#Throwback My parents inspired this trip for me. Over 15 years ago, my parents embarked on a journey to Durban to get their new cars. Together, they drove from Durban to Harare in their own cars – Nissan Sunny. I was too young to understand what was going on. To be honest, I probably wasn’t told but there were pictures to show the trip. I remember them vividly and I imagined the day I would take my own road trip like that. Well, the day came – I drove from Beitbridge to Harare.
I took the bus from Harare to the border post and it was a smooth ride on the Greyhound Dreamliner. Having had one of the worst experiences with a bus service a few years ago, I was haunted by the idea of taking the service but considering the journey I had to endure by myself, I had to take the most luxurious option. And yes, it was the definition of comfort, bliss and heaven on wheels. This is how you are supposed to travel.
Beitbridge is a small town at the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. A spacious town with a small population of donkeys meandering through the town. A familiar sight for the locals but for me, being the tourist that I am, I was in awe of their freedom to run the streets. The town didn’t seem to sleep. I arrived at 04h00 and there was activity of some sort until I left. I guess being the last town of a country there is no time to be asleep.
I began my journey at around 10h00 aiming to be back in Harare by the time the sun set. The plan was to drive for 3hrs and take a break in Masvingo. Ha! That plan went sideways after an hour when the cramps started. Long distance driving wasn’t the problem, I had failed to adjust my seat. So my breaks were more frequent than planned. No worries, I took the opportunity to explore my country.
I stopped at an establishment just inside the province of Masvingo which was tranquil. Hoping to find directions, small talk and a drink, I walked into the place and struck up a conversation with the people there. With the friendly nature of Zimbabweans, I got to chat about the establishment, the area and most importantly, Great Zimbabwe. The lodge was beautifully set in a drunkard mess of trees, fallen leaves and sculptures. It was located just off the main road allowing for travelers to spend the night before they head back on the road. What I like about the place was the setting. It felt warm, welcoming and perfect for sleeping.
I continued my journey up the centre of Zimbabwe coming across cows, monkeys, police and baobab trees. I came across one of the most amazing baobab trees I had seen on my journey. The great thing about this tree is that I could spot it in the distance and when I laid my eyes on this mesmerising plant, I knew I had to take a picture with it. With my eyes focused on the baobab tree and my heart set in its roots, I wasn’t ready for what was on the road – a roadblock. The excitement washed away from me in an instant and the beauty of the tree could not be captured, and it is now, a distant memory.
The journey consisted of periodic breaks which were both annoying and necessary. The car handled well making the journey less stressful. The places I stopped, I took the pictures that I could. Some were great and majestic whilst others were the illusion of juiced up driver. I only left Masvingo at 17h30 and this city is the midpoint between Beitbridge and Harare. The plan was to be in Harare at this time. I was only halfway there. To avoid getting to Harare at midnight, I had to travel the last 3 hours without a break. It was dark, no lighting and I wanted to go home – these were factors that really motivated me.
So I drove.
I preferred this period of the trip. Everything seemed more at peace. I was listening to music and rapping. Dropping bars and daydreaming of what my rap career would have been like. Catching the beauty of the lights as I was driving through towns and cities, and in some of those towns, I could see men sharing a beer or two. I wish I could have joined them but home was calling. I took in what I could, remembered what stuck out the most during my journey, just in case I were to journey back during the day. In Zimbabwe’s darkness, there was a sense of tranquility to it.
I eventually arrived home at 21h20 making an 8 – 9 hour journey actually be 11 hours. As crazy as it may be, I would make that journey again, this time, with any able beings. I loved being in the country, seeing how other Zimbabweans live and seeing the things I could never find online. It felt like I was discovering a new area, uncharted territory with a lot to explore.
Will you go on a road trip with me?