Bird on a Bare Branch

Attempting to fling a frail song in my little corner of the world

How Not to Travel Through Zimbabwe July 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 12:04 pm

Day 1:  Get dropped off at the Maquinino chapa terminal at 7:30am loaded down (between two people) with two giant backpacks, one large backpack, and one overly-heavy rolling carry-on suitcase.  Bus from Beira to Chimoio takes about 3 1/2 hours.

In Chimoio, fight off men who want to carry our luggage.  Lyndsay gets robbed anyway.  Pickpocket manages to steal her wallet while we’re transferring buses.  Find this out halfway between Chimoio and the Zim border.  Cobredor forgives us the 15 meticais we’re short.

Get dropped off and walk across the border into Zimbabwe.  Take taxi into Mutare to Ann Bruce’s backpackers.  By car the trip from Beira to Mutare is about three hours.  It’s now 2:30pm.

Tell ourselves Vic Falls is going to be amazing.

Day 2:  Sleep in.  Take taxi to bus terminal and get on ‘beeg bus’ to Harare.  Driver tells us there are seats in the back.  Lyndsay has to stand in the aisle.

Bus breaks down.  Two Zimbabwean women grab one of our bags and say, “Come on.  Let’s go hijack.”  Hitch a ride in back of a pick-up truck, which takes us all the way to the bus terminal in Harare.  Our friends pick us up.  The trip from Mutare to Harare by car is about three hours.  It took us about five.

Tell ourselves Vic Falls is going to be amazing.

Day 3:  No buses.  Play with lion cubs instead.

Day 4:  Take luxury coach to Bulawayo.  We’re more than willing to pay the extra $10 for comfort and reliability.  Best $25 ever spent on a bus ticket.

Day 4 continued:  Stay in Bulawayo with friends of a friend.  Take nap then try to get on overnight train to Victoria Falls.  First class fully booked and friend refuses to let us take economy.  By car to Vic Falls is about five hours.  By train is 12-16.  Return home to watch movie and get good night’s sleep.  Plan to get on bus next morning.

Tell ourselves Vic Falls is going to be amazing.

Day 5:  Wake up with very sore throat.  Lyndsay already battling cold.  Get dropped off at bus, which looks promising – leaves at 9am and scheduled to arrive in Vic Falls at 4:30pm.  Luxury bus leaves at 2pm and scheduled to arrive at 7:30pm.  We’ll save money and get there earlier.

Bus is actually no different than ‘beeg bus’ from Mutare to Harare.  Except this one has nine boxes of 100 chicks each in the luggage racks above seats.  That’s 900 chirping chicks for over six hours.

Bus catches on fire an hour into the journey.  Driver says replacement coming in 30-40 minutes.  Wait 2 1/2 hours on side of road for replacement.

Tell ourselves Vic Falls is going to be amazing.

Arrive in Vic Falls at 6:30pm.  Check into backpackers and thankfully eat curry after living off biscuits and crisps all day.

Sleep horribly as cold erupts in full force.

Day 6: Vic Falls is amazing.

Day 7: Taxi to border (at the Falls).  Walk across bridge into Zambia.  Vic Falls is still amazing.  Zambian officials charge us $50 each for a transit visa.  I explain we’re only going to be in Zambia for 2 1/2 hours to get to the airport to catch our flight.  Show our itineraries.  Pay $50 each for transit visa.

Fly to Johannesburg.

This is the way we go to Zambia so early in the morning.


5 Responses to “How Not to Travel Through Zimbabwe”

  1. Lynne Hubers Says:

    Glad Vic Falls WAS amazing!


  2. israel Says:

    crazy! 😉

  3. This was a real training in patience and endurance. Or NOT?

  4. This was an unlucky trip to a rather exciting destination. l hope that next time you plan a trip to somewhere its advisable to research and have alternative plans if things go wrong. But l hope that you are just unhappy with the circumstances that occurred and not the people as this can happen to anyone and anywhere or could have been worse. Thank you for visiting Victoria Falls that must have put a smile on your faces.

  5. Lyndsay Says:

    Completely ridiculous. But reading it made me laugh! And we are quite willing to endure all that, plus more by living in Africa again? What are we like?!!

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