Category : Trees

Tree in Chizarira National Park…

I took a photo of this tree (mid-day) on my way to Mucheni Gorge in Chizarira National Park.

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And then again, on the way out:

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The escarpment (the blue hills behind this tree) at Chizarira National Park overlooks the Zambezi Valley – Mucheni gorge camp, perched right on the edge.

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Somewhere, right down there, is the tree! (Im glad I had a vehicle to get me up this escarpment!)

Please click here if you wish to see where Mucheni Gorge and Chizarira is: Chizarira National Park

 

Maabwe Bay

Imagine waking up to this view every day?

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This is Maabwe Bay on the Zambezi River.

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The owners have developed the area, and are selling off a limited number of units (13) with similar views. Owners can then buy outright, or share with two or three others.

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Just at the corner of the first bend, is a house site…oh man, I am SO tempted. Imagine spending the cold, cold Johannesburg winters here, knowing your house is maintained for the rest of the year? Spending time at the Zambezi of old.

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I took the above photo standing on the house site, the Zambezi river at my back. What I love so much about Maabwe Bay, is that its pristine, and the owners hope to keep it like that as much as possible – with natural vegetation, rocks etc.

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To the left of this road, I was told is a house site suitable for an “off the grid” existence. For me, the draw card is “solitude!” Imagine waking to the fish-eagle early morning wake up call, with no sounds of humans!!!

Luckily there are no crazy building restrictions on the Zambezi and the owners of the company who hold the lease to Maabwe Bay, are allowing a variety of building styles – although they want all the development to blend in as much as possible with the environment.

 

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And Mopane trees… How I love them!

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I took this photo from the driveway of the first member of this exclusive “Zambezi Time-share.”

Maabwe is on Facebook – click here to check it out and if you want to find out exactly where it is, click on this link to google maps Maabwe Bay

African Road-trip…

I recently drove to Mana Pools via Kariba! Generally, our main roads in Zimbabwe are good; wide tar with few potholes. Once off them, its just pot-luck!
Leaving Bulawayo, we drove behind this poor chap, perched right on top of the bus. I’ve seen many things up there, including household furniture, maize bags, scotch-carts and once, a donkey.
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Taken through the windscreen, this photo (above) is the  approach to Maabwe fishing camp. It was taken through the windscreen because outside, the temperature was about 40 degrees C!!!
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I didn’t recognise the road in the above photo, because the last time we drove on it, we could hardly make out where exactly the road was! I certainly couldn’t bomb along at the speed I did this time.
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Still in the Zambezi Valley, this is the road to Chizarira. The going was slow and the tsetse flies murder, if I opened the window. I spent the night up there, on the escarpment.

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This slide-show displays photos I took while on the long drive to Kariba.
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Coming off the escarpment into the Zambezi valley again, I could feel the heat each time I opened the window.
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There is something about technology – the scar on the African landscape. These are the power-lines that carry electricity from Kariba hydro-electric power station and the maintenance road that runs along it.

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And yet on the way to Mana Pools the road builders just couldn’t bear to cut the baobab trees down – instead the road goes around them…
 
 

Strangler fig…

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A strangler fig of some kind, growing in the centre of a msasa tree, at Georges Place in the Vumba.
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Growing in the centre bowl of the tree, it sends it roots to the ground.
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One day, it may look like this one, at Milibizi Hotel!
Or this one that I could quite literally not fit into the camera frame:
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Taken at Froggy Farm, in Juliasdale
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I took the last photo near Hwange – a fig strangling a Mopane tree.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangler_fig
 

Standing alone…

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Of the many hundreds of photos I took in the Zimbabwe Eastern Highlands, this is my favourite.
Initially a reject, this one below, grew on me! Taken very early in the morning at George’s Place in the Vumba.
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Taken in the Nyanga National Park, hanging off the edge, this little guy caught my eye.
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This tree (below) stands alone at the edge of a cliff,  in the Matopos at Rhodes’ Grave, over-looking a boulder strewn valley.
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An old friend, below. (I visit this tree each time I climb World’s View in the Matopos.)
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It’s a tough life, here in Zimbabwe!
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This photo above, is taken in Nyanga – a view of Nyangane with a lone, struggling bush in the foreground!
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Overlooking Mozambique, I found these trees keeping vigil…
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George's Place, Vumba

The last time we visited in the Vumba, it was winter and jolly cold! We had stayed at the “Outside Inn” administered by Sally Preston. I guessed she would allow Lizzy to stay because animals had been very much in evidence; horses in the gardens, dogs and a lovely cat who deigned to lie on our bed!
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I wrote about our visit to the Outside Inn a couple of years ago, here.
Sure enough, Lizzy and I were welcomed at Hivu Nurseries and allocated a HUGE room at Hycroft House, this time, with an on-suite bathroom, massive kitchen, sitting room etc.
Lizzy…
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Hycroft House, is definitely “pet friendly,”  as horses graze on the lawns, and Sally arrives surrounded by dogs, in her old farm bakkie! The cat who visited us last time, stared balefully at Lizzy and decided my pet standards had definitely slipped!
At the reception I was given a map with directions to “George’s Place” where I was told I would find a picnic spot, and msasa trees, overlooking the Bungu Forest.
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The look-out is on a precipice, with magnificent views in three directions.
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All these photos (above) were taken in the evening. The following morning, I returned before sunrise and took some more.

