Hiatus in Karoi

We are not meant to be here already. Emotions have swirled us up and now we have transported here to take a break and discuss ourselves, or rather each other.

With perfect metaphorical timing there is a huge storm in the night, puddles form inside the extension tent. Across Zimbabwe there are power cuts and flooding. I am struck by how fortunate we are to have not been camping in the bush as, when rain comes in the tent, Emma and Mike can swiftly put up another tent under shelter on a dry surface. In addition, the next day we are able to lay our wet things out flat in the sun.

Karoi, itself is a lovely town. The market sells the most delicious honey any of us had ever tasted. And we make someone’s day when we buy lots of our fresh food supplies from them. We find an electrician who helps to fix our inverter which we are using to charge all our phones, cameras and other electrical items. At night, there are no lights along the streets, our torches pick out a snake crossing our path, gliding along focused on its business. I’m glad we didn’t step on it that would have been bad for it and us.

We sleep, eat, and take a break from each other before we meet for some honest discussion. I contact two wise people in my life for assistance. After two days, we think we have solved the issues. The team is in good spirits and singing songs as Woocash, drives rollercoaster style, back to where Emma finished running 2 days before. Stopping only when we come across a bus crash to donate food and water to the shocked passengers on the side of the road – they had been there for hours. We arrive just before the sundown, in time for us to set up camp.


Number of Days: 47

Total distance run by Emma: 2056 km, 1277 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 43.7km, 27.2 miles

Distance run today: 33.48 km, 20.80 miles


On days 48,49 and 50 Emma did not run, her daily average distance on day 50 was: 41.11 km, 25.54 miles


Snakes and Anti-Venom

For the benefit of my snake phobic friends of my family
For the benefit of my snake phobic friends and family

Snakes are a bit of a risk in Sub-Saharan Africa. They’re a risk in most countries except sleepy UK. Not a total risk, there are still lots of people alive in Africa so I think our chances are good, but about 1.5 million people a year are bitten by snakes in the region, and that’s enough for me to consider and investigate what to do, as we won’t normally be near a hospital.

I’ve come across snakes a few times in my life. I wouldn’t want to be placed in a pit of them but, in my experience, they are harmless. Back many years ago, walking in the Kenyan bush, the person in front of me stepped off the path and almost onto a snake. Startled, the black spitting cobra fled in my direction, its head reared up ready to attack. To be fair to the cobra, it was fleeing from a fat foot landing on it during its afternoon nap. Luckily, as I was dawdling a few metres back, I had time to leap out the way and the cobra carried on gliding past and dived into the undergrowth as swiftly as possible. This is my understanding of snakes, leave them alone when they are sleeping, get out their way when they’re scared, make lots of noise so they hear you coming and they’ll not bother you.

However, Emma almost sat on a puff adder in South Africa. Puff adders are well camouflaged, apparently like to lie on roads and paths for warmth and, unlike most snakes, don’t move when they hear you coming. This ‘can’t be arsed to move but don’t step on me or you die’ attitude, makes them a hazard for Emma and whoever is cycling with her at the time. I realise I am anthropomorphising and that adders possibly stay still because it would ruin their camouflage. But then, I suggest, if you’re really good at blending into the background you shouldn’t get angry when someone steps on you. Take it as a compliment. They and black mambas have a bad reputation. I consider anti-venom for each of them.

Searching for information on anti-venom on the Internet, I discover that humans can have a fatal reaction to it. I guess it has to be powerful stuff to counteract the snake’s poison. I also learn that snakes often bite without adding poison. It’d be tragic, if the snake didn’t put enough poison in, only for the anti-venom to cause anaphylactic shock. It seems anti-venom is not stuff for a first aider to administer.

Happily, I also read that most people survive snake bites as long as you stay calm and keep your pulse rate slow, http://www.thesafariguide.net/safari-guide/snakes. Keeping your pulse rate slow will give you longer to get to the hospital. If you’re scared of snakes practice keeping calm. Which means rock or indoor climbing is not only a source of fun, it’s training for controlling our fear. I might learn to meditate too.

In the unlikely event of being snacked on by a python, we should keep a bottle of alcohol with us. Apparently, they don’t like it in their eyes or up their nose. I think a nice strong spirit, like, say, tequila (gold).

And finally, here are a couple of cute photos of snakes, I don’t know if they’re deadly, but they are pretty:

Eye Spy
Eye Spy
To infinity and beyond!
To infinity and beyond!