The journey from Victoria Falls to Harare took almost 12 hours long. We started at 5 AM and reached in the evening. On road, I had an opportunity to see the Bata Factory. Bata, as I noticed, is quite popular in Africa. They have huge showrooms in Kenya as well as a huge factory on route to Harare. I was very keen to take a tour of the factory compound as Bata was my father’s favourite brand. The HR person for Bata did not give me permission to go inside the factory but allowed me to take photos from the outside. Here is my two-bit knowledge about Bata. “Bata is one of the oldest brands in India and old people wear Bata as they feel it to be strong, durable and at the same time, good value for money. However, the modern and younger generation do not wear Bata and them to be boring and not trendy or hip enough.” The stop did me good as at least I got a flavour of the plant and the people working there.
The other amazing thing that happened on the way was a bushfire. We managed to cross a huge bushfire which, I think, had been set off naturally. I clicked away as the huge flame lapped up the yellow straw like grass in the fields giving out crackling sound as it swallowed the savannah grass.
We moved on and at Harare, another fiasco happened. When I went to take out dollars from The Barclays Bank ATM, my travel card was gobbled up by the machine. It was no fault of mine, I assure you. The bank was closed and I was told to come back the next day to collect my card. With a midnight flight to Uganda, this was impossible. Fortunately, I had my spare travel card but it needed to be topped up before I could use it. I was making do with my credit card so far.
The other thing to note about Zimbabwe is that as they don’t have a currency of their own, Echo Cash is something that is popular in this part of the world. Basically, Echo Cash is the usage of mobile technology to pay your bills. Therefore, only select ATMs spit out cash and one have to make a lot of effort to find them.
I am at Nairobi currently, ready to take off to Entebbe and that will be another journey. I am looking forward to exploring the Gorillas and of course, I am staying in the house of my dear friend, Alok Basal, who along with his lovely wife, Ankita, have invited me over. So my accommodation is taken care of at least. The rest I will post as I get to Uganda.