Bless The Rains Down In Africa

October here in Zimbabwe is hot; they call it Suicide Month as temperatures often soar up into the high 40’s, and let me tell you, it’s not fun at all trying to sleep in a room that’s still 40 degrees at midnight. Admittedly, I still prefer this to the mid 30’s and ridiculous humidity of Central London (especially on the Underground), but I was looking forward to the onset of the Rainy Season.

The view from the bar area, the shutters down to keep the wind and rain out

Zimbabwe hasn’t had it’s full proper rains for a couple of years now, which has thrown a lot of things out of whack in drought situations, so a common sentiment with the locals is the wish that it’ll rain properly. As a Brit, I’m used to October and November being quite wet months anyway, and the situation of having more than seven consecutive rainless days was quite an alien concept. So it was with a mixture of delight and relief that I sat in the office, watching grey skies darken and thunder roll in the distance, echoing off the gorge. 

I’m used to rain, as all Brits are, but the ferocity of the near-monsoon downpour still floored me. Many of the palms were at a greater than 45 degree angle in the wind, and lightning flashed all around with the deafening staccato boom of thunder punctuating the endless howl of the winds. I stood out in it and was soaked in moments. I loved it.

Torrential rain soaks the reception area

Just south east of the Lodge is the entrance to the Dibhu-dibhu Gorge, named after the river that joins the Lower Zambezi there. Debbie and I took a quick drive up in the Land Cruiser as she wanted me to see the river and falls in full flow.

The Dibhu-dibhu River

Clambering down the rocks, I could see the falls in the distance as torrents of water raged down through the pools crashing against the rocks and tumbling into the gorge below.

As amazing as the view was, Debbie told me to follow the path onward, down to the river banks where there was usually a crossing point, so I did. The path wound through bushland and over rocks, the ground soft and sodden, marked with trails of footprints from the Lodge staff walking barefoot through the mud as is their way.

When I got there, I was gobsmacked at the ferocity of the river. I witnessed an entire tree amongst the flotsam and jetsam being hauled away down river as if it were a bundle of twigs.

Arriving back at Debbie, I found that tree caught on the rocks below.

The Dibhu-dibhu joins the Lower Zambezi at the right of the picture, with an astonishing contrast between the two waters

Back at the lodge, however, I was astonished at how calm the Lower Zambezi was compared to the raging Dibhu-dibhu. The name Dibhu-dibhu means “the sound of thunder” and that day I understood why.


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