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early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

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geneva
posts: 808
reviews: 16
early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

Hello to all,

I am just beginning to look at a side trip into Zimbabwe for July 2014.We'll be in the Tuli block in Botswana and I would like to know if my itinerary makes sense:

-drive from Tuli to Matopos in one day, going through the border at Beitbridge? how long in terms of kilometers and time would that take?

-spend 2 nights in Matopos :Matobo hills lodge? (we are not looking for luxury, just a friendly, clean place, self catering is great too, shared bathroom ok.as cheap as possible as long as it's clean)

-drive from Matopos to Masvingo :again, how long a drive? are the roads good, we'll be driving a car rental from SA)

looking at Norma Jeanne's lakeview resort because Lodge at ancient city seems too pricey...

staying 2 or 3 nights

-drive back to Messina and then we know what to do again!

Thanks for all/any input, we have never been to Zim and are really looking forward to going!

Victoria Falls...
Destination Expert
for Victoria Falls
posts: 604
reviews: 2
1. Re: early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

Hi

If you are staying in the Tuli block in Botswana, then I would definately suggest using the border bost at Plumtree rather than Beitbridge, it's much closer, means you don't have to cross back into South Africa and Beitbridge is notorious for being a horrendous border post.

Difficult to give exact distances cos not sure where in Tuli block you would be but it could be about 420km to the Plumtree border. The main A1 road in Bostwana is good albiet a bit busy with traffic arround Francistown. Then from Plumtree to Bulawayo is about 100km. Plumtree is normally an easy border post to get through, unless you get caught behind a bus load of people or their computors are down. So a bit of a slog in one day but can be done.

Matobo Hills lodge - good choice for budget range accommodation, undergoing refurbishment.

Matobo Hills to Great Zimbabwe good tar road approx 300kms - easy journey

Norma Jeans is a nice place and best choice in the area - self catering units some with views of the lake and a hotel section, there is a restaurant on site. Generally a lovely setting. Much closer to the ruins themselves is the Great Zimbabwe Hotel, but this hotel has seen better days.

Driving south through Beitbridge is not as bad as coming north so not such a bad option if you want to travel that route on the way back.

Tony

geneva
posts: 808
reviews: 16
2. Re: early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

thank you so much Tony, for all the useful information.We'll be staying at Tuli Wilderness which is not too far from Mathatane.I am very surprised to find out that Plumtree border ids closer than Beitbridge, I thought Beitbridge was close to Musina which isn't far at all from Tuli...or is it that we should really avoid Beitbridge as a border crossing? is it as bad as entering Moz ?

If we drive through the border at Plumtree, could you suggest a place where we might spend the night as we generally don't like to drive more than 300 kms a day?then how far will we be from Plumtree to Matobo hills lodge?

I am happy to find out that at least I had done my research well in terms of accomodations! thanks again,

Caviar

Victoria Falls...
Destination Expert
for Victoria Falls
posts: 604
reviews: 2
3. Re: early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

Hi Caviar

The Beitbridge border post is closer to you than Plumtree, but you are backtracking by having to driving east first. The two routes might be similar kms wise, I haven't added them up, but I know that Beitbridge to Bulawayo is 325kms. Beitbridge should be avoided at all costs, really the delays there are often very long (5 hours not uncommon) plus you will have to cross from Botswana into South Africa first, which just means another border crossing.

I have not seen anywhere that I would recommend staying around the Plumtree area. You could either stay around Francistown or make it all the way through to Bulawayo.

Plumtree to Bulawayo is 100kms and the Bulawayo to Matobo Hills is 37kms, there is a cut through road from Figtree, but I have not done that raod so don't know what it is like.

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
posts: 9
reviews: 5
4. Re: early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

If you have a suitable vehicle, you can cross Botswana to Zimbabwe at the Matsiloje/ Mphoengs border post which is south of Plumtree. Plumtree can also get busy, although not as bad as Beit Bridge. If you are already in Botswana it makes sense to cross directly into Zimbabwe without going back into SA. From Plumtree or Mphoengs head towards Bulawayo but at Figtree you can cut across to the Kezi Road (16km dirt) and then go a few more kms to Matopos. The Farmhouse in Matopos sounds like it will suit you for accommodation, but check prices for all the lodges before you book and pay as they may well have a special offer on. You are welcome to email me (afspec@yoafrica.com) with any further questions as I live in this area & know it well. Matopos to Masvingo is full tar road all the way, it will take you 3.5 to 4 hours. Norma Jeanes is a good reliable option.

Silver Spring...
Destination Expert
for Dominican Republic
posts: 5,812
reviews: 1
5. Re: early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

In Bulawayo we stayed at Garda Lodge which is close to Matopos and loved the lodge, especially the hosts and the breakfast.

geneva
posts: 808
reviews: 16
6. Re: early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

thank you to all of you for taking the time to answer my questions! Kjal 13, when you say if we have a suitable vehicle, do you mean a 4 wheel drive?we'll have to price the car rental for 3 weeks and 3 countries.

Could we also get a flight from Joburg to Bulawayo, rent a car and do our Matopos/Masvingo tour, return the car to Bulawayo and take a bus from Bulawayo to Messina or Polokwane, rent a car and continue on our 2 week stay in the Limpopo and Tuli?

Thanks again for all your thoughts!

7. Re: early stages of planning, questions on Matopos and Masvingo

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