Staying with Ross + Kim Baxter just beyond Norton
Distance 96 + 8461 = 8557
Time 5 h 23 m
Total from Amsterdam 13957
Location S17.995896, E30.57159
We bade a fond farewell to Scruff and Jan at 08h13 and with not a cloud in the sky nor a breath of wind and at an altitude of about 1580 metres, freewheeled down the driveway, out the gate. I had to push up the short hill, then another freewheel to Enterprise road. Saw our first African Totem pole at Ananzi, they also had a billboard that advertised ‘Friday Fresh Food Fair’ … looks interesting.
We decided to ride through Harare city centre. Loads of people warned us about the unruly drivers but it was nowhere near as bad as Lusaka, the worst being Nairobi, then Khartoum. Evidently around the taxi rank area it’s total chaos. We were impressed with the general state of Harare and the overall impression is that it looks a lot better than other African cities we’ve ridden through … mostly clean, 80% of traffic lights work, buildings look ok but quite a few blocks of flats look derelict. Two South African estate agents we’ve seen advertising in Harare are Pam Golding and Rawson’s.
Once we got through the city the road became a double carriage highway with a decent shoulder. It’s been pretty flat the whole way with a few crazy minibus taxi drivers and one vehicle towing another, riding on the shoulder … facing the oncoming traffic. At 40 km, 11h30 we stopped in the shade for a sarmie and Peter helped a youngster with his tyre that had a bulge. Just 6 km further we passed the turnoff to Lake Chivero and saw dilapidated green houses not in use for many years. We rode past kilometers of bougainvillea planted as a hedge on the roadside, all battling for survival. Bypassed the town of Norton at 58 km, 12h40 and cruised along until 69 km when Peter felt air blowing on his leg … darn, a puncture.
It was his first puncture in 1800 km since Blessings in Mzuzu, Malawi sorted out the problem of constant punctures … tubes weren’t the correct size. 14h30, Puncture all fixed, now Peter can’t find his water bottle so he’s going to ride back about 8 km. I reckon his bottle has a new owner ?? Sitting on the side of the road in the hot sun waiting for Peter makes me realise that we’re going to have to stop dawdling or else we’ll be peddling in stinking hot weather in Botswana and Namibia. It will be the Zimbabweans fault, they are too friendly and hospitable. Zim folk have been amazing and so far they are way up there on a par with the Sudanese.
We got riding at 15h22 and finally reached the turnoff to Brynn Farm, arriving at the farm house after 300 metres of slip slide soft sand. Ross and Kim have twin daughters, Lexi and Bailey aged +- 5 and a son, Cameron who is around 2. Ross farms tobacco. He told us that Gizmo their black cat is a huge hunter and regularly catches and kills snakes. The last one was a cobra over a metre long that he killed just inside the farm gates then proceeded to drag it out the gate, leaving it there. The labourers saw this happen. Fat cat tabby Roxy is not friendly and if the dogs are having a go at one another, she also climbs into the fray. Had a lovely hot shower, a delicious roast and Malva dessert with blueberries and cream. I dropped my Nalgene bottle yesterday and now have a crack in the base. I super-glued the crack then taped duct tape across and water is no longer leaking. Give Mrs MacGyver a ‘Bells’? Kim kindly replaced Peter’s lost water bottle with one of theirs and gave me a spare one where the pop up pippie had perished and broke off so I’m back to two spare bottles in holders once more. Just as well we’re back on the bikes. Peter transferred books onto a hard drive for Ross. Rather tired so off to bed. Night all xx
– Creative roadside sales
– Dangerous towing against the traffic
– Ross and Kim Baxter with twins Lexi, Bailey and Cameron
– A nurse, Spanish dancer and a regular little fella, the Baxter brood?
– Tobacco bales