The next day we set out to return to Zim via one of the more remote border posts, near Espungabera / Mt Selinda. I was a bit unsure of this route to say the least. Apart from the fact that I wasn’t sure if the border post was actually operational, it lies about 200km off the tarred road that we had driven down. Having seen the state of the EN1, which is the main artery down the length of the country with its section of 60km of bumpy dirt, one is not filled with confidence in any of the less important roads. We decided to play it by ear and see what it looked like at the turn off. So, a couple of hours later we arrived at a dirt road that we hoped would get us to the border. We stopped there for a while for some ummming and aahhing, trying to work out how adventurous we were feeling. It wasn’t long before a truck came down the road which we waved down. We managed to poke some broken words out of him to the effect that yes it would take us to the border, so we decided to give it a go.
The road turned out to be ok for most of the way and took us through some really beautiful bush. I was very happy to be on the adventurous route rather than the boring tar road. It was dotted with more tiny villages and towns. At one point I was very excited to see marula fruits scattered on the road, so I stopped to collect a few. They have a really nice sour, tangy taste. The GPS seemed to know where it was taking us, the road the wasn’t too bad and we were going along happily. Just then we came round a bend to see a big river with what looked at first glace to be half a bridge on it. My heart fell. On second glance though I realised that it was some kind of ferry contraption, with a barge and cables with a winch. There were african kids jumping off it and swimming, women washing their clothes and people in dugout canoes rowing past, but noone seemed to be in charge of the contraption. So we edged closer and after a brief look we drove up onto it and I got out to try and work out how to activate the thing. It was all very exciting to come to such an interesting means to continue our journey. Soon a bunch of guys appeared, apparently amused by my close investigation of the winch handle. Chatting in Portuguese they climbed onto the barge and with one hand each they took hold of the handle and started winding it. The barge slowly moved across the river. One of them gave me a ticket and asked for 10mets (30c). We eventually reached the other side and were able to drive on.
Later on the terrain became more hilly and road began to get a bit more rocky and a bit more windy. With only a few km to go I started hearing a noise from the car. We got out to see that one of our tires was absolutely shredded. With the smell of cooked rubber in our noses Soph and I got to work changing the tire while Annie made us some tea. It wasn’t long before we were off again, praying that we wouldn’t get another flat. We didn’t fortunately, despite sliding off the road and into a rather deep gulley at one stage.
At about 5pm we were standing nervously at the customs desk. “Where is yoa freeeege?” the chubby officer asks. Oh No. In Morrungulo we had swapped vehicles and documents with my dad. He had brought down a bar fridge to keep our drinks cold. We hadn’t thought it worthwhile to cart 100kg of fridge all over the country to keep our drinks cold so it had gone back with my dad, but now we had a customs form boldly declaring a bar fridge. He shrugs his shoulders, “You must go back and fetch it…”. “Is there anything else we can do?”. Silence. He points to the declared value. So begins the tedious process of negotiating how big a “fine” we have to pay. “No sorry, we don’t $200 with us”. In the end we grudgingly cough up $50 and move through. In Mozambique its hard not to feel as if everyone is out to get you with the police and their ridiculous fines, officials wanting bribes and scammers on the streets all wanting a piece. So it is with relief that we step into Zimbabwe again. The officials are friendly and helpful and speak english. We even try our luck and ask if they have any cold cokes and to our amazement they have some cold fantas to sell us! Happily we drive on the last few km to Mt Selinda as the late afternoon light lights up the picturesque hilly countryside.

The next day we set out with the intention of returning to Zim via one of the more remote border posts, near Espungabera / Mt Selinda. I was a bit unsure of this route to say the least. Apart from the fact that I wasn’t sure if the border post was actually operational, it lies about 200km off the main tarred road that we had driven down on. Having seen the state of that road, which is the main artery down the length of the country, with its section of 60km of bumpy dirt, I was ┬ánot filled with confidence in the state of the less important roads. We decided to play it by ear and see what it looked like at the turn off.

So, a couple of hours later we arrived at a dirt road that we hoped would get us to the border. We stopped there for a while for some ummming and aahhing, trying to work out how adventurous we were feeling. It wasn’t long before a truck came down the road so we waved it down and managed to prod some broken words out of the driver to the effect that yes it would take us to the border, so we decided to give it a go.

The road turned out to be fine for most of the way and took us through some really beautiful bush. I was very happy to be on the adventurous route rather than the boring tar road. It was dotted with more tiny villages and towns. At one point I was very excited to see marula fruits scattered on the road, so I stopped to collect a few. They have a really nice sour, tangy taste.

With the GPS seeming to know where it was taking us and the road not too bad we were going along happily. Just then we came round a bend to see a big river with what looked at first glace to be half a bridge on it. My heart fell. On second glance though I realised that it was some kind of ferry contraption, with a barge and cables with a winch. There were african kids jumping off it and swimming, women washing their clothes and people in dugout canoes rowing past, but noone seemed to be in charge of the contraption. So we edged closer and after a brief look we drove up onto it and I got out to try and work out how to activate the thing. It was all very exciting to come to such an interesting means to continue our journey. Soon a bunch of guys appeared, apparently amused by my close investigation of the winch handle. Chatting in Portuguese they climbed onto the barge and with one hand each they took hold of the handle and started winding it. The barge slowly moved across the river. One of them gave me a ticket and asked for 10mets (30c). We eventually reached the other side and continued on our way.

Later on the terrain became more hilly and road began to get a bit more rocky and a bit more windy. With only a few km to go I started hearing a noise from the car. We got out to see that one of our tires was absolutely shredded. With the smell of cooked rubber in our noses Soph and I got to work changing the tire while Annie made us some tea. It wasn’t long before we were off again, praying that we wouldn’t get another flat. We didn’t fortunately, despite sliding off the road and into a rather deep gulley at one stage.

At about 5pm we were standing nervously at the customs desk. “Where is yoa freeeege?” the chubby officer asks. Oh No. In Morrungulo we had swapped vehicles and documents with my dad. He had brought down a bar fridge to keep our drinks cold. We hadn’t thought it worthwhile to cart 100kg of fridge all over the country to keep our drinks cold so it had gone back with my dad, but now we had a customs form boldly declaring a bar fridge. He shrugs his shoulders, slouching even further back into his chair, “You must go back and fetch it…”. “Thats impossible, is there anything else we can do?”. Silence. He points to the declared value. So begins the tedious process of negotiating how big a “fine” we have to pay. “No sorry, we don’t have $200 with us”. In the end we grudgingly cough up $50 and move through. In Mozambique its hard not to feel as if everyone is out to get you with the police and their ridiculous fines, officials wanting bribes and scammers on the streets all wanting a pieve of our hard earned cash. So, believe it or not, it is with relief that we step back into Zimbabwe. The officials are friendly and helpful and speak English. We even jokingly ask if they have any cold cokes and to our amazement they she brings out some cold Fantas to sell us! Happily we drive on the last few km to Mt Selinda as the late afternoon light lights up the picturesque hilly countryside.