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Thursday, May 9, 2013

From Mike Watson - beware thieves in national parks

A friend and I have just returned from Chimanimani, having climbed Binga and surrounds, what was meant to be a fairly strenuous but pleasant trip to the mountains ended up leaving a real sour taste in our mouths and a dent in our pocket .
Prior to going to the summit of Kweza we camped the night next to the river blow it and left the next morning, at no stage did we see any people, only signs of panning all the way along the river.
As we have done in the past we hid  our main packs  and took only the bare essentials to the top.
On our return around midday we found that all of our kit had been stolen and we now had to make our way from Kweza to the national parks office given we had no sleeping gear, food etc .” The Hut” which many people know, has no water as the pump is broken and quite honestly looks like it is becoming a dumping ground for any hikers refuse.
Suffice to stay that we made it back to the National Parks office before dark  and on reporting the incident was told that this was a first incident of its kind and they would send a ranger to the area!!
In conclusion it is obvious that we were observed from the time we arrived on the plateau and the thieves  are probably illegal panners.
The lesson learnt here is that there are thieves watching anyone entering the area so take special care of your kit and if allowed to continue in this way I can see camping out at night could result in even more brazen acts of theft or maybe violence if you do not keep your wits about you.
If you feel this is worth passing on to your readers please do so.
One positive from the trip was that we spent a night at the Chimanimani Hotel where for $50.00 we had a great room and breakfast coupled with excellent service and courtesy.
Mike Wilson

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