Where do I stay, shall I go to Harare, shall I head to Great Zimbabwe NP at south of the country? I got advice from 3 young people sitting on the back seat. They bought clothes etc from Mozambique and sell them in Zimbabwe. They are holding my bags right away. Mozambique exit stamps are being shot, I do not miss the opportunity to live on Facebook while walking towards the Zim border gate. I started poking around in Africa without a month of adventure.
They advise me to see the Nyanga waterfall, close to the border. While the height of the Victoria Falls is 300 m, Nyanga falls from 479 m.
These officers at the Zimbabwe border office saw a special passport for the first time. They talk about whether I need the visa. I’m trying my luck as “I have a special passport, I do not need visa.” They did research for about half an hour, talked, discussed, wanted to explain what I was doing. An officer wants me to write clearly on a sheet of paper what is not even immediately understood, even in Turkey; because he can not understand my accent, he is a little cruosity. They called their chiefs. They cut the receipt for $ 30 and put it on their passport.
Danford Chitate, John Chezimati, Carilzai Chezimati… There are 3 people who do not know that they are the road angels that accompany me. Danford is constantly checking in. When I talk to the officers, he says, “everything is okay, we were curious about you.” They are waiting for me with a great patience. I’m telling them to go if they have jobs. They’re waiting for me. They have already made their entrance, they are watching me from the other side of the hall without separating my bags from their sides. After 1 hour my passport process is over. The weather is already dark. We arrive at the nearest city Mutare, which is 15 km away from the city, at 19.00. The last bus to Great Zimbabwe left at 6 pm. I do not know what to do. “There is no safe place to stay in this area, we will take you to the city.” We take another bus, Danford gives my fee. “Where are we going, what are we going to do, where are you taking me?” They replied, “This is not Mozambique, this is Zimbabwe, you are safe, do not worry.” Though I’ve been comfortable in Mozambique also!
We are at Border Lodge on the main street. The manager is showing a room. There’s a glass door opening on the balcony, it’s closing but no lock. When it comes to worrying, he says, “What do you think will happen?” A little grumpy, a little funny… “Somebody will climb up the balcony and open the door and kidnap me”. “I’ve been here for 25 years, nobody kidnap anyone, you’re safe in Zimbabwe.”
My angels say if I do not like it we can check out another hotel. I do not have power, I am tired, I do not care what will happen, I want to sleep as soon as possible. John closes the balcony door tight, pulls the curtains. Danford found a plug for my phone charger, checking the lock on the room door. Exchanging phone numbers, mails. I would like to give pens in the box as thanks for the friends who carry the suitcase for hours, do not leave me alone while transferring from the car. They are happy as a child when I say that I brought from Turkey. Being an angel is not hard, that’s all. It’s 11 pm…
Border Hotel is clean, no breakfast, common bathroom, 20 bucks. I would recommend this hotel who have been trapped in the way. I would rather go to the White Horse Inn which out ou town in the forest if the weather had not dark.
I wake up at 7 am. It was a habit. My parents will have their eyes filled with years of dragging me out of bed. I go to the bathroom in the corridor to take a shower at 9 o’clock. Hot water flows like a rope. Those who behave before me have finished the hot water. “No worry, wait 10 minutes” says grumpy old man. He comes back a little later and says the water is ready. When I realize I am “I will take a shower immediately and empty the room, clean it and rent it to someone else”, he is very authoritarian. The hotel was empty in the morning. At the exit we’re going to get a phone card together from a street vendor. I fill the form on the sidewalk sitting on a stool of a genus, taking my passport and making photocopies. Today it was sunday, my line will open tomorrow. The grumpy manager is waiting for me without any hesitation, smiling, making jokes. We are calling a taxi, saying goodbye. I’m going to the Masvingo bus first. Then in the minibus to Great Zimbabwe. The taxi driver Ilyias is the same age, same age as the hotel manager, he also has a white beard. Many elderly men are paying attention to this from the beard. It was attached to the Apostolian Church. “We are very close to Islam, and we are fasting in Ramadan,” he says. Father-son-sacred soul believed in the trinity, and they did not take their hands to the forehead and touch their shoulders to make a cross. I ask about prayer patterns. He lifts his arms up and stretches his palms to the chest. Like other Christians, they do not clamp their hands under their jaws.