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The blue light in these photos contrasts with the dark red foliage of the Msasa.

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It was magical walking under this canopy…
 
 
 
 

Trees in the Tea Estates…

Whoever developed the tea estates in the Eastern Highlands must have been a fellow tree lover. This lone tree, at the very top of the rise can be seen for miles.
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This one, below, is HUGE – left all on its own, in the middle of a field. It would have been so much easier to just cut it down and make way for mechanisation.
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This thorn tree, below, just coming into leaf caught my eye. (I’m afraid the photo isn’t that good.)
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Although not all of the trees are indigenous, they are HUGE! I’m told it rains a lot in the area, and the tea bushes don’t need to be irrigated.
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The road goes right through this grove of trees (below) over a little bridge and then bursts out onto the brilliant green tea fields again.
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Honde Valley…

I made an early departure (from Juliasdale,) for a scenic drive through the Honde Valley, but couldn’t resist one last shot at the Msasa, and I’m glad I did.
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The first rays of the sun were just peaking over the hills, lighting up a few leaves.

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I intended to travel via the Mutarazi Falls in the Nyanga National Park….BUT, being obstinate, against better advice, I decided to get there via a road that is shown on the map. And that is all it is, a line on the map! It was a terrible road, and I only got these two, half decent pics for my efforts!
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This one above, is Mount Nyangane – where the Pungwe River which I would be to follow for for several hours, in the Honde Valley, originates.
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The National Parks man, was horrified to see me burst out of the forest along a road he said hadn’t been used for years!

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The above slide show is of the Pungwe River look-out. Not sure if the road was ‘more of the same’ I’d been on for hours, I gave going to the Mutarazi Falls a skip, and decided to head off to Aberfoyle Lodge.
The Honde Valley is in the Eastern Highland border with Mozambique. Back during the bush war, it was very much the ‘sharp end’ and many lives were lost there. It’s also very beautiful…

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And the trees! I drooled over them!

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The Pungwe river that originated on Mt Nyangane, plunges over an escarpment and immediately dog-legs and heads towards Mozambique.  It then runs alongside the road, through the communal area.

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And then the tea estates – and something I’m very familiar with: commercial agriculture….which means, tractors, packing sheds, workers houses, soccer fields and schools! And tea of course – gown in orderly fields!
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I love the way the tea is grown along hillsides, but with the natural forest in pockets (obviously where the tea doesnt like to grow.) These photos were taken on a Sunday, so there are no workers in the fields.
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In this photo above, you can see how tall the trees are. The arboreal atmosphere is very strong here. Once again, I was in tree heaven.
 
 

Aberfoyle Lodge, Honde Valley

When I visited Aberfoyle Lodge, it was still a construction zone! I’m sure by now its been all done up, but I didn’t get any photos of the newly refurbished dining rooms etc.
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However, I got some lovely ones of the golf course, the tea estates and the communal areas along the Pungwe River. This photo (above) is taken on the patio of Aberfoyle Lodge.

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Coming from Matabeleland, all this water nearly made me move house!!!

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My decision to visit the Honde Valley and Aberfoyle Lodge, was a spur of the moment thing – totally unplanned. At the last moment, I emailed the lodge, but hadn’t had a reply by the time I left Juliasdale. I was concerned that the lodge was not dog friendly, and although Lizzy is very well behaved, she is also a big dog!
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I happened to stop along the way and make the acquaintance of a family on their way to church. When I explained my predicament, they graciously invited me to stay with them, should Aberfoyle be unable to accommodate Lizzy!
Zimbabweans – dontcha love them!
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Luckily, the guy who runs Aberfoyle is a dog lover too, and wouldn’t hear of me turning back. He offered me a camping spot next to the rooms:
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I hope they sort out a camping park, because its a lovely area to go tramping with your dogs.
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Cedar Peak Cottage…

Cedar Peak Cottage is in Juliasdale overlooking a Msasa covered valley. I was allowed to take photos there, but unfortunately, since it was occupied during my visit to the Eastern Highlands, I couldn’t capture the late evening and early morning views. I’ll go back sometime!
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It’s a cute cottage, built of stone and an open plan interior.
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But its really the views from the garden, a few steps out of the front door, that I wanted to see:

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I was taken to the original “cedar tree” but unfortunately, it has fallen down – I took a pic anyway! It fits in well with the environment now.

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Cedar Peak Cottage is a great place for walking/hiking enthusiasts, with several paths leading down into the valley.
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These Msasa form a tunnel overhead!
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I sat under these trees, just taking in the atmosphere (sorry the pics are a bit bright – it was nearly mid day when I took these!)

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Back at Cedar Peak Cottage…
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This Msasa tree has been cleverly included in the building!
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I sat an enjoyed this view above, from the front of the cottage:
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Cedar Peak Cottage is on Facebook here
Cedar Peak Cottage Info & Directions – Please Print