After a long absence our resident rove reporter Murray ‘Muzz’ Forbes is back from his walkabout in the bush with a new instalment of Forbes on the world. This week he ventures into the heart of Zimbabwe to take on crocs, Hippos and a beer mountain.
Hello out there… well amidst the Mr Price Pro in Durban and the J Bay surfing competitions I managed to fit in a road trip with my mates to Zimbabwe. It proved to be one of my most worthwhile trips I have enjoyed to date.
The trip would be in celebration of my mates 21st. We left Johannesburg at around 8 in the morning one glorious Sunday and after managing to get through the Beit bridge border control we arrived at our stop over around 6 in the evening. It was the night that most of us shot out of the starting blocks.
There was another guy on our ‘road trip’ who was also turning 21 and it was his night to smash 21 shots. Between the 9 of us we managed to drink all the beer behind the bar. To be honest it was only around 5 or 6 cases but it just sounds way more hard core if you say that you drank the bar dry.
This meant that our planned early departure for Harare and then onto Kariba, where we would be getting on to our house boat, was somewhat delayed. The man who took 21 shots was carried to the car and thrown in the back to sleep for the rest of the day long journey while the rest of us tried to pack the 4×4’s and head out.
We made good time considering that the Zim roads haven’t seen maintenance since 1990 and they are they only means by which the country seems to get its supplies. So the truck activity is intense and the roads are small. They are similar to the country roads in England.
Travelling on a hangover was not the smartest thing to do, especially when the roads are uneven and boast many twists and turns. However after another long day in the car we arrived at our destination around 6:30pm.
We woke to a glorious winter’s morning in the heart of Africa and its forgotten country. It was a warm 26 degrees and we started to pack our things onto our house boat which would be our home for the next week.
Once unpacked and settled in the boat left port and we headed out into the dam which is like a small inland sea. We cruised for 5-6hrs and moored on the bank. We had cracked the first beer around 11 and now it was about 4ish in the afternoon. We watched as herds of elephants came down to drink as hippo’s crashed through the water before getting out on the banks to graze.
Massive Nile Crocodile inhabit the dam and I don’t think I saw one under 14 foot. They are massive and are not shy of big boats. Our captain told us to be very careful as he had watched one of his clients being attacked by three crocs after falling off the boat.
The tradition is that the house boats would go out into deeper water where crocs normally don’t hang out and clients would jump off the top and have a good swim. This went on for a couple years but crocs being extremely smart animals started to follow behind the boats looking for scraps and the odd human in between.
Now for some more light hearted humour. Our day would start with an early cup of coffee before getting out on the smaller fishing boats that were being towed behind the main boat. We would then head out for a good 3 hrs of fishing, mainly looking for Tiger Fish.
They have a mean fight and get upward of 15kgs. Fishing on light tackle for something of that size is awesome. However due to the recent cold weather the tiger have gone off the bit as they rely on warm water to be active. Even though the fishing wasn’t great it still didn’t stop us cracking the beer before 10 in the morning to drown our sorrows. This we would repeat every day.
We celebrated many fond memories and made many more. All too soon it was time to head back home. This meant a stop off in Harare for the night where we had a jam at the new ‘Tin Roof’ which is amazing and if you are ever in Harare I would highly recommend it. No idea how u get there though but if you spot a whitey cruising around ask him and they should point you in the right direction.
This trip was amazing in various ways. Catching up with friends from school is always good and reminiscing on old foolish memories is always fun as to is meeting all of their new friends from ‘the wildest man’, ‘Wilson’ and ‘Forder/Pedo’ to ‘CC’ and ‘Mad Mike.’ In short it was epic .
But one of the main reasons why we were there was to celebrate a life. My best mates dad passed away just before the trip and he was the main instigator behind us all going. So this adventure goes to you Chris Trautman may you rest in peace and your memory hold with those who loved you the most.
As a mere bystander I learnt a lot from this trip. Always carry a sense of humility and patience and even though we think that Zim is this failed country their people are amongst the happiest I have ever met, always there to lend a helping hand and never expecting anything in return. What an amazing trip and one I will hold fondly for the rest of my days.Kariba, Surfing Zimbabwe