October 7-12, 2013

Our next major stop was Mana Pools, another of Zimbabwe’s national parks. The most common descriptors applied to Mana are ‘wild’ and ‘the real bush’, which means that campsites are not fenced and common sense is not enforced. You can leap out of the car and try your luck at petting a lion should you be so inclined, but most people advise to be very cautious when getting out of your vehicle and to avoid leaving your tent after retiring for the night (until morning, that is, by which time the predators have had their fill of unwary tourists).

In order to reach the wonders of Mana Pools (‘You’ll want a bucket for your tent,’ advised one South African), we had to get across the district of Binga. This strip of northern Zimbabwe borders Lake Kariba, the world’s largest man-made lake by volume. The region is not very developed, and the road that crosses it is a notorious car-wrecker. However, a guide in Hwange had alerted us to an alternative: the Mlibizi-Kariba ferry. By fortunate coincidence, one of the ferry’s twice-monthly crossings coincided with our planned departure date.

 Along Lake Karibacanoe on kariba

The small two-deck ferry was pricier than I would have liked, but I got some consolation from the thought that our squeaking sixteen-year old Land Rover would probably have broken down midway across the district if we had attempted to drive it, forcing us to pay thousands of dollars in repairs and rescue missions. By taking the ferry, then, we actually saved money. This was my mantra throughout the 23-hour crossing, which, it must be admitted, was very pleasant; peaceful, scenic, and relaxing. This was a welcome change from the hour preceding our boarding, in which we had discovered that the parking deck was too low-roofed for our vehicle, forcing us to remove the roof tent in an effort to make it fit. We then observed – in a rather jarring manner – that, despite this modification, it was still too tall. The boat crew seemed more entertained than inconvenienced; they leapt to assist by unbolting the roof rack, unscrewing the snorkel cap, deflating the tyres to an alarmingly low level, and jumping on the back bumper to obtain a final inch of clearance.


Excerpt from : Overlandsphere.com

By on October 27, 2013 in 4×4, Zimbabwe