The Sanyati Expedition 1959


August 1959 nineteen schoolboys, including eleven from Que Que High School and eight adults, spent twelve days camping on the banks of the Sanyati River, about forty miles from Kariba.

The Sanyati Expedtion 1959

Many thanks to Tess (nee Banfield) Harris (and Phil for scanning) for ferreting out the back issues of Que Que High School Magazine and coming across this gem (with a French poem by Tess thrown in for good measure):

During the August holidays, 1959, a party of nineteen schoolboys, including my brother Brian, Phil Harris and Gavin Alcock and eight others from Que Que High School, and eight adults, spent twelve days camping on the banks of the Sanyati River about forty miles from Kariba.  Their purpose was to collect scientific data for the Midlands Branch of the Rhodesian Schools Exploration society which arranged the expedition.  The party travelled in two five ton trucks, one of which had been kindly lent by the Globe and Pheonix Mine and the other by Mr. C. Fletcher.  The route to the base camp was long and tedious and very hot.  The journey took two days, and on the first day we had cold lunch at Gokwe and slept the night at a Native Commisionsers Camp, nicknamed “Picadilly Circus” some sixty miles north of Gokwe.





  • betty

    Reply Reply June 28, 2011

    Incredible! What a life-changing experience! To think that young students could undertake such a task and succeed! I wouldn’t know where I would have belonged….The adults joining them had to have been brilliant to have guided them to do the stuffing and cataloging of birds and identifying of the earth’s layers….I always wanted to be an entolmologist, however, A&M only had programs for the control of insects for farming, not hanging in collections, and I was heartbroken! I would have loved this adventure….very Indiana Jones!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply June 28, 2011

      Betty, The butterfly collection at the Houston Museum of Natural History where we first met is really the best insect collection I’ve ever seen. Yes, you would have enjoyed this adventure without a complaint. I’ll never forget your description of your adventures into the jungles of Central America with Gary looking for Inca ruins and your descriptions of the mosquitoes, that even top ours in Africa! You are a real trooper and a wonderful story teller. This school report is rather clinical and it would be great to get some personal anecdotes to flesh it out. It was hot wild country even in winter.

  • Tess Harris

    Reply Reply July 2, 2011

    Hi, Phil here – my memories of those days are pretty blurred but its contacts like this that jog them awake! I vaguely remember the trip out on the truck, some distant memory of some of the meals, one particularly with warthog meat (something new to me) I think I was one of the entomologists, known as the ‘buggers’. It was interesting reading the entry in the school magazine but unfortunately I couldnt write much of a story on any of it!!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply July 2, 2011

      Phil, Bugger! I havent heard that term in almost half a century! What fun terminology. You had to have a sense of humor to survive one of those kind of camps! I am sure the living was rough. Oregon is still very wild but fear of liability really stifles adventuring today. Thanks again for all the scanning you have done. Much appreciated.

      • Diana

        Reply Reply July 2, 2011

        PS Phil, Its amazing how large food looms in our lives, reflects our culture and sticks in our memories.

  • Chris Rose

    Reply Reply March 13, 2012

    I read the account of the Sanyati Expedition with great interest, especially the journey to the Sanyati River. I was a teacher at QueQue Junior at that time. I had a call to fill in for the leader of the hydrobiology section when the assigned leader fell ill.Although not trained as a science teacher, we managed to put together an interesting display of specimens.
    Since those days, I have lived in British Columbia, Canada. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who remembers me from this trip

    • Diana

      Reply Reply March 14, 2012

      Chris Lovely to hear from you. Lets hope you get some responses….readership is vast.

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