Entering Zimbabwe is a very slow procedure. That's what we think because we have not yet experienced slow. Actually the airport passport visa procedure is quite efficient. Relatively speaking, compared to i.e. getting the luggage out from the airplane. But even this slow is not really slow. The next day a native man will explain to us: "If you are in a hurry, please do not come to this country."
So, a happy man named Lucky is awaiting us. On the way to the Flat Dog Lodge we ask him about his country. He is obviously not too happy with the 94 year old president. Inflation rate more than fifty percent, very high unemployment, uneven distribution of wealth, corruption, etc. etc. (This trip was done three weeks before the military took over). Flat Dog's location is highly rated on Booking.com. If you have a car. We don't, but we got happy Lucky to drive us wherever we want. Which is nowhere at the moment, sitting down with an ice cold beer is a MBO (much better option). The friendly staff suggest we go on a sunset river cruise. Deal. We are four guests and two crew from the Flatdog on the boat. A very, very nice way to soak in Real Africa (excuse-us South Africa). Gliding down the Zambezi river in slow pace, with a Zambezi beer (very nice those) in the hand, watching strange birds, crocs and floating hippos. There are not yet so many other boats on the river so we have a very close encounter with the first elephant breading heard that is approaching the river to swim, dive, play and cross over to the other side where the grass eventually is greener. Just amazing watching those biggest of the "big fives" enjoying themselves in the water. First come females, babies and youngsters. They splash, dive or snorkel, using the tip of their trunks as snorkel. Last in the water is The Big Matriarch, the wisest of them all. So - time to cross the Zambezi. Staying close together, protecting the baby elephants in the middle of the heard.
The evening sun is like an enormous blood orange. Reflecting itself in the river where the elephants are swimming. In awe.
We have dinner at the recommended restaurant Three Monkeys. Prices are quite high compared to SA but food is really nice. Roland is having one of the biggest burgers ever. Me loads of grilled veggies. Never walk in the dark. Yes we know that from SA, high risk of being mugged. Here in Zimbabwe the reason why we shall not walk in the dark is different, risk of encountering elephants, or even worse, the most unpredictable animal in Africa - Buffalos. The decision to take a taxi (this is a very tiny place, no Uber available) is easy. We arrive to our Flat and very Dark lodge. Electricity is out, our room is like a sauna, not even a fan to whisk around the oven hot air. And of course no a/c, that would be cheating, we are preparing for six nights in a tent. Deep sleep occurs anyhow.
Happy elephants after safe river crossing
Me enjoying a sunset river cruise on the Zambezi river
Sunset river crossing