Published: August 27th 2007August 25th 2007
Just out for lunch.
This is how bad the economy is - 3.5million for a Chinese dinner (i.e. $30).
Ok so I've decided that Zimbabwe is my favourite country so far. Despite the hardships that the people face here, or perhaps because of the hardships the people face here, I've found them to be incredibly warm and welcoming people. Unlike other parts of Africa where being white is an advertsiement to locals that you are a tourist and therefore have money to spend, Zimbabweans were genuinely grateful that we had bothered to visit their country. The place that's swung it for me is Antelope Park where we just spent 4 days. Its amazing - just out of this world. It's basically a small privately run national park that is also the base for a lion breeding programme (as they are close to being on the endangered species list). There is so much to do there and the accomodation felt so luxurious despite the fact we were camping. We camped right on the lake and had elephants walk right past us as they cross the lake everyday to graze on the other side. Pretty cool to look out your tent door to see elephants! Oh, they were tame by the way. They are orphans that have been taken in
and trained so that people can ride them. I rode one (with the trainer) out into the bush which was really cool but very uncomfortable!!! I also fed them and got sprayed with elephant snot, yey!!!
There are about 30 lions there as a part of the breeding programme and they are all different ages and at different stages of the programme, which is grooming them for release into the wild. The first release is scheduled for next week and if successful will be the first EVER successful release of lions bred in captivity. Antelope park has been going since about 1986 researching how to do this its pretty impressive stuff. The best bit is parts of thier training need human interaction, so your not just a tourist - how cool is that?!
So to help with their training you get to go out and walk with the lions, you have to follow them as if your a part of their pride!! It was the most amazing experience ever!!! I went out with 2 cub brothers, they are about 15 months old so pretty big cubs! I also played with lion cubs that were about 5 months old
Or just tired??
(sooo cute) and went to watch the big daddy's of the programme being fed. That was awesome - the lay the body parts of a cow out in front of the fence then open a gate at the other end so you literally have 4 lions sprinting towards you then fighting over a cows head. Not for the faint hearted! Some of the others went on a night hunt with the lions ready for release. They had to pass this one last 'exam' to prove they could look after themselves. From what I hear it was quite an adrenaline pumping experience and everyone was on the edge of their seats.
Finally I went on a horse back safari which was amazing (sorry should find some new adjectives!!), both for the animals we saw and the feel of riding free through the bush . As the horses go out into the bush at night the wild animals are accustomed to them so you can get right up close. We saw giraffes, antelopes and zebra and I got a very sore bum!
So thats all I think. Oh the only bad thing was that it was absolutely freezing at night
(i reckon about 5C!!!). I'm talking blankets, socks, scarf, hat and my wonderful invention of the hot water bottle made from my sigg - I was very impressed at least!
If anyone has a thing for animals this is the place to go, I will definitely be going back there one day.
From there we went on to Bulawayo, another beautiful city. I spent the days wondering around town, checking out the Natural History Museum and craft markets and I'm now writing this from Victoria Falls.
Lots of love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
There are more photos below