Zimbabwe - House of Stone
Its that nagging moral dilemma that lingers in the minds of potential travellers. If i enter this country am i effectively endorsing the current ruling body, whether that be a shady 'elected' government or a straight out military dictatorship. Am i acknowledging them as a legitimate force? In same way or form, respecting them? The very thought disgusts some travellers. leaves them with a taste of distain in their mouths. So they dont go. Simple.
Other travellers on the flip side may cast these thoughts and reasonings aside and for all god intentions, enter the country believing that their actions will have more or less positive ripple effect on the country and is people. Fair enough. If your a conscious traveller and make attempts to circulate and distribute your money amongst communities and individuals then your intentions for entering that country deserved to be labelled moral in someway.
So there you have it, a traveling moral dilemma. Zimbabwe, where the majority of the nations people have seen living standards drop and where Robert Mugabe resides and rules.
For a start, to travel anywhere is going to require two backpacks or perhaps 3 smaller flashpacks. Due to the worlds highest hyperinflation figures, carrying cash around is going to be awkward. Lets face it, they issued a 100 trillion dollar note. Looooose.
Guys shouldn't hang around too long, Zim has one of the lowest life expectancy rankings in the world, just a mere 44 for males. Not that you'd want to hang around long. Ok theres Victoria Falls, one of the most fascinating waterfalls in the world.
The Zambezi river of course, a major drawcard, famous for its wild roar. A favourite for any rafting enthusiasit out there. One of the more crazier rivers in the world to raft, unfortunately the majority of the best part lies in neighbouring Zambia.
"Been there, done that, got the t-shirt"
And of course, theres the animals.
This is a stunning country, the topography is classic southern africa. A landlocked nation that borders along two of Africa's famous rivers, the bamboozling Zambezi and the limpid and long Limpopo. But it suffers. Zimbabwe suffers from internal bleeding.
The large swaths of rainforest have virtually disappeared. The rule of law is toyed with like a cat and a half dead mouse. Human rights abuses are as commonplace as the bouts of cholera that break out. The government have drained the coffers of the nations wealth and in the process, abused natural resources and abused the human resources, the Zimbabwean people.
The countries recent history is turbulent. I visited when Mugabe first initated the land reform program. It was loco. Quite tense, almost sent the country back into civil war. Its poo control and lack of vision over the entire process has effectively crippled the economy. Perhaps the aims of fairer land distribution were fair, viewed in an objective manner, but the way about which the government and its bands of war vetrans went about it have been the epicentre of conflict ever since Mugabe and the Rhodesian Bush war.
Mugabe has sort to punish and blame the colinizers for most of his countries problems. By no means was Rhodesia a saint of a country, nor its colonial rulers, but Mugabes 30 year rule begs a lot of questions.
So after weighing up the pros and cons of traveling in Zimbabwe it has made it on my list of worlds worst places to backpack at #11.