We have had a few very relaxing days of being looked after at home and are in need of another quick adventure. Ngomakurira is another favourite place of mine and is in easy driving distance from Harare. It is an area inhabited by enormous, granite domes that rise above the rural countryside. We head off with our overnight kit, our mission, to spend the night in the hills and wake for sunrise.

The forty minute drive out is an interesting one. Along the way are numerous little general stores and drinking spots with names such as “Bro Joe’s Nitespot”, “Try Again General Dealer” and “Try Again General Dealer 2″. They have a dilapidated charm that is so African. Big handpainted CocaCola signs, now pealing, with men sitting around drinking and the old broken down bicycle here and there. Further out are small huts, skinny goats and stray dogs, children who wave and chase the car. At one point some industrious kids are filling the huge potholes with dirt. They wave us down and ask for recompense as we pass. Then its a short dirt road and we are below a towering wall of rock, steaked with water paths and different coloured lichens. We pay our US$2 entry fee and haul our bags up the rocky path.

On top of the first hill, we can aready see the landscape stretching into the distance, with small groups of huts and rectangular hand tilled fields. There are numerous small springs running down the rocks with crystal clear water. We follow the path about half way up and then start looking for a spot to set up camp. There is a grove of trees in between the  big domes. Although there are some unusual arrangements of rocks around the place, we judge it to be far enough off the path to be out of the way and set up our tent.
At around ten o’clock we hear black voices approaching the tent. We freeze in our tent in silence. Who could be up here at this time of night? A small group of them, they stop nearby and are talking quietly. I can’t tell if they have seen us or not. We lie there absolutely still. Then to our surprise they start singing. The african voices combined with the sounds of the night is a wonderful sound, but also quite creepy given the situation. Later they start talking animatedly in what I decided was prayer. I assume they are a religious group, probably apostolics, but we are still frozen in the tent and can’t bring ourselves to peep outside the tent.
After some time they stop and are quiet and I doze off. But a couple of hours later the singing begins again. This repeats through the night and combined with the sounds of small animals creeping around the tent, it made for a restless sleep. I am wondering what will happen if they are still there in the morning, but they leave around 4am, just in time for us to get up for sunrise. We tiredly get up and pack the tent.
The sunrise is worth the effort. Sophie snuggles up in her sleepingbag and watches while I scurry back and forth with my huge tripod trying to find the best shots as the sky lightens. Later on we move and Soph finds a nice little furrow in the rock and catches up some sleep while I continue scurying around with my camera.
On the way down we have a quick swim in the crystal clear stream that runs down the rock. Further down some enterprising kids approach with custard apples and the local Mahobohobo fruit. Mahobohobo is not my favourite, and in any case at this time of year they can be found on hte ground all over the place but we buy a few to help them out. They are not satisfied, “Money for school fees!” they chime together. We ask them how much school fees are. “Five Dollars”. We give them a few dollars and continue walking down. We notice that they are still following us, whispering to each other. When we get to the car, we turn round to see them all standing there, “Take for free!” they say. It seems our donation for school fees was unacceptably generous. Sophie thanks them and encourages them to rather sell them to someone else. As we speak more children are arriving with more goods to try and sell so we quickly say goodbye and set off home, looking forward to an afternoon snooze.

We have had a few very relaxing days of being looked after at home and are in need of another quick adventure. Ngomakurira is another favourite place of mine and is in easy driving distance from Harare. It is an area inhabited by enormous, granite domes that rise above the rural countryside. We head off with our overnight kit, our mission, to spend the night in the hills and wake for sunrise.

The forty minute drive out is an interesting one. Along the way are numerous little general stores and drinking spots with names such as “Bro Joe’s Nitespot”, “Try Again General Dealer” and “Try Again General Dealer 2″. They have a dilapidated charm that is so African. Big handpainted CocaCola signs, now pealing, with men sitting around drinking and the old broken down bicycle here and there. Further out are small huts, skinny goats and stray dogs, children who wave and chase the car. At one point some industrious kids are filling the huge potholes with dirt. They wave us down and ask for recompense as we pass. Then its a short dirt road and we are below a towering wall of rock, steaked with water paths and different coloured lichens. We pay our US$2 entry fee and haul our bags up the rocky path.

On top of the first hill, we can aready see the landscape stretching into the distance, with small groups of huts and rectangular hand tilled fields. There are numerous small springs running down the rocks with crystal clear water. We follow the path about half way up and then start looking for a spot to set up camp. There is a grove of trees in between the  big domes. Although there are some unusual arrangements of rocks around the place, we judge it to be far enough off the path to be out of the way and set up our tent.

At around ten o’clock we hear African voices approaching the tent. We freeze in our tent in silence. Who could be up here at this time of night? A small group of them, they stop nearby and are talking quietly. I can’t tell if they have seen us or not. We lie there absolutely still. Then to our surprise they start singing. The african voices combined with the sounds of the night is a wonderful sound, but also quite creepy given the situation. Later they start talking animatedly in what I decided was prayer. I assume they are a religious group, probably apostolics, but we are still frozen in the tent and can’t bring ourselves to peep outside the tent.

After some time they stop and are quiet and I doze off. But a couple of hours later the singing begins again. This repeats through the night and combined with the sounds of small animals creeping around the tent, it made for a restless sleep. I am wondering what will happen if they are still there in the morning, but they leave around 4am, just in time for us to get up for sunrise. We tiredly get up and pack the tent.

The sunrise is worth the effort. Sophie snuggles up in her sleepingbag and watches while I scurry back and forth with my huge tripod trying to find the best shots as the sky lightens. Later on we move and Soph finds a nice little furrow in the rock and catches up some sleep while I continue scurying around with my camera.

On the way down we have a quick swim in the crystal clear stream that runs down the rock. Further down some enterprising kids approach with custard apples and the local Mahobohobo fruit. Mahobohobo is not my favourite, and in any case at this time of year they can be found on the ground all over the place but we buy a few to help them out. They are not satisfied, “Money for school fees!” they chime together. We ask them how much school fees are. “Five Dollars”. We give them a few dollars and continue walking down. We notice that they are still following us, whispering to each other. When we get to the car, we turn round to see them all standing there, “Take for free!” they say. It seems our donation for school fees was unacceptably generous. Sophie thanks them and encourages them to rather sell them to someone else. As we speak more children are arriving with more goods to try and sell so we quickly say goodbye and set off home, looking forward to an afternoon snooze.