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Number Plates in Zimbabwe

number plates | Zimbabwe | Big Sky Supplies

An appeal to ZRP and the Ministry of Transport to show consideration …
There is an insufficient number of number plates in ZImbabwe to meet demand and the impounding of vehicles is disproportionate treatment of motorists who are simply unable to properly register and license their vehicles. And Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) is about to run out again …

Since the joint announcement by ZRP and CVR on the 8th of September, 2020 that vehicles not displaying number plates would be impounded, a great deal of motorists have had their vehicles impounded despite their best efforts. Unscrupulous members at lockdown checkpoints are using this opportunity to extort fines from motorists to be allowed through the checkpoints. Despite CVR’s claims that permanent number plates are available, CVR is unable to meet the backlog of tens of thousands of vehicles requiring numberplates going back to 2019, as well as the demand from recently purchased vehicles. In a statement on the 10th of September Zinara encouraged motorists to properly license their vehicles however without a registration number (issued by CVR), it is impossible to license a vehicle …

Advising motorists to park their vehicles until they are properly registered and licensed is not a solution. In the absence of an efficient Public Transport System, the owners have invested in their vehicles to carry out their business and family affairs and should not be compromised through a dysfunctional environment. 

The registration of vehicles and displaying permanent number plates is vital to reduce crime such as hit-and-runs, robberies, and child abductions. Being able to identify vehicles and their overnight address will also encourage ZRP to re-introduce form 265 which does require the ability to identify offenders. Motorists who have made no attempt or deliberately remain anonymous should be penalized however we encourage the Ministry of Transport and ZRP to show consideration for the realities on the ground.

We recommend that all vehicles displaying Temporary Identification Cards (TIC) dated from the 1st of March, 2020 onwards be permitted on the roads and given a reasonable period to comply. However, vehicles with TIC’s issued prior to the 1st of March or showing no form of identification at all should be parked by their owners but if used, ZRP is in a position to impound.

Equally, ZRP and other authorities must accept full responsibility for vehicles that have been impounded. It is unacceptable that body parts and fuel is stolen from vehicles in the custody of ZRP, City of Harare, and other Councils.

The Ministry of Transport should rapidly scale up the production of number plates in Zimbabwe as well as investing in Central Vehicle Registry’s infrastructure which is currently in shambles, often lacking paper, stationery, and with broken photocopiers making it very difficult for the men and women of CVR to carry out their jobs.

We look forward to CVR and ZRP making a favourable announcement without delay.

With respect,

Sean of Big Sky

This appeal was first published on Facebook group Dear ZRP on 12 October, 2020

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Outdoor Get Togethers with Potjie Cooking

Big Sky Guide to Potjie Cooking

Warm evenings entice us to venture outdoors and there is no better time to experiment with some potjie cooking. Camping and outdoor activities are the perfect way to get out and relax at a social distance with friends, for a good catch up around the fire while your potjie meal simmers.

Some potjie historical facts

Potjie cooking dates back to the 1500’s in Europe. The Dutch settlers who arrived in Cape Town in 1652 brought this method of cooking to Africa and called these pots “Dutch Ovens”. They used the pots for baking bread as well as for casseroles. The Voortrekkers used a cast iron pot called a “potjie” which they placed over coals every evening to prepare rich stews of wild game meat and vegetables. Zimbabweans have embraced these versatile pots, and names now include bhodho, desboom and Pangoro …

How to choose your potjie pot

First, choose the right size pot for the number of people you are cooking for.  At 7,8 litres, a #3 pot is easily big enough for a family of 6.  Your experienced friends will readily share their special tips on potjie cooking, but there are also several excellent sites to gain hints and advice on potjie cooking.  Getaway’s How to Master the perfect potijie  article is very helpful.  

Simmer “potjiekos” slowly over open coals for several hours. This method of cooking is a very economical way to feed a large group of people.  Cheaper cuts of meat can be used because the slow cooking process allows the meat to tenderise and the stock and spices infuse into the stew mixture.  The final product is a rich, tasty, and wholesome stew, packed full of vegetables and goodness.