He says “If you did not go to Nyanga yet, you should go.” “I can take you to Bvumba, the mountains and the landscape are spectacular, Mozambique and the lake can see it,” he says. Earn money to tour, I’m already ready to go out of the way. We agree at $ 20. I will go to Masvingo in a few hours. The nature is truly spectacular. Unfortunately the fog falls as it gets higher. I can not see any scenery promised by Ilyias. He is very sad more than me. “I wanted you to show how Zimbabwe is beautiful country.” We go to the Leopard Rock Hotel built in the 1920s by an Englishman, it was transformed into a big hotel in the middle of a forest. Classical English style furnished, preserving originality. While it is a small structure, it has nurtured its own leopards, many leopards are gathered around the hotel, the name comes from here. Leopards have passed to Mozambique due to climate change. Old photographs on their walls … Kings, queen … I suppose they were sharing Zimbabwe’s gold and diamond mines in these rooms. I am twisted again, I am out. The shaman in Lesotho said, “Do not think too much,” it’s easy to say.
Tony’s Coffee House is the place where we stop by and have a cake and coffee feast. Absolutely 12 dollar is too much but worth it for a slice of cake. Coffee is tastier than pasta. I have not tasted the aroma of herbs, flowers, spices from local seeds anywhere else before. Tony is very famous in this town. I wanted to hear his story from his mouth. “Now I have to deal with my customers, then come back to say a long chat.” Very kind, but very professional. When I say that I will continue the journey, he is giving the cake book to my name in order to forgive himself.
I did not see the mountain views because the weather was foggy. Iliyas promises me free tour in further development. If you want to use this bonus his phone number: 0033772516808.
We went back to Mutare. On the way I saw a woman waiting with the baby she was hanging on her back. I say to Elijah that we should take her. The woman is sitting in the back seat together with her loving love. Her husband is a preschool teacher. She is 45 years old and has a 25 year old son and a 1 year old baby. She was working in a restaurant in South Africa. She’s going to Victoria now. There’s a long way to go. She is showing where the nursery school is. An exquisite little building with a view of Mozambique at the beginning of a hill. I’m willing to volunteer that job.
We came to the station. There are big buses and small combos. Masvingo, Harare, Nyanga. I prefer the big bus for at least 4 hours. But Ilyas and my guest say that the bus is empty, waiting for it to fill up and I will stay in the dark. On the other hand, they have taken their combi (minibus) passengers and advised me not to ride. I’m following advice immediately. I say I want to sit in front, a younger person lifts them up and takes them back. From Muthare to Masvingo 100 Zimbabwe dollars, 200 dollars for the additional suitcase. US dollars equals Zimbabwe dollars. That’s why Zimbabwe is going to cost me a lot. The highest US dollar in circulation is $ 5. Especially $ 1 is so worn that they turn into a dirty yellow dough paper. There is no validity in any other country. For that reason, it is necessary to remove these money from the elderly without leaving Zimbabwe. While waiting for the movement, someone says, “Did you go to Nyanga?” If one more person say Nyanga, I will pick up my luggage and go to Nyanga.
Dazzy, father of two children, is sitting next to me and the driver next to him. He is slowing down when he watches the spread of cows on the way. I ask the driver: “What are these?” “Cow” “No, African traffic light.” We are all laughing. They’re already ready to laugh.
On stopping to pick up or drop passengers somewhere along the way, the sellers immediately wrap around the car. It is the custom of Africa. From these sellers, a woman has something in her small bags with a thin-legged leg and a pair of red hot peppers. I think it’s a bug. No, not, it is bird 5 cm in length. It’s like a fetus, with huge eyes, like getting fried from the completion of development. “Shini Birds is a small bird species,” says Dazzy. Is it tasty like a quail? I buy two tiny bags right away. I cry like the head, the wings, the beating legs. The driver is eating, but Dizzy is not eating. It’s not as tasty and meaty as quail. I think it’s fried with internal organs. I m eating but not for an adventure, because I’m starving.
