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Pole to Pole

Day 122: Bulawayo to the Soutpansberg Mountains

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleUp at six o'clock to pack and leave Bulawayo for our last African country. The next cities of any size on the line south will be Pretoria and Johannesburg in South Africa.

It all seems to be happening fast now. We can travel long distances on these straight tarmac roads and there are few diversions on the way. Today we are aiming to move another 400 miles closer to the Pole.

7.15. Bulawayo bus station. For a republic founded and led by an avowed Marxist, Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe displays a healthy respect for private enterprise. Among the innumerable bus companies are Sun-Shine Coaches, Hit-Man Buses, the Hwange Special Express and the magnificently titled Dubies Megedleni Omnibus Service. The buses are circled by salesmen with travel-aids of every description from Afro-combs to balls of string with which to tie up baggage.

Lunchtime: After a long and uneventful morning's drive by bus and minibus across monotonous miles of dry bush, we have reached Beitbridge, a nondescript frontier town whose most recent claim to fame was an appearance in the film Cry Freedom, for it was the crossing-point where Donald Woods escaped South Africa dressed as a priest. (In Bible-booming southern Africa I can see that this was the perfect disguise to choose.)
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 122
  • Country/sea: Zimbabwe
  • Place: Beitbridge
  • Book page no: 272

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