Tag : borehole surveys Zimbabwe

Makoni East…

We did three surveys in this area for Maranatha Volunteers, a branch of the Seventh Day Adventist Churches…


What a view! I took this pic from the front yard of an elderly couple I met carrying their maize home from the grinding mill.


Homesteads are small here, compared with Tsholotsho for example, where eight or twelve houses are all included in a stockade. Probably because in Tsolotsho, lions and other predators roam free!


Shopping day?


Look at the size of these rocks, towering over the tiny houses in the valley below.


Pretty setting for a district hospital.


OK, OK – I have to get a tree into my post somewhere! I just LOVED this tree, shaped by the lorries that pass this way!




Nature’s fragrance…

On our recent trip to Binga area, we based ourselves at Mlibizi (pics already on here someplace,) a fishing camp on the Zambezi river.

Our first day’s work at Nechilibi, was rained off, and the car was a bit of a muddle because I’d had to bring things that usually belong in the back, into the cab.

Our second site was at Deka, also a fishing camp on the Zambezi, about an hour and a half away on a pretty poor road. We set off early, after checking that the Gwaai River was not in flood. You can see from this pic, the low clouds, just waiting to trap us in the car for another three hours!


This pic (above) is taken from the bridge over the Gwaai River. It had been flooding high the previous day, but as you can see, it went down quickly.

Even before we reached this bridge, I’d noticed a terrible smell. I didn’t say anything, but wished we had not had beans for supper the previous evening! I smelled it again, shortly after, when I slowed down for a cow.

I flapped my hand and got a “Huh? Whats up with your guts?”

MY GUTS??? What a flaming cheek! MEN!!! And like all men, Will has an excellent ‘innocent look.’ I wondered if I should believe his, “It wasn’t me!” story? And it definitely wasn’t me!

It seemed to be worse whenever I slowed down and we eventually decided something must have died in our air-conditioner, or in the panel above the bonnet. I couldn’t work out why it would make a difference when we slowed down, but we had plenty of ideas about air flow etc! I stuck to my theory that he was not as innocent as professed!

When we arrived at Deka, I checked under the bonnet, and stuck my nose on all the carpets – nothing.  I left the guys doing the survey and took a drive along the Zambezi, looking for photo opportunities; did a little fishing with some kids I came across.


Their back yard!


I didn’t notice any smells when on my own, and began to wonder if Will was having me on! He must have squeezed one out each time I slowed down, knowing it would confuse the issue.

I collected the survey team, (and by the way, this hole was drilled and it had lots of lovely water.) We headed off to Kenkando, the second job of the day, 60km away (unfortunately, this hole was dry!) and the smells came back as soon as Will got in the car.

Eventually, after about twenty kilometres, stopping to take this pic:


I noticed these flowers, growing on a bush close-by, were very fragrant.


So I picked a whole stack of them (the guys sniggering on the back!) and put them in the cab – anything to cancel out that foul smell.

It didn’t work that well!

Arriving at Kenkando, and removing the resistivity machine (from behind Will’s seat) we discovered the MIA lunch (beef stew) from Thursday! Eeeew! It had got wedged under his seat; stray shoes and fire extinguishers pushing it out of sight! Every time I slowed down, Will must have leaned back, squashing the tupperware, lid forcing it to fart!

Phew! Were we glad we solved that one!

A few pics taken along the road:


This is baobab country – just one doesn’t usually have the back drop of clouds when coming across them!


Teak tree blossoms, I’m told (above.)


This lady was collecting water – a laborious process – she wasn’t making sand castles!

Word of advice…

Don’t stop to buy fish along the road from Binga…because what starts off with a few (pretty) ladies to barter with…P1160826

Ends up with many, many more! They crowd around the car, shoving wide plates with stinky salted bream through the window, all yelling at the top of their lungs!


Brighton, a member of our survey team, is pictured above wearing the striped shirt! I told him I would send this pic to his wife (s) His reply “Send it, and she will realise how lucky she is!!!” Amazing how brave a man can be when alone, and in this case, surrounded by lots of lovely women!

Pigs and figs…


We crossed this stream on the way to a place called Kenkando. Only later, did we discover it is within walking distance…um not my walking distance, mind…of Kavanika – another of the churches where we had to look for water.


Love the little piggies!


I’m told they are a kind of fig… (the tree, not the piggies!)


Is in the Binga area, with an escarpment towering above it. The trees are large, the road, terrible! P1160450


A series of gardens run through the middle of several lands and people grow vegetables as well as banana’s and mangos.


Looks like wells may be a better option here than a borehole.



Traditional homes here are mostly for shelter from the sun, and have breeze blocks built in to cool them.


We found a tree there, that’s berries taste like peanut butter!


And wild flowers!



