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Isla de Mozambique – Part 2

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Anyway, we arrived at the house to be met by the three guests already there. Jamie is a sort of “Monarch of the Glen” in that he has just inherited an estate with a “bijou” castle, which he hopes to restore to its former glory. Unlike Archie of the TV series, I suspect he is a lot brighter and probably wealthier though perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing to the feminine eye. With him was his brother Rob, who does up houses in Sri Lanka and who speaks Portuguese, having lived in Brazil for a while. The third chap was Peter, a friend of Jamie and also from Scotland, who used to work for the UN in various situations. He presented some interesting insights into the moral irresponsibility and ineptitude of that august body. Peter had also spent a few years working in Zimbabwe for the Camp Fire (game conservation) project in Guruve in the mid-nineties. He remembered discussing dhow safaris with my brother a few years back. All three were thoroughly nice blokes and good company. Read more…

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Isla de Mozambique – Part 1

February 16, 2011 Leave a comment

In May 2004 I was visiting Zimbabwe. This is an edited version of a journal I wrote at the time for the ‘benefit’ of friends and relatives, who purported to have an interest in my activities.

On Saturday, I was having elevenses with, Hugo and Molly in Harare. While I was there, Molly got a call from Tomas a mutual friend who had various properties and businesses around Southern Africa, including a villa on Isla de Mozambique to which he was inviting them to visit. Molly told Tomas that Hugo would not be able to take the time off as he had too much work to do, and added rather unconvincingly, nor could she. However, after a nanosecond, she decided that perhaps she could and suggested that Igo instead of Hugo.(Geddit?) I leaped at the opportunity and so it was agreed that they would pick me up the next morning, Sunday, and we would drive to Charles Prince Airport, where Tomas would meet us.

Charles Prince is the second airport serving Harare and is mostly used by private and small commercial craft. Following the arrival at Harare International airport of a plane full of suspected mercenaries in March, the government has become decidedly paranoid about the prospects of a coup attempt in this country. Consequently it has arranged for the Army to position an armoured car and an anti-aircraft gun at each end of the runway. You can imagine that this is slightly disconcerting for inexperienced pilots who probably give more thought than most to the possibility of an aborted take off. How is the gunner likely to react if he sees an aircraft speeding straight towards him when it should be heading into the sky? With a nervous trigger finger, I suspect. But such considerations on the part of the government would be thinking too far ahead. Read more…

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