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Nyanga, Zimbabwe (Visual Diary)

The national park near Nyanga is said to have been Cecil Rhodes favourite spot and by all accounts has fabulous hikes through lush green mountains with waterfalls, breath taking views and great trout fishing. We knew that these hikes would be out of bounds for us with a dog but we hoped that as the park is not home to many animals and has no predators, the rangers may turn a blind eye and allow us to stay for one night in their campsite with Bow Wow. However, they were not to be charmed and once again we found ourselves in the stressful situation of having to find alternative accommodation with less than an hour of daylight left. Blaming himself, Bow Wow felt horrendously bad about the whole thing and increasingly worse when we were turned away from a motel in the town of Nyanga which was fully booked and did not allow camping in their grounds. On hearing us discussing our last hope, which was to ask if we might stay at the local police station, the snooty receptionist reluctantly suggested that we try a place just out of town called Angler’s Rest but she definitely did not recommend it.



Our campsite at Anglers Rest in Nyanga. Lula, Lachlan & Bow Wow. Zimbabwe.

With a certain amount of trepidation we made for Angler's Rest which is perched on top of a hill in the heart of a small farming community. A really friendly drunk man wearing a floppy hat and clutching an unlabelled bottle of beer directed us through the maze of small brick houses (each with it's own impressive vegetable plot) to the slightly shabby motel.


Dreamy blue mountain view with farm and house, Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

There was no problem with Bow Wow here nor camping and so we put up our tent and gazed out across the valley to the dreamy blue mountains beyond.


Beautiful view of valley in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

When the clanking cows were brought home from better grazing ground, Bow Wow quickly made friends with the herds boys' dogs and played with them well after dark. We got an inkling of how it feels to be the worried parents of a rebellious teenager but thankfully, he didn't stray too far and every now and then we heard the the reassuring tinkle of the name tags on his collar.


Every morning people with umbrellas or pickaxes tossed over their shoulders traipsed past the barbed motel fence (it was there to keep the horribly thin cattle from eating the motel’s juicy grass). More than once the spectacle of Bow Wow flicking his ball in the air and dribbling drew an audience. “Serious! It knows soccer skills, it is very rare and funny!” the locals laughed who, being used to working dogs, appeared to have never seen anything quite like it.



Okra vegetable purchased in Rusape, Zimbabwe.

We bought this strange vegetable called okra at a market in Rusape. The green pods which looked a bit like chilli peppers oozed a sticky goo when I chopped them up and the slices made these fabulous stars. I put them in a stew and they were delicious.


Group of women in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

We met this group of kaleidoscopically patterned women on their way to collect donations from an AIDS charity. The little girl was called Prudence.


Julius and his sister at their home in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

Julius, who is also HIV positive, explained that he receives $26 every 2 months from the same charity. His wife died of AIDS leaving him to care for their two young daughters. Out of the $26, he receives $4 per child. They all live with his sisters and their respective families in two small rooms and survive by growing all of their own fruit and vegetables. The government has given Julius acres of land and so he could grow much more and start a business but he has no money for fertiliser or seeds and so the land lies redundant.



Lucie talking to group of children in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

Across Julius's fence we met a boy wearing a green Scotland top!


Vegetable patch in Nyanga, Zimbabawe.

Julius kindly gave us a tour of his neighbourhood, introducing us to his friends and pointing out the various vegetables grown in the area. Maize and potatoes appeared to be most abundant but apples, lemongrass ("For flu."), nettles, okra (the green star slices mentioned above), mint and garlic ("Good like medicine.") were also plentiful.


Some children in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

In our quest to find products for Vagabond Van, Julius said that he would take us to meet some craftspeople in town.


A young boy outside his home in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

We made very slow progress as we kept stopping to speak to Julius's curious friends.


An interesting old lady in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

So slow, that this tiny old lady over took us a few times.


A pregnant woman outside her home in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

Number three on the way.


A group of children inside their school fence, Nyanga, Zimbabawe.

Pre school posers.


A group of boys who've just finished school in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

It was full speed out of school for these knock kneed kids, stopping briefly to have their picture taken.


A young boy named Prince standing next to his mother in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

"How are you?" Prince asked. He is only two and a half years old and has already started school and can speak some english. His parents described him as a genius and gave us fruit called machange (not sure of the spelling) which they had gathered from a forest. We bit the tops off and sucked out the sweet flesh which tasted like creamy passion fruit.


