Mark J


Mark J

Africa » Zimbabwe » Harare September 16th 2012

The bus from Victoria Falls to Harare took about 13 hours and was extremely uncomfortable. The only decent road to make the journey, takes you back down to Bulawayo, then north east towards Harare. We hadn't got much sleep by the time we arrived at midday. I rang Niall, who I had met in Vilankulos and had offered us a bed when we got to Harare. After about 15 minutes, he pulled up in a 1964 safari jeep, which he was driving around, while his jeep was getting repaired. This was an awesome way to get around and Niall gave us a bit of a guided tour as we drove the city back to his house in one of the suburbs. Christina and I were in need of a power nap and after a short one, ... read more
Harare Skyline
Niall's Safari Jeep
Long Way Home

Africa » Zimbabwe » Victoria Falls September 13th 2012

I slept on and off through the night as we bumped along north from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls. The night trains are a great way to travel around Zimbabwe if you have the time, because they are really cheap and they save you from wasting your daytime on a bus. It can be frustrating when you spend all day in a bus looking out the window at a beautiful day going by, then arriving just after the sun has gone down. Another positive was that my train arrived bang on time at 9 a.m. Punctuality and transport don't usually belong in the same sentence in Africa. Even though, I had already seen Victoria Falls from the Zambia side, I had heard it was well worth seeing them from the Zimbabwe side as well. I had also ... read more
Christina & I at the Falls
Unobstructed View
Another Rainbow

Africa » Zimbabwe » Bulawayo September 11th 2012

After getting a lift from Ingrid to the bus station in Mutare, I found a bus going to Masvingo easily enough. I was heading for Great Zimbabwe 27 km south of Masvingo. Great Zimbabwe is a set of ruins built by indigenous Bantu people and date back to between the 13th and 14th centuries. They are the largest ruins in Sub-Saharn Africa and the only ruins of this kind south of Ethiopia. These ruins caused some consternation amongst the colonisers who discovered them. One of the justifications that the Europeans had for colonising, was that the African people were inferior and required the assistance of Europeans to develop. Accordingly, there were great archaeological efforts to prove some link between another civilisation and Great Zimbabwe, but they have been proved to be built by Bantu people. Once ... read more
Great Enclosure
Cecil Rhodes' Coach
Bulawayo not Springfield

Africa » Zimbabwe » Mutare September 9th 2012

I was up at 4 a.m. to get a lift off Niall, Kirk and Kirsty into Zimbabwe. They were going all the way back to Harare from Vilankulos and wanted to get there before dark, so it was anearly start. The road north out of Vilankulos towards Inhassoro was fairly horrendous, but improved after a couple of hours. I nodded in and out of sleep for most of the journey. We reached the Zimbabwean border at about 12. The Zimbabwean border officials can be very difficult, but we got through without too many problems. Over the border, we made the short journey towards Mutare, my first stop in Zimbabwe. Kirk's aunt Ingird, lived here and he suggested that I could stay with her. He couldn't get in touch with her and I was a bit reluctant ... read more
My Amazing Host Ingrid
Dubs Fan
Leopard Rock Reception

Africa » Mozambique » Southern » Vilanculos September 2nd 2012

My next destination after Tofo was Vilankulos, about 200 km up the coast, as the crow flies. I was told that this was an easy enough journey and that it shouldn't take too long. Having been in Africa about 8 months by this stage, I really should have known that this would not be the case. Nevertheless, I had a fairly easy morning after the full moon party the night before and got the bus from Tofo to Inhambane a bit later than I had planned. I wasn't worried about this though, because from Inhambane, all I had to do was get a ferry across to Maxixe and then get a bus to Vilnkulos, which should take somewhere between 2 and 3 hours. Going north from Inhambane, it makes a lot more sense getting a ferry ... read more
Looking for Shellfish
Maraguque Island
Kids on Maraguque

Africa » Mozambique » Southern » Tofo August 30th 2012

I was up at 5 a.m. to pack my tent away and get the bus to Tofo, just under 400 km up the coast. Fatima's Nest where I was staying in Maputo, also had a place in Tofo and provided a shuttle bus, door to door. Except this wasn't exactly the case. They picked us up in a minibus and brought us to the bus station, where we were transferred on to the local bus to Inhambane, about 20 km from Tofo. The local bus usually only goes to Inhambane, but this one brought us all the way to Tofo. It was a long, uncomfotable 8 hour journey though. Tofo is all about the beach and even though it was late afternoon when we got there, I still had time to have a swim after putting ... read more
View of Beach from Campsite
Local Woman
On the Beach

Africa » Mozambique » Southern » Maputo August 28th 2012

After getting my passport back from the Mozambique Consulate, with the visa inside, I got a minibus from Mbabane to Manzini, where the buses to Maputo leave Swaziland from. Unfortunately, I arrived just as one had filled up and was about to leave. This meant I had to wait for another one to fill up, which took about 2 and half hours. The one advantage of having to wait this long was that I got the pick of the seats and got a seat up front, a lot more comfortable than being squashed in the back. It was 5 o’clock before we got going and I was sitting beside a guy from Tanzania who lived in Maputo. He warned me as we approached the border that we could be there a while, depending on whether the ... read more
Praca dos Trabalhadores
Water Conservation
Maputo Coastline

Africa » Swaziland » Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary August 25th 2012

I got very lucky on the day I was leaving Sodwana Bay and South Africa. Curtis, from USA, who was also staying at Natural Moments, was leaving the same day I was for Johannesburg in his rented car. He kindly agreed to drop me close to the Swazi border, but in the end brought me all the way to the Onverwacht border post with Swaziland. At first, this didn’t look like it would be the best border to cross at. We had to follow a gravel road for a few kilometres before re-joining the tarred road to the border. There wasn’t a much signs of any other vehicles going through, which didn’t bode well for my hopes of getting a lift of some sort to the next town. The Swazi immigration official gave me some grief ... read more
Red Hartebeest

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Sodwana Bay August 23rd 2012

On leaving St. Lucia, my next destination was Sodwana Bay. Again, this is not an easy place to get to without your own transport and I knew it might be a bit of an effort. Firstly, I had to take the return journey to Mthubathuba. I found a minibus, but they said it would cost me 250 rand, despite the journey a couple of days in the opposite direction costing 17 rand. I resolved to try hitch, but got no joy from the many holidaying white South Africans, who clearly would never dream of picking up a smelly backpacker. Funnily enough, about 20 minutes later, the minibus that had tried to charge 250 rand passed by, this time half full with passengers and this time agreeing to let me on for the correct price. At Mthubathuba, ... read more
Local Hair Salon

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia August 21st 2012

St.Lucia was my next destination after Durban. St. Lucia is a small beachside town, which is situated by an extremely unique estuary where crocodiles, hippos and sharks all live. It is also at the southern tip of the iSimangaliso National Park and is close to Cape Vidal, inside the NP, which is an incredible stretch of coastline. However, getting out of Durban proved to be quite a challenge. After getting some wrong information from my hostel (Happy Hippo – to be avoided) about, which bus station to go to, it took me 3 minibus-taxis and about an hour and a half to find a bus going to the wonderfully named Mthubathuba. From here I got another minibus (one of the worst and most packed I had been on in all of Africa) the short distance to ... read more
Sunset at iSimangaliso
Cape Vidal
Seagulls at Cape Vidal

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