How it started. Last month, I read about an A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I fell for it. I love challenges! Every day for the month of April, with the exception of Sundays, I blogged on the theme, Out of Africa.
The name, Zimbabwe, means “Stone Houses”, and the country originally known as Rhodesia has taken over this name. However, for many of us who spent our childhood years in this country, the Zimbabwe Ruins, now often known as Great Zimbabwe, was a place of great majesty and mystery. Once upon a time, it was the residence of the Zimbabwean monarch and his people in ancient days.
I grew up in Gwelo, Rhodesia (now Gweru, Zimbabwe) before moving to South Africa in my late teens. Years later, together with our three young children, we spent several years in Salisbury (now Harare), the capital city of Rhodesia.
Whenever we were able to, we traveled to Gwelo to spend time with my parents who still lived in my childhood home. Rich green lawns with lots of space for playing, a beautiful rose garden, and a swimming pool, made it an ideal retreat for us, and the children loved to spend time at Granny and Grandpa’s home.
The day before writing this, my husband and I were in the Addo National Park. It was clearly baby season in the warthog family, and it was no surprise to learn that the Warthog is one of the least endangered species of African animals. Everywhere we looked, we spotted warthogs and their offspring grazing alongside elephants, buck, and other animals.
I saw the Victoria Falls for the first time when I was twelve-years-old, en route from Rhodesia to the U.K. with my parents in a propeller-driven airplane. But before I saw the falls, I heard them from my bedroom in the Victoria Falls Hotel. The loud thundering in the background initially scared me. How could a mere waterfall make so much noise?
When the “New South Africa” dawned, I was working as an RN in a busy hospital. The superintendent organized a speaker to lecture us on the subject of African Culture. What an eye-opener it was to many of us. Although we had lived most of our lives in this country, there were traditions we knew nothing about, and some we even considered wrong.
Think of Africa and you’ll picture trees. Dense forests, tangled jungles, animals feeding from the branches while others scavenge around the roots, snakes weaving through the undergrowth, and predators resting on branches; it’s all Africa. There are hundreds of species of trees here, some of them unique to this vast continent.
In a few weeks time, my brother and sister-in-law are embarking on the trip of a lifetime.
For approximately four months, they will travel overland from their home in Johannesburg, South Africa, to the Serengeti Plains of Africa and then home again. During that time they hope to drive through nine different African countries, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique.