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Pole to Pole

Day 122: Bulawayo to the Soutpansberg Mountains

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleAfter a mixed grill at the Beitbridge Inn on the Zimbabwean side, we drive across the Limpopo and into South Africa.

I wish I didn't have to dismiss the crossing of the Limpopo so lightly, for like the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Tanganyika and the Zambesi, the Limpopo is one of the most mysterious and evocative of all African names. I wish I could say I bathed in it (as I did in Lake Tanganyika and the Zambesi) or at least paddled in it, or at least got a little closer to the hippos that wallow in its red and muddy water. But it has suffered the fate of all rivers that become national boundaries - it is a security risk. Nowhere more so than on this border between the white-run economic giant of the south and black Africa to the north. Although apartheid is being rapidly dismantled, the thousands of yards of coiled razor wire, the two ten-foot-high steel mesh fences, the guard-posts and the searchlight towers at twenty-yard intervals remain to guard the Republic of South Africa against the world, and the Limpopo from its fans.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 122
  • Country/sea: Zimbabwe
  • Place: Limpopo River
  • Book page no: 272

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