Over the past couple of weeks, I have done a fair bit of travelling around the South and Eastern part of the country. I ended up seeing one of our (Softrite Payroll) clients in Chiredzi late on Thursday afternoon. The heat in that part of the world is a little overwhelming, to say the least, so just as well I had great Air Conditioning in my overnight B&B.
I had a few emails to follow up on in the morning, so only left town just before 9 am. The petrol attendant told me they did not accept US$ so I had to swipe to refuel – 99.99 cents a litre. The first 300km was great – driving along decent roads with a wonderful variety of flora and fauna. There was a light drizzle for the first hour and stray cattle/goats around every corner so I had to drive with a little more “Due care and attention” than normal.
It was only when reached Chivhu that “the fun” started. It took me over 4 hours to drive that last 150km! Just after Featherstone, they have opened up the first 5km of the new wide tar – the long term plan is to emulate this for the whole 540km stretch from Beitbridge to Harare and then 340km onto Chirundu. The patience test comes when you have to traverse the 15km detour just before Beatrice – along dusty roads on a hot summer’s day with very few drivers showing the gentlemanly manners we had to exhibit before drivers licences were passed way back in 1967! Most of yesterday’s drivers seemed like they had, what one lady recently explained to me, was the “Kwe Kwe” licence.
One thing that struck me most on this trip was the numerous car wrecks left lying in the ditches and bushes alongside the road. You can tell those accidents that have only just happened – they are the ones that have not been “Asset Stripped!” – still have (Most) wheels, doors and windows – the rest just the very basic frame – left to rust in the open vlei.
The worst part of my trip occurred when I hit the Friday afternoon at 4pm rush hour traffic just before the Chitungwiza Roundabout – the term “Complete chaos “ would be a huge understatement. It’s not much fun when you are stuck between a couple of large trucks with impatient Kombi drivers showing a complete lack of concern for their fellow travellers. Needless to say, I did not turn down that cold frosty Zambesi when I finally touched home base a long time later.
Bottom line is “Leave home early and avoid that stretch of road unless you absolutely have to travel that way – from the short stretch of new road that is now open we are destined to have a magnificent new highway once complete. Don’t spare the horses. Ciao Mike G.
PS my apologies for sending out one of my few negative emails but sometimes I feel it is necessary!