St Augustin

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Who lives sees much, who travels sees more.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A - Z Challenge - Z is for Zimbabwe. Must be the end of the line, huh?

Well here is my last post for the A - Z Challenge. I hope you've enjoyed the travel posts. Not literary enough for some I feel, but writing can be about travel too. We can therefore broaden our minds as we visit and mix with people from other lands and cultures. For those of you who have followed me on my travel blog, I hope you will continue to visit and read my posts which are usually on a weekly basis...A warm thank you to you all!!!!!!!

Deepest darkest Africa has always called explorers, traders and powerful figures who have raped this country and at times stolen its heart and soul. It has always carried a mystique from the earliest stories related in history class of Doctor Livingstone, the Victoria Falls, the Congo, the Sahara.

The Victoria Falls

One of my favourite books on Africa is Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad which really had an effect on me. When I saw the movie Apocolypse Now all I could think of was - another river, another time, but some things remain the same.


Foggy morning in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe

Size 390,580 sq km , slightly larger than Montana, US. The terrain is mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld) and mountains in the east of the country. The climate is basically tropical but moderated by altitude and there is a rainy season (November to March). The lowest point in Zimbabwe is at the junction of the Runde and Save rivers at 162 m , its highest point is Inyangani at 2,592 m. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country. The Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zambia; in full flood (February-April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world's largest curtain of falling water.


African children heading to school in Harare

Just under 13 million people live in Zimbabwe. Life expectancy is around 36 years. Birth rate is on average 3.5 per woman. 25% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS. Literacy rate is just over 90%.


English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele) and numerous but minor tribal dialects.

Ethnic Groups:

African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%.


Syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%.

Political History:

The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favoured whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more complete voting rights for the black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980.

Tribal healers in Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe, the nation's first prime minister, has been the country's only ruler (as president since 1987) and has dominated the country's political system since independence. His chaotic land redistribution campaign begun in 2000 caused an exodus of white farmers, crippled the economy, and ushered in widespread shortages of basic commodities. Ignoring international condemnation, Mugabe rigged the 2002 presidential election to ensure his reelection. Opposition and labor groups launched general strikes in 2003 to pressure Mugabe to retire early; security forces continued their brutal repression of regime opponents.

Economic Overview:

The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles with an unsustainable fiscal deficit, an overvalued exchange rate, soaring inflation, and bare shelves. Its 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. Badly needed support from the IMF has been suspended because of the country's failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 133% at the end of 2004, while the exchange rate fell from 24 Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar to 6,200 in the same time period. The government's land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs.

Sunset in Zimbabwe

I know I didn't have to convince you this is a beautiful country. I've not visited yet, but anyone who goes comes back with stories of wonder.

Is Africa calling you?

My next trip is to Africa, but to the north, Morocco. I am going to see the Sahara, though.

Information Source: CIA World Factbook

Photos courtesy of WorldAtlasofTravel.


Melissa Bradley said...

I have always dreamed of going to Africa. It is such a vibrant continent with so much to see. Thank you for sharing this information on Zimbabwe. I'm so glad we connected. Thank you also for all your comments and following my blog. I still have six letters to go on this challenge, but I'm determined to finish. :)

sue said...

Congratulations on completing the challenge. Celebrations are in order! I've just noticed you did Ypres, I must read that one (I haven't managed to real all your posts), I've also been, hadn't planned to, but oh, gosh it was amazing, and I'm so glad I did. Sue@JumpingAground (Alliteration & drabbles)
Sue@traverselife(Workplace bullying)

Laura Eno said...

I haven't been anywhere in Africa yet, but I'd like to.
It is so sad to see the familiar pattern around the world of countries who fight for independence, only to jump into the fire with a new government which proves to be even worse.

Clarissa Draper said...

COngrats for doing wonderful posts on such a challenging challenge. I thought that it was pollution and not fog on one of those photos but I just love the falls.

N. R. Williams said...

You did an amazing job explaining the issues in this country. I knew there were problems but wasn't certain of the source.

My Z post is up. I boo booed because I forgot to schedule it.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Duncan D. Horne said...

I've enjoyed all of your posts, it's been a very informative month!

Duncan In Kuantan

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Denise, we did it! Congratulations! I have an award for you!!

Dawn Embers said...

