lol3:lol3:clap:clap

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    Dave showing-off! :D

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    The ride to Lake Mutirikwi was stunningly beautiful, we entered a region that was massive rock kopjies with smooth rock slopes running down into deep gorges, we rode slowly just enjoying the scenery, it was so beautiful. Words can not describe the natural beauty of this country, it is something you have to experience!

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    We came over the hill and arrived at Lake Mutirikwi, previously known as Lake Kyle.
    Dammed at the confluence of the Mshagashe and Mutirikwi rivers, the 90 square kilometers of water make Lake Mutirikwi Zimbabwe's third largest water body. Boating and licensed fishing is allowed, but since the water contains both crocodile and the bilhazia parasite, swimming is not advised. Spreading back up the two rivers, the lake forms two sides of a 12 000 ha triangular game park. Undulating and broken hill country covered mainly by miombo woodland and grassland make this scenically one of the most attractive parks in Zimbabwe. The area owes much of it's undisturbed beauty to the absence of elephant. A lack of predators makes game-viewing on horse-back and unaccompanied game-walks a major attraction. Apart from a thriving population of white rhino, the park offers good viewing of tsessebe, reedbuck, oribi, giraffe and nyala, among others. The park has a good selection of raptors and grassland birds and the lake provides habitat for a wide range of water birds. There are hotels on the lakeshore offering chalets, lodges and camping.

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    On the dam wall.

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    After checking out a few accommodation options we pulled in to the Inn at Great Zimbabwe, a lovely place with a panoramic view of the lake. Here we paid $25 bed and breakfast, for a chalet that could sleep 8 people, the hotel was in a fantastic condition, tastefully furnished, well maintained and again we had exceptional service from the very polite and friendly staff.

    Outside the reception, me, Craig, John B and John L.

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    Beautiful gardens with the Lake in the back ground.

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    Our Chalet.

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    We settled down to a tasty dinner, a few beers and some great company discussing yet another fantastic days travels!

    Stay tuned for day 7 still to come!
    #7
  8. BLIP-IT

    BLIP-IT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa,
    Day 7; Lake Mutirikwi (Kyle) to Lion & Elephant Motel.

    We awoke early to a cold and overcast day, the hotel served a hearty breakfast which hit the right spot and raised the spirits.

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    We decided to visit the Great Zimbabwe Ruins which was 7kms from the Hotel, which was great because the temperature was a chilly 7 degrees Centigrade! Hopefully it would warm up a bit before we got in the saddle again! :huh:

    At the ruins parking lot we met a fellow adventure rider all the way from the UK on his BMW F800GS, he had been on the road a little over a month and was heading North into Mozambique. Boy were we jealous!! :D:D

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    The Ruins are an experience and I can strongly recommend a visit if you are in the area, it is really awesome to walk through the narrow passages and towering walls, built in the 11th century and still standing today!

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    The Museum.


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    We had coffee at the small tea garden.
    This monkey was also cold, he was holding his nuts off the cold stone table! :D:lol3:D

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    When we arrived back at the bikes we noticed that John Bs front shock seals were leaking, this was due to his previous meeting with mother earth. Dave re-aligned the front-end and cleaned the seals, problem solved!:clap

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    On the road again, we filled up and turned onto the old tar road between Masvingo and Rutenga Junction, this road was basically a car width wide and ran parallel to the new road. After this road ended we took another awesome dirt road that wound it's way between the rock hills and small villages, crossing dry river beds and passing donkey carts carrying cotton bales to market.
    We stopped again at a shabeen,:freaky met some more locals, including a deaf and dumb chap who communicated with us by writing on a piece of paper, he wanted us to post a photo back to him which we took of him standing with the bikes and some local children.

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    The deaf and dumb man.

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    We reached the Lion and Elephant Hotel at about 4pm, the end of our last day in Zim. What a great place to stay,comfortable chalets, great food and beautiful setting.

    Our last sundowners in Zim. :cry

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    The next day we left early, after a quick stretch to the border, we spent 2 hours getting back into SA, the guys voted for the quickest route home, all of us wanted to be home for fathers day.

    I left Zim with mixed feelings, we had ridden the most beautiful route that I have ever ridden, through remote areas with stunning landscapes, friendly people and haunting childhood memories. I love the place, it creeps into your soul. I realized that it had crept into mine many years ago, being away for many years just left an empty void, returning "home" after 28 years just brought wonderful feelings and memories flooding back, although I lived and grew up during the bush war, I have only good memories, I realize that this wonderful place has and always will have a special place in my heart and soul...........................I will be back..........soon.

    The End.
    #8
  9. Dirt2007

    Dirt2007 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,923
    Location:
    NEOK
    Wow what an awsome trip. Looks like i need to add another part of the world to go visit. I just hope someday I can get there.
    #9
  10. badcherrys

    badcherrys Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    Essex in the U.K
    An amazing RR,I lived in Kenya for most of my childhood,I never been back.But i will one day.I often wonder how muched it has changed.Thanks :clap
    #10
  11. BLIP-IT

    BLIP-IT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa,
    You must go back, Kenya is a great DS country, and those memories are important!
    #11
  12. Aicorner

    Aicorner n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    Durban, South Africa
    Great report; being used to persuade certain unbelievers to make proper use of the September long weekend (and a bit more).
    #12