Zimbabwe: Mbizi game park and Avondale market

(Monday) A relaxing, well deserved day-off. After a packed 10 days, it was great to have a day to explore. We booked a morning at Mbizi game park, a thing you have to do while in Africa.

‘Mbizi’ means zebra in Shona.

After a bumpy, hour long journey, we landed in the game park. As we approached the gates, around us I could see high fences with tall tree and unusual, large rocks fill the area. We were asked many questions before entering into the site, where we parked our car and approached the front desk. The place looked incredible and tranquil with a large, well kept garden, and hatched lodges.

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Next on the itinerary was to explore the game reserve, which we decided to do on a zebra print 4×4. Our guide was driving around the place, stopping at different parts of the area, explaining the different animals. For me this was interesting to experience as my last topic at school was Africa and the children had to apply for a job as a Game Ranger. Seeing a real Game Ranger felt unreal.

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First, we drove around one area of the 1000 arcs of land, trying to keep our eyes pealed for a giraffe. After going in and out and around and through trees, we gave up on that area and zoomed to the open space with Zebras, warthog and Eland. We crept as quietly as you can in a jeep and parked in the middle of them so we could take photos and hear some information on them. While we were still, the animal must have felt our presence and slowly moved away from us.

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Once our game ranger had contacted the other group, who had found the giraffes, we sped off to seek them. We came so close to them in their natural habit, it was amazing.

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As we drove back to the reception area, we passed the water hole. Then we explored the area by foot, where we found an observation desk, a chapel, a kind of swimming pool and lodges as well as a colourful lizard and wandering monkeys. I decided, being me, to sit on the bridge dangling my legs into the water and then plunge most of body into it, getting soaking wet.

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We had a lovely lunch in the game park before leaving.

The whole place a unique experience and the sun was blazing. What more could you want?

When we left, we headed to Avondale market. I love markets. This was an experience. Avondale Flea Market is a large outdoor market under canvas located just behind Avondale shopping market. The moment we stepped towards the market, people were shouting at us. ‘We will do special price for you’, ‘Buy something small from us’, ‘Look at what we have’, ‘ We have been waiting for you’.

The market were full of African ornaments, jewellery, place mats, gadgets, masks, clothes, key rings, gifts and souvenirs, all for a cheap price.

One great thing about markets is bargains and bartering. Everyone wants you to buy from them. If the price is too high, barter, even walk away and they will usually take the price you want. If not, each stall had similar things so you would probably find the same objects further in.

I ended up being in one pressurised situation, which I didn’t like. I was looking for some long shorts (usual item of clothing I get from my different holidays). The guys were helpful, I told them exactly what I wanted and showed me a variety. Some that fit my specification; others that did not. I found a pair that I kind of liked so asked the price -$40 RIDICULOUS. I explained that I usually get mine for the equivalent of $5-$8 (cheap, I know). I bartered hard and they eventually put the price down to $10. They put the shorts in a bag and shoved it in my hand like I had no choice so I did buy them.

I did, however, get loads of bargains and brought some items (not as much as the others) like the shorts, earring, skirt, bracelet, elephant pillow case and a trillion dollar note.

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After, we went to the supermarket to buy food for the three course English meal, and where I brought some gifts and looked at some of the prices of English goods:

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M&M – $8.65

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Quality Street – $13.99

Slightly more expensive than England.

On the way back, we dropped into the Chinese Shop, which was huge with everything you want in. Unfortunately, the majority of Zimbabweans would not be able to afford it in here.

What a jam-backed, lovely day experiencing the African culture!

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