A very special adventure, filled with much laughter, Friends of Hwange Trust feels privileged to have been chosen as the conservation recipient of the funds generated from the Classic Car Safari. Superbly organised by Taylors Africa in early May, what a fun ride it was! Starting in Bulawayo, travelling through Hwange National Park and on to the Falls, a Friends of Hwange team was seconded to assist with various tasks along the way.
Most of the participating classic cars were trucked to Bulawayo and all had arrived safely in time for the start of the Safari. Buzzing excitement, glitz and glamour
set the scene at the smart black-tie dinner held at the Bulawayo Club to kick off the event. The Club is an imposing building filled with beautiful vintage and antique treasures, and once inside its hallowed halls, history seeps through the atmosphere. Guests were greeted by smiling waiters handing out glasses of Prosecco while participants and supporters mingled to chat until the 120+ year-old gong was struck summoning everyone into dinner. A sumptuous three-course meal followed during which Charles Taylor welcomed all the guests and Dave Dell spoke briefly of the work Friends Of Hwange does and the need for a larger tractor.
Six o'clock on Thursday morning saw the FOH team waiting at the Falls Road garage on the edge of town together with various back up vehicles, assistants,
photographers and videographers, an efficient, ever-
smiling team of mechanics and two paramedic vehicles
adding to the mix. The FOH team split up with one car proceeding to Main Camp to deal with National Parks payments while the other two vehicles assisted Charles in backing up participants en route. Turning off the Falls Road the pretty, rural, 2-wheel drive track took the teams through Nyamandhlovu to Tjolojo and Sipepa then on to Lupane to rejoin the Bulawayo to Falls road to Main Camp.
Party-mode was the order of the day and even included, along the way, was a group of local village children that happily joined in the merriment. The 4x4 vehicles, led by Piers Taylor, travelled through parts of Hwange National Park encountering numerous extremely sandy challenges.
Six o'clock was the start time again on Friday for the long day's drive through to Robins Camp. Park's indemnity forms were signed as teams were checked seamlessly through the Main Camp gate. A few vehicles needing serious mechanical work were delayed as were some of the drivers that had a little trouble getting up on time!! Several dress-up outfits worn by various teams each day added a classic, fun element.
Sightings of elephant, buffalo, impala, warthog, zebra, wildebeest, sable antelope, kudu and lion as well as a fleeting glimpse of a leopard were reported along the
way. The FOH team caught up with twenty or more vehicles at Masuma Dam where needless to say the mood was very festive! However, the merry party was forced to break up soon after that as there was still some way to go to complete the day's drive.
Folks staying at Robins Camp gathered outside the main restaurant and bar area to enjoy an evening sundowner and watch the magnificent sunset from the newly restored Robins Camp watchtower. Most of the campers retired early to bed but quite a few stalwarts staying in the cottages continued to party long into the night.
The drive through to Victoria Falls the next day was leisurely and relaxed and
the 4x4 route in particular passed through some beautiful, scenic forests.
A glorious sunset cruise was arranged for the evening on the great Zambezi River
which was flowing very fast thanks to prolific seasonal rains. The final dinner, held at Shearwater Village, included a few short thank you speeches, some entertaining tales of adventures experienced along the way
and various prizes awarded for fun exploits. A live band and dancing were a fitting end to a fabulous Safari.
High accolade must go to Charles and Bernie of Taylors Africa for their meticulous attention to detail that made this year's event a cracking success and such fun for everyone involved.
Thanks too to Zim Parks, especially the staff at Main Camp, for their co-operation and assistance.
Finally, grateful appreciation to all the participants for such generous support of Friends of Hwange. Courtesy of Taylors Africa, every person contributed to our cause. Many items on our 'wish list' have been covered in cash and in kind, and we're a step closer to obtaining a much needed more powerful tractor. If anyone still feels able to support us, please contact Dave - he'll gladly assist.
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