25.09.2009 - 26.09.2009
Sadly, i was rapidly running out of time and could only spare a few days in Zimbabwe. And in that time and without transport, it was pretty much impossible to visit either of the 2 places I really wanted to: Mana Pools National Park (the only National Park in Africa where you can walk around on your own amongst the animals) and the ruins at Great Zimbabwe.
And so i just pottered around Harare. I had chance to get over my culture shock, to enjoy people watching, browse the handicraft markets (the cheapest i have come across so far in Africa) and take in an excellent local play called 'Heal the Wounds' about the electoral violence and truth and reconciliation that came later: the very fact that such a play was even allowed to be shown is a great sign - Such a critical look of the government and other parties would have been ruthlessly clamped down and banned only months ago.
But I realised that Zimbabwe and Harare still had a long way to go on a visit to the Tourist Information office in the city. I stumbled across the building by accident, the staff seemed surprised to have a visitor, and the locals I had been staying with were amazed that such a place even existed: They had had no idea at all that it did. The staff were friendly, if bored, but what really did it for me was that the most interesting and prominently displayed leaflet (and there were not many) was produced by the City of Harare Water & Sanitation Department. And explained all about its Sewage Management program.
Only in Africa can Sewage Management be the item with the most information in the Tourist centre of the nations capital.