Showing posts from January, 2016

Great Zimbabwe Ruins, January 30, 2016

Great Zimbabwe is the greatest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa.  It was first occupied in the 11th century and proves that ancient Africa reached a level of civilisation not suspected by earlier scholars.  Not much is known about the site but It is believed that 20,000 people lived here.
The Hill Complex construction began in the 13th century-

The king not only lived here but the queen and his other 200 wives had to make the long trek up the hill to see him.  Religious/spiritual acts also took place up here.  Today, the ghosts of leopards have been spotted and shards of pottery have been found-

It's interesting how natural rock and bricks were incorporated into the walls of the fort.  
The Great Enclosure-

is across the valley and where the queen (wife #1) lived.  The walls are mortarless, 11 meters thick and 5 meters wide.  The enclosure is 100 meters wide and 255 meters in circumference making it the largest ancient structure in sub-Saharan Africa.  There is decorative work at th…

Chimanimani, Zimbabwe, January 28-29, 2016

I golfed 7 holes this morning at the former Chimanimani Sport Club.  My two caddies-

were great at finding my ball, whether it was in the long grass/rough, maize/bean/cucumber field or in the river.  
One carried along the pin, and ran ahead to stand on the green and hold it near the hole-

The "grounds crew" was hard at it: digging up a bunker-

The former clubhouse is inhabited by squatters-

 and the pool table-

and bar were busy at 9 a.m.-

It's really sad to see the state this once elegant establishment is in today.  The whites did not treat the blacks poorly but were run out and today the blacks have no interest or desire, no money and little knowledge about how to maintain what was once quite grand.  However for just a few golfers/week, it's quite surprising they attempt to keep the course up at all.
Another bathroom sign-

I spent a couple hours at the former casino listening to local entertainment.  Supper was another local meal-beans, chicken and the Zimbabwe ugali - sad…

Malawi and Mozambique, January 24-28, 2016

Due to heavy rains and silt from the river running into Lake Malawi, I wasn't able to dive.  No fresh water experience this time.
We've spent the last few days driving through southern Malawi and Mozambique as we make our way to Zimbabwe.  Along the way-
A shopping centre in Lilongwe, Malawi-

Mozambique is very poor - still recovering from a "civil" war that wouldn't end.  Villages are made from tree trunks or mud bricks with thatch for roofs-

Kids still come running, waving and yelling hello-

Main streets are hubs of activity-

Most don't have cars so...

they pile in to the backs of trucks with everything else.
The Mozambique countryside-

Looking forward to golfing at the former Chimanimani Golf and Country Club.  

More of Malawi

At first glance, Malawi does not appear as poor as it is said to be.  Roads are generally paved and smooth, without the annoying speed bumps and rumble strips of past places.  The people are friendly and once again it's nice to be able to communicate in English, which along with Chichewa is an official language.
However, the GNP is less than $250 US, half of the country is malnourished and life expectancy is 53, mainly due to HIV/AIDS which is at 12%.  One out of 8 children die of preventable causes.  The population is 16.3 million, of which half is under 15, living in 118,000 square km. and growing at 2.8% / year.  That makes it one of the highest population densities on the continent although I would never guess that because villages are few and far between, at least compared to Tanzania where there seems to be one right after another.  85% of the people work in agriculture, growing maize - which is NOT sweet corn, cassava, rice and tobacco which alone, makes up 35% of the GDP as…

Kande Beach, Malawi, January 22-23, 2016

We doddled to get here, stopping at the best supermarket so far and then at a bunch of wood carving shops. 
Along the way-

We are spending 3 nights at this lake front resort and I upgraded to a single room!  I'm spoiling myself! 
Lake Malawi-

More interesting bathroom signs-

Tonight was a fancy dress/punch party.  We drew names and had to "outfit" our person.  
Mick, Rob and me-

Adam, Jess and Poppy-

Dougie, Helen and Rhod-

Fancy dress parties must be a popular thing because when we pulled into the parking lot by the mall in Mzuzu, we were swarmed by guys selling crazy clothes like these.  Where on earth would they even get some of these things?  And, for some crazy reason, women seem to like to make men wear dresses!
Mark truly outdid himself for supper with roast chicken, dressing, carrots, squash, scalloped potatoes, salad, gravy and garlic toast.  It made up for the bad meal I prepared last night!

There have been five different overland trucks here today.  GAdventures roasted a…

Chitimba, Malawi, January 21, 2016

I went on a village walk this morning and our first stop was at our guide's home.  The 'shower' is a separate room outside-

Eight people share this 2 bedroom home-

The mattresses lay on the floor-

The kitchen is pretty basic-

But the kids are always cute-

Our next stop was at the school which offers grades 1-8.  There are 1200 students for 14 teachers.  The grade 3 teacher, who has 123 students, has one year of training and is spending her second year working as the classroom teacher, but she's really just an intern-

It was very noisy, for obvious reasons!  The blackboard is pretty basic and of course there were no computers-

The first two pages in the grade 7 English text book offer an interesting explanation-

12% of the country has HIV/AIDS.
We visited with the principal, who makes $347 Canadian/month and the head master, who makes $126 Canadian/month.  
Our next stop was chez the witch doctor-

and this was too weird, even for me!  It just seemed completely put on for our benef…