Rusape, Zimbabwe (Photo Diary)
Rusape is a real Zimbabwean town not featured in any travel guides.
Our first port of call was the police station to find out if there was a safe place to camp. Beautifully hand scripted charts with 3D shadow effects using thick felt tipped pens lined the corridors and featured information like 2010's Most Wanted. After a senior inspector had interrogated us to ensure that we were not spies, he told us that officially there was no where to camp nearby but suggested that we ask if the Crocodile Motel might have a spare patch of ground. He had been there the previous evening watching soccer and drinking beer.
We took a wander through Rusape's bright and bustling streets.
In the UK this would be an exaggerated tabloid headline, but in Zimbabwe this is likely to be a real witch in trouble.
Take your sniffing elsewhere. (This photograph reminds us of the old Tom & Jerry cartoons which also featured a fuming mama.)
We couldn't work out why so many people seemed to be laughing at us as we trooped past until someone explained that it was "not normal to see a dog with a belt".
For some reason our club points didn't work here.
No meat, just dried fish for sale.
Hot pink, hot pot.
Must have been named in the time of hyperinflation.
On flamboyant and jacaranda lined Robert Mugabe street we met Confidence.
The achingly retro, yet empty, Crocodile Motel kindly allowed us to camp by their pool.
These polite and smartly dresses kids, making their way home from school, were keen to practice their English. They carried mielie meal on the back of their bicycle to feed their seven hungry puppies who apparently looked like mini Bow Wow’s.
Eagle is Lachlan's favourite Zimbabwean beer. It's a lager style beer brewed in a traditional way using sorghum which gives it a rare smack. Refreshingly, it tastes nothing like Chimbuku.
Lion is a dry lager and appears to be Zimbabwe's equivalent of South Africa's Castle. Lachlan feels that getting to grips with a country's beer is an important part of enjoying and understanding its culture.
Dawn breaking, silhouette making and bird song.
The Crocodile Motel let us use one of the showers in their rooms. We felt as though we were in a classic American movie.
Frogs were the only ones making good use of the swimming pool...
until Bow Wow came along and realised that they were great sport.
Jog around the lake followed by guilt free breakfast with a view. Ye cannae whack it.
Sweet, juicy and packed full of flavour - no wonder Zimbabwe was once known as the fruit basket of the world.
Sadza is the Zimbawean version of mielie pap and is eaten in exactly the same way with relish and meat. To make your own see our friend Duncan's recipe.
Duncan Phiri’s Pap
The ritual washing of hands before tucking in to sadza can be a way to make friends.
We met this thirsty farmer who demonstrated how to roll the sadza in your hands before soaking it in the relish and sucking it off your fingers.
Great grub and there is something so satisfying about eating with your hands. Finger lickin' good.
Wash and braid. How it's done at Lovely's Hair Salon.
Lovely's niece takes a break from braiding...
while her laughing gogo holds court and swigs Coca-Cola on the stoop.
Giggling and balancing is no mean feat.