Posts Tagged ‘matabeleland north’

Hi All

I’m back…………

Let’s continue on our journey.

We left off last time with a fantastic breakfast of the Nesbitt Castle and me telling you that AJS is not a birder but he is passionate about the history of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe – a passion he has had since a boy.  We filled up with fuel and headed south, past Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, (whose founder Viv Wilson sadly died this week) through Esigodini and Gwanda.  About six kilometres later we turned right and our direction now became south-west.  After about eighty kilometres the tarred surface abruptly ended and an hour later we passed through the metropolis of Hwali !

Baobab Adansonia digitata

Baobab
Adansonia digitata

We were now in the deep south-west of Zimbabwe and Baobab country. The nests are those of the Red-billed Buffalo Weaver.

Cactus

Strange Cactus

It is very dry down there and there were plenty of these spiny beasts.  Anyone out there know what they are ?  I don’t !

After Hwali the road deteriorated quite quickly but we only had about 40 odd km left to go before we would arrive at our destination.

Shashi Wilderness Camp - Tuli Circle

Shashi Wilderness Camp

Shashi Wilderness Camp Tuli Circle

Lovely place

The Shashi Wilderness Camp is owned and operated by the Matabeleland Branch of Wildlife Environment Zimbabwe.  It is a fantastically restful and peaceful camp right in the riverine forests of the Shashi River adjacent to the Tuli Circle.  This strange border phenomenon is a semi-circle of land that belongs to Zimbabwe but is on the Botswana side of the river that demarcates the border.

http://www.madbookings.com/botswana/information/tuli-botswana.html I stole their map but can’t vouch for them as a business

 

Something to do with the old Fort Tuli where the BSAC Pioneers entered into Matabeleland late in the 19th century.

 

Shashi Widerness Camp

Lovely just sitting ……..

Yes – that is AJS.

Tuli Circle Shashi River

The Shashi River

…. and looking at the view.

The next morning we embarked on the real purpose for coming to this remote place.

National Parks Tuli Circle Safari Area

The Nat Parks sign

The Tuli Circle is managed by Zimbabwe National Parks as a safari area.

Pioneer Cemetery sign

Our destination revealed……………..

There is no real need for me to comment on the next four pictures.

Ernest Kays Prentice Fort Tuli

Ernest Kays Prentice

Captain Leslie Dewing Blackburn Fort Tuli
Captain Leslie Dewing Blackburn

George Hubert Hepper Headstone Fort Tuli

George Hubert Hepper that’s 1891

Patrick Brown Russel Headstone Fort Tuli

Patrick Brown Russell

We drove off to see an old Baobab and on the way back we climbed a small hillock.  Apart from the haze the view was great.

Tuli Circle Shashi Safari Area Giraffe

Can you see the distant giraffe?

That afternoon we went for a long walk up river from camp.  Brilliant riverine forest with fantastically sized trees.  We enjoyed that tremendously.  When I got up that morning at the respectable hour of 07h30 it was VERY chilly.

Cold Temperature Thermometer

It was very cold……..

But when we set out on our walk things had improved considerably……

Warm Temperature Thermometer

But warmed up nicely…………..

Riverine Forest Tuli Circle Shashi River

Big trees indeed !

After another chilly night in our little dormitory we packed up and returned to Bulawayo.  We were there by about lunch time and went straight to our ‘hotel’.

The Bulawayo Club

The Bulawayo Club !

The Bulawayo Club
The Bulawayo Club

The Bulawayo Club is one of those venerable old institutions known as a Gentleman’s  Club but in this day and age is much more tolerant of the fair sex.   It is lovely building and so reminiscent of its time.

The Bulawayo Club

The Bulawayo Club entrance Hall

The Bulawayo Club

Bedroom wing

The Bulawayo Club

The stairs and landing

The Bulawayo Club Atrium

The Atrium

The Bulawayo Club Dining Room Amalinda Group

The dining room

The Bulawayo Club Chief Lobengula
The Lobengula Room

We spent two nights at The Club because we needed to go shopping for supplies.  Beer, coffee, lots of travel snacks, meat etc.  The marathon journey was far from over.

We left Bulawayo with an extra body on board…………..

Greg on the Mazda Bongo

Not too uncomfortable………

We picked up GJW and headed north.  A long way north to Lupane where we took a right turn onto a dirt road then two lefts and now had 46 kilometres go and the road was pretty bad.  It took an hour…..

Shangani River

….to reach the Shangani River

And we still had a way to  go.  Eventually I saw it and we swung off the road for probably less than 100 metres and stopped.

AJS got out of the Bongo,  looked around and said “What is it ?”

Allan Wilson Memorial Shangani Patrol

AJS at the Allan Wilson Memorial

Remember the Shangani Patrol?  Where Major Allan Wilson and his men were caught on the wrong side of the Shangani River by Matabele warriors?  And all 34 were killed?  This was the site of the battle on the 4th of December 1893.

