Distance: 243km (Cumulative: 23 336km)
Moving time: 4:36
Average speed: 53km/h
Road surface: 94% Tar
Ndundu Backpackers - R65 p.p
Beautiful lawn camping between forest trees, but no water in ablution block.
After packing up we got news of urgent work so we went to Piet and Ria’s house and asked them if we can sit at their outside dining table to work. We managed to get some work done before we started chatting to Stanley. He’s a Swazi-born investment manager turned photographer who is in Mozambique for missionary work. He is also keen on Bitcoin and had a long chat with Hugo about it.
At 11:00 we got on the road to Zimbabwe. The first section to Inchope still had bad potholes. We passed several trucks with massive tree logs on the back. Apparently, it’s the Chinese chopping it down and exporting it overseas.
We refueled in Inchope and then got on the brand new tar road all the way to the border. Before reaching the border we stopped at a modern Shoprite in Chimoio where we bought some snacks and food.
At the border, the usual runners tried to get business from us, but we clearly said we don’t need anyone and we don’t have any money in any way. A one-legged guy was particularly pushy. We managed to check out of Mozambique fairly easily and then drove to the Zimbabwe side. To our surprise, the one-legged guy was there waiting for us. We again told him we are not going to give him anything he should just leave us alone. He then made a whole scene about how not everything is about money and that he is an ‘official’ working there, we don’t need to pay him. After getting our passports stamped we went to the Customs windows. The Zimbabwe side was quite crowded and people were physically pushing us around. The one-legged guy somehow appeared next to us again and started telling the customs officer things in their local language. He told us the fees to enter would be $50 and even wrote it down on a piece of paper and tried to convince the officer that we should pay $50. Luckily the officer just passed our gate pass and passport to the cashier window. The one-legged guy then grabbed some of our papers and went to some other people where he told us we needed to pay for road tax or something. The receipts however clearly stated Commercial at the top so Caro grabbed our things and made it clear that the guy should leave us alone. At the cashier, we only had to pay $10 for everything (carbon tax, road tax and everything that one might have to pay). We used the Carnet to enter and our COMESA insurance is valid for Zimbabwe, so we didn’t have to buy any of that.
Finally, we made it into Zimbabwe glad that we had our wits with us. We drove to Mutare and were impressed by the town and the relaxed atmosphere. Hugo managed to by an Econet Simcard rather easily. We then drove into the Vumba Mountains to the Ndundu Backpackers.
We arrived just as it got dark and somehow came to show us the campsite. The owners weren’t there, by the looks of it they haven’t been there in a long time and there was no running water. The initial price was $8 per person, but they accepted $5 per person.
The campsite is on a beautiful lawn between forest trees and they offered to make a fire, which we declined as we just wanted to get into bed. So all-in-all a nice place with friendly people. It was very cold, so we quickly made rice and coconut curry beans and then got into bed.