Let’s Make a Plan
One of the most common phrases spoken throughout Zimbabwe is “we’ll make a plan”. It’s representative of the fact that often plans fall through and you are forced to come up with a contingency. When our original plans to travel through Mozambique in mid-April got thwarted by transportation complications, we made a plan. It seemed only right to spend this unaccounted for time doing some truly Zimbabwean activities with my mom’s Zimbabwean cousins who live in Harare and Lake Kariba.
Bidding farewell to Chris and Norma, we left Bulawayo midmorning on a Saturday, and six road tolls and five and a half hours later we were in Harare. We spent a few nights there before journeying another five hours Northwest towards Lake Kariba, the largest lake in Zimbabwe. We spent a lovely few days with Natalie and Derek Adamson, my mom’s cousins who used to operate one of the marinas in Kariba. We were able to spend three of our nights with them on the water, on a houseboat that Derek currently manages. I have to say it was vastly different from our houseboating experiences in California. For one, we were accompanied by a boat captain and cook, who took care of our every need – preparing meals, making beds, cleaning the boat, anything and everything. The other major difference is that we were restricted from any water activities due to the presence of a plethora of crocodiles and hippos. We saw dozens! One of the highlights was getting a few visits from elephants grazing nearby where our boat was moored. The scenery was dramatic; thousands of petrified trees project out of the lake telling tales of forested areas before the lake was dammed. After three days of stunning sunrises and sunsets we cruised the boat back towards town, feeling ready to put our feet down on land again.
From Kariba we drove back up the Zambezi valley escarpment and rendezvoused with Jackie, Leo and Andoni Diamondis, my mom’s cousins from Harare. With them we convoyed to a beautiful riverside fishing camp near Chirundu, called Jecha. Once there we assumed the leisurely schedule of “fish, eat, fish, eat, fish, eat, sleep, repeat”. Most of the camps that are scattered along the shoreline of the Zambezi specialize in Tiger fishing, and that’s certainly what we were there for. These fish are unlike anything we have in the States, with their giant menacing teeth that add to the thrill of the catch. Fortunately, we all caught Tiger. And for every fish we landed in the boat, there were ten more that stole our live bait right off our hooks. After a good few days of sun, food, drink, socializing and fishing we packed up the rods and headed back to Harare.
All in all we had a perfect two week break from farm life, getting to spend quality time with friends, family and nature. We are so thankful for the Diamondis and Adamson families who made us feel so welcome and bent over backwards to show us a good ol’ Zimbabwean time. Today we drive back to Bulawayo to resume projects on the farm and we are excited to return to the rural area that now feels so much like home.