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February 26th 2012
Published: February 26th 2012
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After having no idea of what to expect in terms of safety and the people we headed to Zimbabwe and are very glad that we took the time. First port of call was the Eastern section of this country which is meant to be one of the highlights in Zimbabwe. Of course it has been intense to cross the Mozambique/Zimbabwe border because we didn’t have a clue how the situation is over there. From the minute we entered Zimbabwe you could feel the difference from Mozambique in terms of development and how nice the people are here (we thought that Mozambique people were nice but Zimbabwe has something special). If only the media put some positive news back into Zimbabwe this country would be bustling with tourists once again but until then we are able to enjoy a fantastic, safe country which we seem to be on our own.

Yes the prices have gone up since they dollarized the local currency but it does not mean that it will break the bank, hostels are still (if you find them) the best bet and compared to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique meals and food is a fair deal cheaper. A great thing we noticed is that the supermarkets have a completely full choice for whatever you desire and it seems that the further we go south in this continent things are getting a lot easier. It is hard to describe the feeling we got when we entered a SPAR supermarket, it was so big selection so we felt like at home but in the same time kind of disappointed because we were hoping to get this feeling over in Europe. We didn’t expect such developed country since it has fresh and dark history behind, and Zimbabwe has walked backwards at least 10 years during this period. Still the economy in Zimbabwe is quite unstable and unemployment is reaching 90% (if not more) at the moment. Some people think that the situation is getting better, some believes that it is getting worse and our tourist reality is absolute different than locals. Nobody knows what will happen in this country on next year election but we are hoping for the best since we would like to come back to a stable country. We trying to take in every moment, experience and listen to the locals around us as they have a lot to tell about previous situation and speculations about future.

Well Eastern Zimbabwe is famous for the Highlands, the Bvumba Mountains to the south and the Nyanga Mountains to the north. We can see why this part of the country is famous – it is breathtaking landscape and it is nice to dare to get lost in it. We went a checked out both but day trips into the south but we found a couchsurfer (who let us stay in his house while he was in India by himself) in the northern mountains which made it a fantastic experience. Staying here for a few days is a great way to get in and learn the history of the place and explore it by ourselves. To wake up with Susurumba Mountain view has been quite different experience and we really enjoyed our time in the mountains – far away from the civilization but the civilization made the way to us. We met some wonderful people who are spending the weekends in the pure nature and it has been just bonus for us. Actually it was quite chilly in the night time when the cold mountain breezes are taking over the cottage area but sit around a fire with the million clear stars above your head, with a cold beer and great company – is just fantastic.

The Nyanga Mountains reminded us of the Scottish Highlands with English Cottages surrounded by well kept gardens, the expats drinking high tea in the afternoons. You get a really good feel for how Zimbabwe was and still is a colonized country even though they have had independence for a relatively long time. We are hearing more and more stories about the transfer back of the land and the whites driven of their land (with many killed) and how this was the backbone of the country collapsing just a few years ago. We don’t want to come deeper into the history details since it is quite complex issue.

But the mountains are amazing here and it is easy to get isolated from everyone, enjoying fresh mountain air, sitting next to an open wood fire with the cottage lit up by candles was pure relaxation. Well maybe the highlight for the southern section of the mountains was a visit to Tony’s cake shop. Here you will find some of the best cake in the world and that is no joke, with a price tag to match. 180 US for one cake and 10-15 US for a slice makes it an expensive place to visit but it is well worth it. Chocolate Whiskey, Orange Coconut and Mixed Fruit were our choices and in particular the Chocolate Whiskey was amazing. It is 100% chocolate with no flour used and it is so good that someone who was with us offered the owner 100,000 cash for the recipe.

We did several hikes during our time here and we were blessed with rare sunshine for our visit which made the views well worth the effort and scratches. It isn’t far away to get to the villages for a short visit and meet the locals, and the nature is just amazing once again. It is easy to understand why people have chosen to live in such remote area far away from everyone. Definitely this experience has been a highlight for us as well, not just that it is stunning nature but it is so untouched of tourism as well. We are highly recommend to visit this corner of the world (just check the newest updates about the situation in the country but remember that media is making much worse than it is in the reality).

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26th February 2012

Absolutely fascinating blog! The longer you travel, the more jealous I get of the great places you see, but nonetheless I'm happy for you. Zimbabwe sounds intriguing, but I don't want to know how the locals feel. I think scumbag Mugabe had his 88th birthday today, of course it was celebrated in style and lavish luxury. Keep going, I'll be reading. Cheers, Jens

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