Easter break on the Turgwe River

23 04 2019

It’s not often that we both manage to get away together over Easter but this year we were lucky. Despite the kennels that we trust being full we managed to find someone to come and house-and-dogsit over the weekend. We have  been to the Humani Ranch camp on the Turgwe River before in December 2014 but this time we had downgraded from the rather expensive chalets to the glamping section with a group of friends from Mutare on the eastern border. It was comfortable enough.

It was a long 6 hour driver to the camp in the south-east of Zimbabwe but there had been recent rain and the countryside was greener than it had been a few months earlier. The recent cyclone Idai had expended most of it’s force before getting to this part of the countryside so a few bridges had experience damage but had already been fixed. The bush was thick and water plentiful so we didn’t see much game and that we did was very skittish. The Savé Valley Conservancy, of which the ranch is a part, is also a hunting area and most game did not wait to see if we were friendly or not. Still, it was good to get out of Harare for a while and enjoy the bush.


Negotiating the fine

22 05 2012

“You stopped but were over the line” the traffic policeman said having pulled me over.

“What line?”, I retorted knowing full well where the line was. “If there is a line it is very badly marked” which was also true.

“Get out of the car and we will walk back and I will show you” he answered.

“I don’t walk” I said, holding up my walking stick. “But if you get in we can drive back and have a look”.

He pondered this new approach for a moment and then saw the biltong on the seat of the Landcruiser. “Ah, I am going to enjoy some chimkuyu” he commented using the Shona word for the biltong. Biltong for those who don’t live in southern Africa is a spicy dried meat cut into sticks. Gary’s son Stuart had given me some that they’d cured from a wildebees that he’d shot the previous week in the Humani Ranch area of the Save Conservancy in the Save Valley of Zimbabwe. From the policeman’s comments I now knew that the whole “fine” was open to negotiation.

“Have you got change for my $50?” he asked holding up the note. Now I knew I could likely get away with the not stopping behind the white line at the stop street on The Chase and College Road. I scratched through my stash of small notes and found the requisite amount.

“You’d better count it” I said handing it over and taking the proffered $50 note. He counted it slowly and getting to the end said “How much do you want to pay for the fine?”.

“Nothing” I replied. “Your line is very badly marked”. The line marking probably wouldn’t have stood up in court but we both knew that neither of us wanted to take it that far.

“How about some chimkuyu?” he hinted.

I reached over to the bag and extracted the smallest stick I could find.

“But there are three of us” he said, trying another angle.

“Well, cut it up then” I said as he surreptitiously pocketed it. Then he waved me on.