I always seem to end up apologising for not keeping these posts either up to date or even very regular so I do so again in the certainty that it is true ! Sorry
We left off last time with us making a long and arduous journey into the Chewore Safari Area on a secret quest. The reason for the secrecy was that I already had plans to take my buddy AJS to the same place as a surprise and knowing that he is a follower of these ramblings I could barely divulge the destination could I ?
AJS arrived in early October and the very next morning we set out on those crappy bloody roads for Masoka Camp on the Angwa River. We were accompanied by one of my other mates, DY, who has failed to go African adventuring for some decades and was itching to get “out and about” in the wilds. A very pleasant and uneventful trip and evening and off into Chewore the next day.
We checked in at the Parks Mkanga HQ and followed the road deeper into the area to see …………
Fossilised Dinosaur Footprints
They are, according to the experts ……..”Palaeontological experts who have studied this trackway of footprints are non-specific about the type of beast that made them. All they will say is that the dinner-plate-sized “three-toe’d” prints, some of which have clear claw markings, are those of a huge carnivorous “theropod” of the Mid-Late Jurassic period. That’s about 200 million years ago!”
Or those of AJS …….
They may well be in a very remote place but they are not too difficult to find.
Well after that little surprise it was back to Masoka for sundowners and relax before dinner.
Next day it was simply back on that bloody awful road and return to Harare being troubled most of the way with a dodgy tyre that we had to keep on pumping up every 40 minutes or so.
We slept, and the next day restocked, fixed tyres, and packed for a departure next day to Mocambique………..
Now, I need to back track into August. JNV and I went adventuring into Mocambique looking for special birds that are known to winter in that country. Like the Malagasy Pond Heron and Mascarene Martin. Needless to say it was a very interesting trip and we started off very successfully by finding Böhm’s Bee-eater south of the Zambezi (placing them firmly in southern Africa). Unfortunately, that evening, JNV slipped in the shower breaking some ribs in the process !
Needless to say that put him out of action and we ended up back in Harare with just that one bird under our belts.
But the scene had been set, the explorations done, the appetite seriously “whetted” and AJS, JBW and I were on our way !
First stop Casa Msika in Mocambique’s Manica province.
I know this is only 3 or 4 hours from Harare but it does break the journey very nicely.
The next day we were off with a single stop in Chimoio to purchase necessary supplies (Read beer and chocolate into that!)
Turn left at Inchope onto the EN1, across the Pungwe Bridge. I first crossed this river in 1959 ! No bridge then of course – just a pontoon.
Shortly after crossing the river you drive around a bend ………
Gorongosa is a fantastic park with a very chequered and interesting past. See www.gorongosa.org
The accommodation available at Chitengo is very varied.
I know that it is a bit confusing but it is me trying to get pics from the two trips to really explain what Mocambique is really like.
The Gorongosa mammal populations are recovering very nicely since my previous visit there in 2000. See http://birdingzimbabwe.com/2012/05/17/birding-in-mocambique/
Reedbuck, Waterbuck and Oribi in their hundreds.
The elephant have been seriously traumatised by years of persecution, poaching and illegal hunting.
They have neither forgotten of forgiven ….
After two fabulous days in the park it was time to move on … so northwards we went. All the way to the Zambezi in fact.
We stayed at M’phingwe Lodge in the Catapú logging concession. A truely delightful destination with great (and very affordable) accommodation, hospitable hosts and fantastic staff.
We stayed four nights and thoroughly enjoyed all of it. The Inamitanga forest (which borders on Catapú) is magnificent and still contains all sorts of wild beasts …….
There is lots to see and do. The 3.2km rail bridge at Villa de Sena, Mary Moffat Livingstone’s grave on the way to Marromeu and the newly completed 2.7km road bridge at Caia.
There was a great little restaurant on the north bank which had the most interesting collection of light fittings.
Needless to say, the birding was just fantastic. White-breasted Alethe, East coast Akalat, Mangrove Kingfisher, Green Malkoha, Tiny Greenbul, Brown-throated Weaver, Narina Trogons and yes, the Pitta too !
Eventually we had to leave. Sad, I know, but move on we must.
Southwards through the Inhamitanga and Inhaminga forests.
Into the rather dreary town of Dondo and then to Beira.
This concluded an ambition of ours – years ago we had taken AJS to Swakopmund in Namibia on the west coast of Africa. Now Beira on the east coast. Yep – right across Africa. A moment for high-fives indeed.
It was an uneventful trip home and then AJS was all too soon on a plane back to the UK. A fantastic trip all around and now I need to be planning something new for 2016.
That’s all folks. See you sooner than last time I hope.