Ah yes, Africa. That's a great choice. I wish I could see the Falls but doubt I'll ever make it to Africa. My uncle has probably gone there but he travels to hunt in other countries. My step-grandfather's parents went to Africa once but it was in one of the norther places, on a second mission they did together. I still have the little elephant and other trinket they gave me.

The challenge is over. Woot! Excellent job with the blog posts all month long.

Anonymous said...

Africa has always intrigued me and continues to do so. I read Heart of Darkness many years ago, and now, after scrolling through this wonderful final A to Z post, I want to read it again!

I hope you get to Africa one day. Wouldn't that be awesome!

p.s. I see you've posted my memoir on your sidebar. Thank you SO much! They keep changing the release date, but now it's May sometime as posted on their website. I don't think they'll change that again since they've now signed me off with their editor and have put me with the sales/distribution manager. Yay!

Ann Best, Memoir Author

Karen Peterson said...

I long to see Africa and Zimbabwe has been high on my list for years. Beautiful!

Aishah said...

Africa is calling. I had never been to Africa and if I ever go, I'll either start in Morocco or down south in South Africa and Namibia.

I read your take on Venice too and yes that glass blowing factory, we fell for the upmarket purchase but what I regretted the most was the amount of time we spent at the factory that took up our time of experiencing other Venice. But all were nice memories. That is all about traveling, the good and the bad make the journey.

L'Aussie said...

Thank you all for your congratulations on finishing this gruelling A - Z journey. I've really enjoyed the research and have learned so much too!


Theres just life said...

Looks like we both ended up in Africa. Though I ended with the Zulu people.

I have had so much fun checking out where you were taking us everyday. It has been a great trip around the world.

Pamela Jo

Ellie said...

Congratulations on making it to the end of the challenge - it's been a fun trip!

Ellie Garratt

J.L. Campbell said...

Sounds like a wonderful place that has many problems. Lovely pictures. Didn't even remember that it was known as Rhodesia before Zimbabwe.

L'Aussie said...

Thanks Ellie and JL. See you around.

Lynda R Young said...

Africa used to call me until I looked into the cost of travelling there. Youch!

baygirl32 said...

you hit the nail on the head with this one. This has been my number 1 travel destination for as long as I remember (I just keep going home instead) one day though...

congrats for making it through the challenge, and thanks for taking me on your worldly travels and teaching me a bunch along the way

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

My most favourite country in all the world, well it was when it was called Rhodesia :-) Diane

L'Aussie said...

Lynda, along with Russia, it is so expensive to travel there from Oz.

baygirl: Thanks.

Diane: A sad place now but let's hope they see a resurgence too.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Horray for making the challenge. Denise you did an AMAZING job with your around the world posts. Always informative and beautiful.

I learned so much about other countries. Thanks for the amazing amount of time an effort you put into each one.


notesfromnadir said...

Stunning, simply stunning! Oh how magnificent Victoria Falls looks! :)

Joyce Lansky said...

You sure did your research. Well done and congrats on completing the A-Z Challenge.


L'Aussie said...

Michael: Glad you made it over. Thanks for visiting during the challenge. I loved doing the research. I'm really a travel writer at heart.

Lisa: Thank you for your support during the challenge. Aren't they gorgeous!

Joyce: Thank you. I enjoyed it. Thanks for coming by.


Laurie Peel said...

I know the A-Z is over, but I'm still working my way through the list trying to "meet" everyone. I love to travel (who doesn't?) and have enjoyed reading your posts. Especially Roma - I was there in 2006 and your post brought back some great memories. Africa's been calling me since I was a kid. One day I'll make it to Egypt to see the pyramids.

My blog is at please visit, and if you do be sure to leave a comment. Thanks!

astrid said...

Hello Denise,
I lived for thirteen years in Africa, three in Somalia before the war, then nearly ten in Ghana where I ended up giving birth (almost alone!) to my fourth child with my Ghanaian photographer partner! Some of the things we all lived through emerge in my short stories, which I talk about on my blog http// if you'd like to have a look.
Living in a place is very different from travelling through, and certainly provides a lot of writing material! best, catherine:

Arlee Bird said...

Congratulations on making it through the alphabet with such a unique and informative approach. The Challenge of making blog rounds was far greater than posting the daily topics and, alas, I will never get through all of it, but I am trying to make it through what I can.

Have a great summer of travels!

Tossing It Out

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