Wild Flowers at Nechilibi

Nechilibi is a place opposite the entrance to the Hwange National Park. We drove along the strip road to get there, and when I got out, found a huge variety of wild flowers! Must be the rains!


This little guy (below) looks like he has a mouth! With yellow lipstick! With prickly spines under the flower!



And yes, FYI, these pop – better than Jacaranda flowers!


And the colour! Wow.


These look very much like hibiscus that grow in our gardens – again, the deep burgundy contrasting nicely with the yellow.


These, below, may be common, but they put on a dramatic show at this time of the year, covering bushes and large sections of barren ground.






All of these flowers were within a twenty square metre area!


This last one is not a flower, but I couldn’t resist the colours!


The borehole survey at Nechilibi was rained off!!! Nothing more boring than sitting in a steaming car waiting for the rain to stop!


We had to return there a week later! This is a short video of a part of the drive along the old strip road – although not in the rain! Please click on the link here: Driving on the old strip road




There have been plenty clouds around recently – this one, above, taken in Binga, above the water.


I love it when the clouds hang right overhead! This pic was taken just after Kariangwe driving through thick black mud. I’d have liked to remain for hours, but fresh rain on top of that black mud could have been a disaster.



Storm clouds mean everything to us – look at the lucky people where that storm is landing!

Dumb Blonde moments…

We woke very early at Binga Hot Springs, hoping for good sun rise shots. I took the camera to the hot pool and waited…and was disappointed. The sky, with all the clouds about, was gun metal grey! Eeeuw – not the colour one commonly associates with the Zambezi.


And then…suddenly, the light changed…


I rushed for my keys, camera and wrap and charged off. I wanted to get to the water’s edge before I missed the colours I could barely see from up on the ridge.

Roaring along the road, I spied a track (although that term is probably also an exaggeration!) heading off towards the water, only wide enough to contain the car, but not the rear view mirrors! I burst out of the thick scrub, maybe 200m later onto what would normally be underwater. White boulders dotted about, hiding sharp sticks and driftwood. I barrelled over this, trying to get as close to the water as possible. I didn’t want to miss the light, sweeping across the water…ok, Ill stop with the yak – have a look at the photos:



The water is low right now, and the sticks form lovely fishing spots.


Cattle don’t seem to mind it!



I messed with this pic (above) rather! The cloud, building up behind me, added to the dramatic early morning light.


The place I had come out at was where the water from the fish farm enters the lake. Everyone was fishing there! Birds, crocs, people!


I pulled a stick of imfi off the back of the car, and sat chewing it (for those of you who don’t know: its a kind of sugar cane, but softer, easier to peel and chew.) Simply peel it with your teeth, then bite off a chunk, chew it, spit it out!)


A Kapenta rig chugged past us, then another one went in the other direction


…and then I got hungry. I’d been sitting for nearly two hours with only a few bites of sugar cane, and so decided to go back to the resort for breakfast!

Now for the blonde moment! I couldn’t find the opening to the path! I’d been in such a hurry to get to the water’s edge, that I’d not looked anywhere but the road (or ground rather!) immediately in front of the car. I’d jigged and zagged around boulders, sharp sticks and holes, but with my eye on the target – the water! Much more sober now, I couldn’t see my tracks and didn’t feel quite up to driving around looking for the road. Walk you say???  Not a chance! I pretended I wasn’t lost – taking some more pics, further from the water’s edge!


In the distance, I saw a building. I thought: “building – road to building!” and headed that way. Eventually I found my way to a road, thence to a lush garden with cute little lodges, all facing towards the water….to a locked gate! A pretty angry man came to open it for me, but seemed to accept that I was a dumb blonde who had talked the security guard into opening the gate for me to take pics, he simply wouldn’t believe that I’d managed to drive so far along the river’s edge.



It seems the old strip road builders knew how to build roads! We crossed it several times recently when working along the Victoria Falls road, and mostly it can still be used!


Our contract for the Seventh Day Adventist Church began with a place called Nkonyeni, which is in the Bubi area. In order to get there, we had to cross the old strip road, and the Bubi river!


Dramatic views – racing the rain!


Huge forests line the river.


This is a donkey berry flower. I LOVE donkey berries!


No idea what this is – but its pretty!


Elephants at Ivory Lodge

Ivory Lodge, near Hwange National Park, is one of my favourite places in the area, especially for viewing elephant, close up. The hide, close to a salt lick, allows me to watch them interact with each other as well as safely take photos. I’m pretty scared of elephants, so this is a must!

Luckily they wanted us to site a borehole, so we were able to stay overnight!


Its pretty exclusive, so I never feel crowded when I visit there. Below is a pic of one of the rooms. (Love the stilts!)


The two photos below were taken of the elephants eating salt, both taken at night.



I took a short video – I was fascinated to see that they never stand on their trunks when digging!

If ever you have a chance, stay at Ivory Lodge – its an experience.