We came to Masvingo, but it was late. A taxi driver is dropping next to us. I’m telling him where I’m going: “Great Zimbabwe”. I ask Dazzy: “Can I trust this man?” “Yes, I know him, you can trust him.” I think I know Dazzy very well! After half-hour road finally he leaves me at the hotel. I’m going in. One room for 120 bucks. $ 80 including reduced breakfast. There’s a job in this. It should not be that expensive. I’m checking the name. Great Zimbabwe Hotel. I’m in the wrong place. My hotel is the Great Zimbabwe Campground Lodges. The guy in the resepsion is not friendly at all. “Your hotel is 500 meters away,” he says. The outside is forest and the pitch darkness. “How am I going in this darkness?” I say, “Not too far away.” “It is not possible, do you transfer me with a vehicle if you can afford it?” I say. “We do not have a car.” He’s lying. A series of hotel vehicles in front of the door. The young guardian says he can acompany me there and takes my bag over his head. We are going out on the path. Rather dark. I say there is a lamp next to it. He says no. But I do not have your African skills! My eyes do not see anything in the dark, my ears do not hear anything, my steps are cowards. He walks comfortably, I am a blind, I fall into pits. I turn on the phone lamp. The screams of the forest are rising, we move in the left side of ours. “Monkeys.” “Do you have any other wild animals?” “Sometimes.” I take the pepper spray bottle out of my bag. “Let’s turn back.” “No worry, I protect you.” “You have no weapons! How will you protect me? “” No worry, protect you.” I walk the most frightening 500-meter road of my life (for now). Above the colum, the removed pepper gas tube is ready in the capsule of the finger tube. I will spray pepper gas to the lion’s eyes!!!
My hotel is in the park. We came to the entrance to the park, but there is no one. Whistling, waiting, no. There is no light, no existence other than the savages in the forest. “I’ll be back, I’m afraid.” “What, are you going to give that hotel $ 80?” He is talking about the hotel which he is working for. I can give a thousand dollars right now! We are walking 500 meters again. We go back to the hotel. The security guy is talking to the receptionist. The man is looking for a place. He says they will come to pick me up in 15 minutes. Why have not you called before? “You should have called before, we had to walk in the forest, it is very dangerous,” I m trying to show how I m angry but he is not care. Half an hour later someone comes by car and hands me over to the host in the park. It was almost midnight. I am very hungry and there is nothing but tiny birds and a piece of bread beside me. The restaurant is closed. I take one of the birds and put inside the bread and eat as a dinner.
Great Zimbabwe Campground and Lodges is a lodging facility that belongs to goverment in the park. It’s not very well-kept, but it’s clean. No market. There is no other way to eat at a restaurant. But the house that I reserved for me (there are no other guests at the facility) is two-roomed, four-bedded, two bathrooms, kitchen, refrigerator, TV, porch. 30 dolar. A standard English breakfast consisting of two eggs in oil, 1 sausage, dry beans, tea, coffee and 3 slices of toast is $ 5. Honey, if you want honey.
When you open your door in the morning, you see monkeys instead of cat and dogs. But they are very scared, they run away.
After breakfast I walk for 15 minutes to see the remains and the village. Ticket cuts at the entrance, $ 15. I keep the ticket. I’m going back in the hill to watch the sunset. Nobody lives in the village. The park attendant danced if a few people wanted tourists. But now they are waiting for their messengers to finish on the mats. There is no other stranger in the park. Nothing interesting, I go home to the monkeys watching the trees. On the way there is a dead antelope waiting for parking officers at the beginning. He was the oldest antilope in the park and he was 15 years old. The officer touches the animal with his hand and says he died about 1 or 2 hours ago. Then he lifts one of his legs up and shows the acarids on his belly. Some of them ticked the animal’s blood in the wound. The edges are alive. He’s pulling one out. “Come on, it’s dangerous,” I say a few people die every year in my country. “Nothing will happen, if it sticks, I’ll pull it off.” The acarids are so beautiful that they have colorful patterns with bright phosphorescent but regular patterns. Even the acarids of Africa are colorful.