Chirundu to Mana Pools, part 3
When we started out our trip the mountains you can see here behind Shawn were very, very far away. Today, we passed them! We spent a lot of time paddling through rivulets that traversed marshes in the middle of the river. We even ran into the famous elephant "Toothpick" peacefully grazing in a marsh island in the middle of the river.
We stopped at another island for lunch that day. Despite her sun-proof clothes, sun block and hat, Kirsti had a pretty bad burn on her nose and wanted to get out of the sun for a while, so we rigged up a sun shelter from canoe paddles and tarps. While they were resting, Susan, Graham, Shawn and I walked to the other side of the island where a temporary fishing village had been set up. The people there were very friendly. We noticed a series of parallel tracks crossing the island. They looked almost like wagon tracks, only they were the size of a baby carriage. We asked Shine what they were, and he said that they were Hippo tracks. Hippos are the only animal that make parallel tracks: most paths only have one rut. Hippos leave the water every night looking for food, travelling as far as 20km from the water. They like to take the same path every night, hence the deep tracks.
We camped at a REAL campsite on the third night. We all got to take a bush shower, and Shine cooked steaks and sadza for dinner. Sadza is a traditional Zimbabwean food made from hominy. Katie loved them. I told her that she could make them at home...they're just gritz made to the thickness of mashed potatoes. I found them rather tasteless, but served with sauce sadza is pretty good. That night, we had elephants walking around the camp looking for free handouts. It is illegal to bring fresh fruit into Mana Pools National Park. The elephants can smell it even in a locked car, and we heard a story of a nice car being turned into scrap by an elephant that smelled the oranges in the trunk.
Early the next morning we got back in the safari vehicle for the four hour drive through Zambia back to Kariba. The road was very rough in the beginning, but we got to see some nice wildlife, such as impala, warthogs, and baboons. We passed through several villages, where Shine passed out the two loaves of bread we hadn't eaten on our trip. The people were very happy to see us, and the children stared. For Graham, a transportation economist at the World Bank, the most exciting part of the day was crossing a river on a ferry (see right). We all helped to pull the cable that transported us across the river.
Upon arriving back in Kariba we sorted our gear and parted ways with Shawn's family. Shawn and I went to the local marina to take a boat across Lake Kariba to Matusadona National Park. Graham, Katie and Susan had already been in Africa for three weeks and were headed back to the states. Kirsti had also been in Africa for a month, but was planning on spending a year travelling around the world, so was taking Laurel with her on a month-long Guerba truck trip ending in Nairobi. Kirsti traveled in Zimbabwe for less than $25/day and I hope to get some notes from her on this site soon.
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