That will be a fine of $20
Friday, 22 July
Between driving from our Hostel in Zambia and arriving at Hwange National Park we have been fined a ridiculous number of times. Ok so the first fine for $900 was Bushlores fault for filling the papers in wrong but they footed that bill. The boarder into Zimbabwe is just strange, unfriendly and i'm pretty sure a bit of a con. We had to pay some random "agent fee" that was signed off by a guy on the street (literally a man on the side of the road that we dismissed and later recalled). We had to pay the random man and the boarder control people and then saw them split some money around the back. It's all a bit iffy.
We knew this about Zimbabwe but didn't think it would be so smack-in-your-face obvious. Finally into Zimbabwe we got stung so many times! Our first fine was for entering a big car park through the entrance... Kind of our fault but surely not illegal?! $20 per car within 20 minutes of arriving. We were planning to sit and have a nice meal but after dealing with arsey Zimbabwe policemen we just wanted to get into the National Park. I did manage to buy the National Dish of Sadza from the supermarket though so not all misery! It looked disappointingly familiar - cornmeal made into a thick, stiff porridge this time served with stewed beef.
The national park was only a few hours away but in that time, between the two jeeps, we paid $20 at every police check on the way. The light on our registration plate wasn't working; the pressure in our fire extinguisher was too low; the brake light has a crack in it. The police knew and we knew that $20 was never worth arguing over and so we just paid it every time; the policeman here haven't been paid since January! I just saw it as an expensive toll where the proceeds go to "charity". Never have we been happier to enter a National Park!
Hwange is known for having pumped waterholes all year round and so when dry season comes there is only one place you need to be to see everything! I find it fascinating how you can use one animal's behavior to find others. A nervous Puku usually means there is something around that might eat it; circling vultures in the sky can be seen for miles and means that there's a fresh kill below. We used the spiralling tower of vultures to find our best kill siting of the trip. A pride of around 7 lions, with cubs(!), eating a small elephant. We sat there on our own watching a lion trying to gnaw the tip of the trunk off and chew it like a deflated rubber dingy whilst another fended off vultures. This was truly a once in a life time experience.
|How many legs?!