Recent Posts

Man's best friend….

Lizzy, my German Shepard Dog, accompanied me on my recent trip to the Zimbabwe Eastern Highlands.
P1310985.jpg
This photo was taken while we impatiently waited for the sun to go down at World’s View, Nyanga.
P1310502
What a poser!
P1310610
I could never get decent pics of Lizzy – she is always running about – until I thought of getting her to “sit” and “stay.”
P1310489
P1320691
The last photo is taken at George’s Place in the Vumba…
 

Strangler fig…

P1320684.jpg
A strangler fig of some kind, growing in the centre of a msasa tree, at Georges Place in the Vumba.
P1320683
Growing in the centre bowl of the tree, it sends it roots to the ground.
P1220633.jpg
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:
P1310549.jpg
Taken at Froggy Farm, in Juliasdale
P1050934.jpg
I took the last photo near Hwange – a fig strangling a Mopane tree.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangler_fig
 

Standing alone…

P1320727.jpg
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.
P1320615
Taken in the Nyanga National Park, hanging off the edge, this little guy caught my eye.
P1200048
This tree (below) stands alone at the edge of a cliff,  in the Matopos at Rhodes’ Grave, over-looking a boulder strewn valley.
P1020940
An old friend, below. (I visit this tree each time I climb World’s View in the Matopos.)
P1020949
P1280555
It’s a tough life, here in Zimbabwe!
P1200139-Edit-Edit-Edit
This photo above, is taken in Nyanga – a view of Nyangane with a lone, struggling bush in the foreground!
P1210222
Overlooking Mozambique, I found these trees keeping vigil…
P1210237
 
 

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!
P1210054
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…
P1320584
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.
P1320517
The look-out is on a precipice, with magnificent views in three directions.
P1320565
P1320551
P1320557
All these photos (above) were taken in the evening. The following morning, I returned before sunrise and took some more.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.
P1320382
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.
P1320367
This thorn tree, below, just coming into leaf caught my eye. (I’m afraid the photo isn’t that good.)
P1320379
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.
P1320383
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.
P1320370
 
P1320374

Tea Estates…

Zimbabwe’s famous, Tanganda Tea is grown in the Eastern Highlands where conditions are ideal – enough rain and early morning mists from the Mozambican coast.
Many ex-Zimboes go out of their way to buy Tanganda Tea when they visit here.
P1320368
I stopped under this tree – tea smells fresh! It’s the only word I can come up with. I always wondered why some varieties of roses were called “tea roses,” and now I know!
P1320371
I left Aberfoyle Lodge in the early morning, hoping to catch good light. The estate was already awake, with workers going about their daily schedules. Coming from a commercial farming background myself, this activity made me very nostalgic.
P1320373
Workers housing and packing sheds – above.
P1320269
Bucketing around the steep corners, I came across this gang, fixing the roads.
This photo (above) inspired local artist, Talent Kapadza to paint the scene:42157410_2192364314138610_1741592737263648768_n.jpg
He is selling this painting for $2800.00 – if you are interested, please get hold of him – he is on Facebook Talent Kapadza
 
 
 

Pungwe River…

The Pungwe river runs through the Honde Valley. I passed several of these rope bridges on my journey – and I even walked to the middle of this one!!!! I’m scared of heights, so gave myself a pat on the back for intrepidity. (That means bravery/stupidity, for those of you who don’t want to get out a dictionary!)
P1320443
They are rather wonky things – with the cable joined in several places.
P1320444
I’m not used to rivers that don’t dry up in the winter and found the emerald green mosses and ferns fascinating.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A short walk from where I left the car and it felt as if I were the only person around:
P1320431
Pungwe River Bridge, in the Honde Valley, Zimbabwe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.
P1320132
The first rays of the sun were just peaking over the hills, lighting up a few leaves.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!
P1320162
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.
P1320167
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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And the trees! I drooled over them!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!
P1320237

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.
P1320274
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.
P1320363.jpg
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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!
P1320213.jpg
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!
P1320300
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:
P1320360
I hope they sort out a camping park, because its a lovely area to go tramping with your dogs.
P1320329

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!
P1310897
It’s a cute cottage, built of stone and an open plan interior.
P1310830
P1310835
But its really the views from the garden, a few steps out of the front door, that I wanted to see:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cedar Peak Cottage is a great place for walking/hiking enthusiasts, with several paths leading down into the valley.
P1310858-2
These Msasa form a tunnel overhead!
P1310877
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!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Back at Cedar Peak Cottage…
P1310891
This Msasa tree has been cleverly included in the building!
P1310904
I sat an enjoyed this view above, from the front of the cottage:
P1310857
Cedar Peak Cottage is on Facebook here
Cedar Peak Cottage Info & Directions – Please Print