AJS was very pleased.

Shangani Patrol Allan Wilson Memorial

GJW at the Allan Wilson Memorial

GJW had not been there before either.  It was my third visit, the first being more than fifty years previously!  The beer drinking began!!

I drove back to Lupane, we filled up with fuel, swung right and continued north.  “North?”  I hear you say.

Yup it was not over yet……………

I will be back soon so we can continue with the journey.

Cheers

Tony

Hi All

At last………… a few minutes to tell you about the trip to Matabeleland North.

Jan and I left Harare on Sunday and drove leisurely down towards Bulawayo.  At around N’tabazinduna there was a local lass on the side of the road flogging watermelons. A nice big juicy takes two hands to pick it up watermelon for a dollar !!  Yep – US$ 1.00 was the price !

Arrival in the City of Kings entailed falling amongst thieves and brigands in the form of various members of the Watson clan.  Nice to catch up with old buddies.  We spent the night at Travellers – a more than adequate and very clean hostelry designed for , well of course, Travellers.

We left promptly at 06h00 the next morning and very soon were heading north on the Victoria Falls Road.  July in Zimbabwe is mid-winter and when going through the various river valleys early in the day saw the virtual mercury in the car thermometer plunging as low as minus 8 Celsius.  Brrrr !

The Hwange National Park turnoff arrived at about 09h15 and we popped into Ganda Camp to see if, perchance, my client was still there but he had just left for our planned rendezvous at Miombo Safari Camp.  Jan and I went through to Main Camp, checked in and then returned to meet the client, Peter, on the road to Miombo.

We bumped into a large herd of elephant on the main road.

This one knew exactly where to cross the road !

Having moved into our Lodge we promptly set off to see what we could see.  White-breasted Cuckoo Shrike, White-eyes and Ground Hornbills were already ticked on the main road. Yellow-bellied Greenbul and a lovely Pearl-Spotted Owl were in camp.  On our way to Nyamandhlovu Pan we found Peter’s first ‘lifer’……

Bradfield’s Hornbill

Whilst at the viewing platform over the Pan we witnessed an interesting stand-off between the Leviathan’s !

These to bulls *really* did not like the Crocs. This stand-off lasted at least half an hour ! Then it fizzled out !

The next day, after a *very* delayed breakfast in the Waterbuck’s Head Restaurant, we spent wandering around the local sites like Guvalala where we were kept busy ticking all the Vultures, including Cape Griffon.  We had a leisurely lunch at White Hills and saw a great Dark Chanting Goshawk.

Dark Chanting Goshawk

We slowly made our way back to camp via the more northerly loop road past Balla Balla Pans where we had great views of Crimson-breasted and Orange-breasted Bush-shrikes.

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Day three brought all the really serious excitement with the discovery of a pair of extremely rare yellow morph Crimson-breasted Shrike !!  They were in camp itself and I suspect are the offspring of a ‘normal’ pair with which they were associating.

If you look really carefully you can just pick up the ‘normal’ Crimson one in the background.

And next – Jan’s work of art……..

Yellow morph Crimson-breasted Shrike

What a start to the long day ahead of us !   Off we set heading south with an incredible dearth of birds for several hours apart from a very cold pair of Scaly-feathered Finch until just after Jambile Picnic Site when we found a cracking Ayres’ Hawk-Eagle.   We then got a bit lost (the roads and the map haven’t been synchronised for a while) but eventually found ourselves at Ngweshla and then at Kennedy Two.

If you didn’t know you are about to learn – Hwange is an extremely dry park on the edge of the Kalahari Desert and the only way it can support the large numbers of various African fauna is because of the provision of surface water from either Wind-pumps or pumps driven by old Lister diesels.  All of this is expensive stuff, especially in terms of maintenance and fuel.  Then we get to Kennedy Two !!!

If the sun shines there is water !! Fantastic !!

I don’t know who the donor is but a huge thank you is due !!

We had lunch here. Peter is on the right

After briefly calling in at Kennedy One – a few parrots here – we started our northward journey and very soon found another target bird – the elusive Racquet-tailed Roller.  Peter was pleased !!

Elephant can cause long delays to your planned journey !

We returned to Main Camp quite late in the afternoon and had another great dinner and sorted out all our various lists so that Jan and I could get off relatively early for the long haul back to Harare.  Thanks Peter – a great trip.

We were very lucky to bump into a large herd of Buffalo in the morning sun…

Very soon after this we also came across a pack of Wild Dog.  Of the seven dogs five had collars.  Let’s hope all this research pays off.

Painted Hunting Dog or African Wild Dog.

It is a *very* long drive back to Harare in one day.  We were home about 16h45.  Well that’s not quite true.  Jan was.  She dropped me off to attend the monthly talk by someone from Birdlife Zimbabwe.  Well I had to show off some of those Shrike pics didn’t I  – it would have been rude not to.

Cheers for now

Tony