Its Friday in Bulawayo and In the pitch black pre-dawn I'm lying in bed listening to the soft, steady rain falling. The ground-shaking rumblings of tropical scale thunder first woke me, like the sound of someone trundling a huge wooden cart down the bumpy road, and the light bulb flashes on the palm trees seemed to go on for hours before the first, gentle drops of rain finally splashed onto the tiles outside my window.
This, I'm told, is how it's been for weeks here, since the drought broke, with torrential rain falling day after day.
Until Wednesday when I arrived to this glorious dawn in Johannesburg.
My first full day here in Bulawayo was the same, sunny and warm, perfect for a bit of bush-bashing in the Matopo hills.
So off we went, my quilting friend Wendi and I, a couple of chicks in a 4 wheel drive, with our cameras, a picnic lunch and a healthy sense of adventure. Wendi is a local so I was in good hands.
This wasn't quite the adventure I had in mind, but roadblocks are a fact if life in this country. We were stopped three times in my first 24 hours here.
The rains have greened up the countryside and filled the dams, but made some of the dirt roads impassable, so there was a fair bit of backing up.
We eventually made to the Rhodes Matopos National Park where we climbed the huge granite outcrop of World's View.
Wendi tells me those grasses have sprung up from the crevices in the rock just since the rains.
The view from the top was spectacular and well worth the climb.
Cecil Rhodes is buried here, his grave surrounded by nature's own sentinels, huge marble shaped rocks that seem to balance precariously.
I haven't edited the colours in these photos so the rich, warm tones of the splashes of bright yellow and orange lichen that you can see covering the rock are true to life.
World's View is home to these amazingly coloured lizards too! I think he's known as platysaurus intermedius rhodesianus, the Matopo Lizard.
Later we sat under a shady tree by the overflowing Maleme Dam and ate cold chicken in our fingers.
We were blessed to have such perfect weather for going bush yesterday, but now the rain is back. Never mind, it's all part of the rich African experience and I'm relishing every moment.
Have I seen any wild animals yet? Of yes! But that will have to wait for another day 😊