We stopped at the Corner Cafe for sadza and relish with Julius, who unbelievably managed to pack away two enormous helpings of the cement like substance. Afterwards he thanked us, clapping his hands and saying “Mazvita hanyu.”. On our way to meet Nyanga’s local artists, the heavens opened (as they do every afternoon at this time of year) and we got seriously soggy. The crafts were all soap stone sculptures which, although masterfully carved, were no good for Vagabond Van.


A tangled mess of powerlines as we left Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

In Scotland this is what's known as a 'fankle'.

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16 Responses to “Nyanga, Zimbabwe (Visual Diary)”

  1. Hannah says:

    I love following (stalking?) your blog as you travel but your comments about okra are hilarious. I’m from the Southern U.S. and okra is a staple in our cooking. Fried okra, breaded okra, sauteed okra… When you think of Cajun cooking, okra is a must! When I studied in Tanzania we loved that we could find Okra at the market to add to our veggie sautee.

    Thanks for writing such a beautiful blog!

  2. Erica says:

    I LOVE okra! Especially battered and fried. Culturally it can be found in the Southern United States and we eat the hell out of it. YUM!

  3. John says:

    Happy new year! I wondered what was happening with you.

    A couple of thoughts. If you are heading to Mozambique watch our for flooding. Apparently El Nina (cause of flooding in eastern Australia) also causes floods in Mozambique.

    Also, why do I think Lucie comes from Dundee – did you ever say that Lachie? From the voice, not even Broughty Ferry!

    Good luck and keep the posts going.


  4. Hi John!
    Happy new year to you and the fam too. We’re back in Cape Town at the moment trying to organise the big drive back.
    It’s funny as whenever we meet Scottish people, nobody believes her! She was originally from west coast, now Dundee.
    Thanks for keeping up with us.
    Any news?

  5. Adam says:

    Hey guys, just stumbled upon your site from the Travel Blog Exchange site. I love it, and it looks like you are all having quite the adventure.

    You have some great videos and pictures here, especially of Prince. He is freaking adorable. Can’t wait to check out some more of your site and watch more of the videos. Great job!

  6. Cam says:

    Great photo journey guys! I felt like I was there with you. ;-)

  7. I have to give you guys credit, as person who is going to visit kenya in about 4 months these are amazing pics!!

  8. i want to go! i want to go! your photos are so beautiful! and the vids? bow wow’s soccer skills are top notch ;) gave me a great chuckle. great post guys!

  9. How fascinating, we thought that okra was so exotic! Being from Scotland, I was shocked when I realised how hard oat cakes are to come by in Africa. Lachlan is Australian and has been suffering from Vegemite withdrawal for the past year – we have yet to find any, even in major cities like Johannesburg or Cape Town. Luckily his mum sent a couple of emergency tubes at Christmas!

  10. bethany says:

    I really want to go! It looks beautiful and the colors are beautiful!

  11. Nancy says:

    Oh my the little boy with th backpack is so cute! Can’t believe he’s already in school.

  12. panyanga says:

    the old lady in one of these pictures labeled wrongly as thin, is not thin, I have known this lady since I was a small girl and she has always been very slim. I have knwon her when she was younger and her body has not changed one bit. just thought I would put something right.

  13. panyanga says:

    my correction she was labelled tiny not thin, sorry, but which in Shona is a bit of unrespectable

  14. Hi Panyanga, thanks for your comments :) We don’t mean to be disrespectful at all. In our culture, everyone wants to be thin which we don’t actually agree with as some people become far too thin. It is best to be healthy of course. We said she was tiny as she was much shorter in height compared to us, yet it was funny as she still managed to pass us on many occasions as we kept stopping to chat to people. We really appreciate you taking the time to read about our travels. We had a wonderful time in Zimbabwe and really look forward to returning. In fact we still buy copper and zinc bands made in Harare for our project to spread hope around the world called The Band4Hope Project. Please check it out and spread the word :)

  15. thompson charambira,zimbabwe says:

    your tour of nyanga has been informative.i am Zimbabwean by birth but has never been to that part of the country.i really enjoy the detail conveyed by your photographs.please invite me to one of your tours in Zimbabwe.thank you once

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