From the ruins to the highlands

Wed Feb 16, 2000

Heaven Mountain Lodge, Chimanimani, Eastern Highlands.

Well, here I am in the incredible mountains that form the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. But let me go back a bit…

On Monday, I finally got to see the highlight of my trip - the Great Zimbabwe ruins…

After all that research, it was a real thrill to visit an archaeological site I knew so much about already. It almost felt like I’d been there before.

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After touring the place with a guide and taking loads of pictures, I was happy to go home. I definitely won’t make it to Victoria Falls, in fact, I may have to go back to Bulawayo then Johannesburg after this, I’ll just see.

Yesterday, I bussed it with some other travellers to here. It’s an adventure catching these “chicken buses” I tell you. Whenever the bus stops, people run up and start banging on the windows trying to sell you fruit or eggs or watches. This place is really out of the way, but expensive to stay because it’s become firmly entrenched in the Backpacker route.


That’s the problem with Zimbabwe really. It’s so touristy - foreigners have to pay double what residents pay and all the backpackers stay at the same places because there’s nowhere else really. So they charge what they want. And the meals they make are so good that self-catering would be a crime! If I had a bit more money (I’ve got lots of time - that’s the problem), then this would be an amazing hardcore trip. Africa is expensive, I never thought it would be.

Anyway, going up to the high mountains tomorrow, going to sleep in a cave… a bit of experimental archaeology to see how Neanderthals lived!

There’s this Australian guy here who’s Mr. Incredible and has monopolized the attention of all the gorgeous women staying here with stories of himself. He’s a photographer for The Lonely Planet. If Julien was here, we’d have a good laugh because we were always cursing that bastard or the L.P. that travelled the whole time and got paid for it. Thank god he’s up in the caves tonight… with two incredible Danish women. Bastard.


I’ll make this quick, ‘cause I can see the rain heading this way - Just been - oops it’s here, beautiful!

OK, I’m back at the lodge…

I went up the mountain opposite the big range and saw it in full splendor. (green mountain, I think it’s called) I saw some cows, and a buck prancing around (bushbuck I think).

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I wish I had a zoom camera. Next time I go travelling, I’ll make sure I have a good zoom camera, a credit card, and less clothes. I’m doing alright but I’m definitely running out of money and will have to go back next week… AND MY STUDENT CARD! (could have saved loads!) + travel scrabble + Lonely Planet.

I was walking up to Bridal Falls, which I wisely decided not to pay for ($5 US for an hour’s walk is not cool) and a guy living in a hut asked me to take his picture and send it to him.


My god, it’s pissing down.

He told me about a “hidden” cave… Digby cave, by Paradise Falls? I’ll have to find a well-sheltered cave, and there won’t be any dry firewood so it may be extremely unpleasant… but two nights in the cave sounds about as hermitish as one can get. Cool.

This journal entry has been transcribed from the handwritten original. For more information about this transcription project, see this blog post.

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