Real man uses worms

15 06 2021

Only in Africa do you find signs such as this. I presume the proprietor was referring to the common use of fishing lures and that real men wouldn’t dream of using anything but his earthworms, but I didn’t stop to find out. I was on the way to Mana Pools Game Park in the Zambezi Valley and I was keen to get there.

It was another 41/2 hours along the somewhat hazardous main road to Zambia before I finally arrived and could relax a bit. A lot of the heavy traffic has now diverted via the new Kazangula bridge that links Botswana and Zambia above the Victoria Falls but one still needs to be quick-witted for over-bearing heavy trucks and wheel-rim bending potholes.

I arrived at “Stretch” (real name Andy) Ferreira’s camp on the edge of the Zambezi just as he and a guest were heading out for the afternoon game drive. He’s been working in the Zambezi Valley and Mana Pools area for some 30 years and promises close up encounters with a lot of the game. Many of the elephants have been given names and know his voice. Under absolutely NO CIRCUMSTANCES should inexperienced people approach elephants like you see in some of these photos (it’s also illegal to do so without a licenced guide).

Four nights later, refreshed and relaxed, I was ready to brave the road back to Harare.





Mana Pools National Park – taking a break

30 07 2019

We were fortunate recently to be invited to Stretch Ferreira Safaris by the owner himself. I know him from school and he’d extended the kind invitation a while ago and it turned out they had a slack 3 nights at the end of July and could fit us in. The camp is in a prime spot on the edge of the Zambezi River in Mana Pools National Park in the far north-west of Zimbabwe.

It’s certainly Zimbabwe’s glamour national park and not without good reason. The trees are massive, the game is plentiful (usually) and one can camp right on the banks of the big river. Hippos grunt and splash the night away and sunbathe in the day. In summer it’s oppressively hot but winter is cold at night and warm during the day and dry, which is discouraging for the tsetse flies and mosquitoes.

This last season the park had received very poor rains so there was no grass close to the river and a lot of animals had moved off to find better grazing (the browsers were less affected but a lot of tree leaves were out of reach so they’d also moved off). Still, it was a great break from the stresses of Zimbabwean life, absolutely no cellphone reception and we had a great time. Stretch (real name Andrew) promises to get his clients up close and personal with the elephants that he’s known for many years and he didn’t disappoint. Most of the bigger males have names; JB who’s very chilled, The Donald (Trump) who’s bad tempered and Boris (Johnson) who’s a bit of a clown.