Since the last time I wrote, we’ve left Malawi, have driven through Zambia and am currently in Zimbabwe! We didn’t see much of Zambia, and drove through in 2 days.
Our first night in Zambia we had some visitors at our camp site!
Zimbabwe is the 4th or 5th poorest country in Africa (and there are 54 countries!). Due to government problems, their economy completely collapsed years ago, but they’re slowly recovering. Just last year the got their own currency again, but widely accept USD. You can’t get money out of ATM’s though, as they don’t have enough money in the country. You also can’t exchange their currency in any other country, since it’s so new and still unstable. Paying at the grocery store, we paid with dollars but then you get Zimbabwe currency back, but need to use it all before you leave the country.
A few years ago, the grocery store shelves were completely bare – it was too expensive to import products in, and the locals and stores couldn’t afford it. They’re fully stocked now though, but interesting prices. Some things are really cheap – $1.00 for a beer, $.75 for a loaf of bread, $1.50 for a big carton of yogurt, but then other things are really pricey (relatively speaking, if you were a local) – $7.00 for a bottle of shampoo, $7.50 for a bag of shredded cheese, etc.
Once arriving in Zimbabwe, had the option to do a 3 day/2 night houseboat on Lake Kariba. It was expensive, and only half of the group opted to do it, but it was really fun! The rest of the group just stayed at a campsite with the driver, while the tour leader came with us.
The lake is in Matusadona National Park, so we were able to do a few game drives on a smaller boat. We saw crocodiles, hippos, elephants and gazelles.
In the deeper parts of the lake (away from the crocs!) we were able to jump into the water. We went off the second story and the water was so refreshing!
It was someone’s birthday the first day, so we had a costume party for her. Before getting on the boat, we stopped at a market and bought some funny clothes to wear. Fun night!