Long bus ride, no TP or AC, and a leaking roof – but still having fun!

Monday February 2nd ~ Driving to Bulawayo and Natural History Museum

Looking out the front window on our bus as we go down the highway in Zimbabwe

Looking out the front window on our bus as we go down the highway in Zimbabwe

Today was one of those days that are necessary, but not particularly enjoyable. We spent a large part of the day on our small tour bus driving from our hotel near Victoria Falls to Bulawayo.

This is where our tour guide’s (Brian) mother lives and he is excited to see her.

With little or poor air-conditioning, and rather cramped quarters, we welcomed any stops along the way to be able to get out and stretch our legs, use the toilet, and get a quick beverage or snack.

When traveling abroad, one quickly learns to keep extra toilet paper and hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse as often restrooms are far from “western” standards. In fact we would celebrate if the toilet stalls had doors (locks were a bonus), toilet paper, flushed, and/or there was soap to wash our hands with. Towels to dry your hands on were almost nonexistent. 

Here we are at one of our stops, taking our time before loading back on the bus:

Our tour bus that holds 20 in our group plus our guide and driver

Our tour bus that holds 20 in our group plus our guide and driver

Finally we arrive at our destination, Bulawayo.

Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe

We were broken up into two groups for a guided tour through what is billed as one of the best museums in Southern Africa. The museum is divided into several distinct sections. The ground floor showcases the immense variety of animals, reptiles and birds, including the second largest African elephant. (Just FYI, the largest is in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.)

One of the displays at the National Museum - Birds of Prey

One of the displays at the Natural Museum – Birds of Prey

Other sections include the geology area that covers the vast mineral wealth, and the paleontology section for prehistoric life forms.

The upper floor includes exhibits on the development of man from rock art up through the more modern colonial period, as well as an invertebrate gallery.

Bust of King Mz

Bust of King Mzilikazi

King Mzilikazi is considered by some to be one of the greatest military leaders of Africa, second only to the Zulu king, Shaka.

Our itinerary showed us staying at the Flame Lily Lodge, but a last-minute change was made and we checked in to the Mpala Boutique Hotel instead.

Mpala Boutique Hotel

Mpala Boutique Hotel

On first impression our room was OK, and certainly would be comfortable enough for a couple of nights. The staff was very pleasant and helpful. What we had not planned on was a HUGE thunder and rainstorm that night, that resulted in us putting out pots to catch the leaks in our ceiling, water running down the walls, and putting our suitcases up in the closet, instead of on the floor to keep our clothes from getting wet.

Thankfully Tim and I have gotten pretty good at going with the flow. Seeing the differences and embracing (most of) the things that make that location different or unique is a big part of the travel experience. If we wanted everything to be just as it is in the USA, we should just stay home.

Sadly one of our tour members has not been feeling well for several days and has decided to go home early.

Gratitude Moment: Today I am once again grateful for so many of the comforts we take for granted here at home, especially toilet paper, clean running water, and toilets that flush. I’m also grateful that arrangements have been made to get Verene home. It must be frightening to be in pain, and so far away from home. I have not had any news, but am certainly hoping that by the time this is published she is fully recovered.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
This entry was posted in Africa, Zimbabwe and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Long bus ride, no TP or AC, and a leaking roof – but still having fun!

  1. Marie says:

    Wow. I hope you dried out. 🙂 Was the museum as good as the it was supposed to be?


    • Marie, honestly I found it interesting, but not a wow, probably due to being rushed.
      The animal exhibits were impressive, and I’m sorry we did not have time to adequately spend in some of the other area. Museums are so hard to do on guided tours as they are not for everyone. I am the type that wants to read everything and see each display. The time constraints do not allow that. I have to simply be OK with getting a taste or visit a museum on my own time where I can wander to my hearts content.


      • Marie says:

        I understand completely. I just returned from a group tour to Sri Lanka and I would have loved to have spent more time in some of the temple complexes we visited but the bus waits for no one. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Shoshana Magdieli says:

    Joanne you amazing …Keep sending! Where are you planning your next trip? All the best Shoshana Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:11:03 +0000 To: smagdieli@msn.com


    • Shoshana, we are looking at some other Gate 1 tours, but have not booked anything yet. Wish list is long, but near the top includes more of SE Asia (Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore), Egypt, Isreal, Jordan, and South America (Brazil, Iguazu Falls, Argentina) as well as Equador and the Amazon area. We also are actively looking for a motor home for more road trips right here in the USA. I love our National Parks and still have many I have not seen. Also want more time in Western Canada. Haha, I somehow don’t think we will get to all of these places THIS year though.


  3. Just the idea of being there would be so exciting! Not your typical vacation!! Awesome!


  4. Aunt Beulah says:

    You sound like such sane, common-sense travelers. It would be fun to be on a tour with you.


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