Fundamental steps to the “art” of Potjie Cooking

  1. Prepare your coals – the key is to simmer your potjie meal, not boil it away to nothing.  By having a second fire available you can top up your coals if necessary. 
  2. Ensure your potijie lid fits securely and grease the pot beforehand including the lid.
  3. Follow the cooking directions from your favorite recipe book. Stick to the recommended cooking time.
  4. Spices and condiments are vital to enhancing the flavours in the pot.  Experiment as you go along because this is what makes potjie cooking so much fun.  
  5. Layer your meat and then place your vegetables in layers on top of the meat.  The harder, slower cooking vegetables, potatoes, and carrots will go in first. Layer softer vegetables like mushrooms near the top or even add later.
  6. Lastly, add your liquid, replace the lid, and leave your mixture to cook. Do not be tempted to stir the potjie, this is the potjie “rule”!  As long as the coals are not too hot it will not burn.

Importance of coal in potjie cooking

Don’t put too much heat directly under the pot. Arrange the coals around the edge of the pot not directly under the base. The meat and vegetables must simmer.  Avoid adding additional liquid as it should not be necessary. Only once the full cooking time has been reached and you are ready to serve can you venture a quick stir of the contents. 

The fun of potjie cooking

Potjie cooking is a great way to experiment with different types of meat.  This just adds to the fun of experimenting on subsequent camping trips and sharing potjie stories around the fire.  The slow cooking process is perfect for long relaxing evenings by the campfire with good company, a glass of your favourite beverage, and the distinctive bubbling of the potjie.

Increase the enjoyment and versatility of your potjie with Big Sky’s range of potjie accessories, including potjie-specific folding tripods, braai’s and lid lifters. 

Bon appettit! 

(Contributor: Fiona Semper)

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How Medical Air Evacuation Works in Zimbabwe …

MEDICAL EMERGENCY AIR EVACUATION

Many people are wondering during the COVID-19 lockdown if medical air evacuations are happening and would they be evacuated without delays in the event of an emergency. Regardless of the lockdown, air evacuation is a complex issue.

My name is Sean Stein and I am an independent healthcare consultant. This article came about from a recent chat with a new client in Victoria Falls, who asked …

“If I want to be evacuated, will they do it without any delay?”

Well the answer to the question is not quite so simple. Here’s why …

A) Medical air evacuation aircraft can only operate from airports that their insurance allows them to operate from. There are only three airports where air ambulances operate from in Zimbabwe, these being Harare, Bulawayo & Victoria Falls. Kariba was one of the airports but apparently no longer.

B) Not all medical conditions are eligible for medical air evacuation. Generally speaking, there are 3 criteria that need to be met before a health insurer will consider paying for an evacuation.

  1. Obviously, the condition must be covered.
  2. Adequate treatment is not available locally.
  3. The condition must be life threatening. (Some insurers include “and/or limb threatening”.)

But that still does not mean you are guaranteed a medical air evacuation …

  1. The aircraft must be available.
  2. The airport must be open.
  3. You must be stable enough to fly which means the treating doctor and the operators of the air ambulance must both agree you are medically stable enough to fly.

Here’s a brief story that may illustrate my point.

I know of someone who had a motorcycle accident and damaged his leg quite badly. It soon became evident by the treating doctors that he required evacuation to South Africa due to the local facilities being sub-standard.

Unfortunately, he lost his leg because there was a huge delay between him being advised that he required to be evacuated to South Africa and him actually being evacuated. After the ordeal, he blamed his health insurance company for the delay and attempted to sue the health insurer.

However, subsequent investigations showed that the delay was due to the doctor not signing his release form because he was not stable enough to fly. Furthermore, the airport had been shut down due to it being late at night and therefore not in operation. Lastly, the closest available aircraft was in Johannesburg and, although given clearance by the insurer to collect the patient, they would not take-off from Johannesburg until the doctor had signed the release form and the airport was operational.

Remember, although your insurer will help co-ordinate the medical air evacuation and pay the costs, they are not responsible for doing the actual evacuation.

I trust the above helps explain how emergency medical air evacuation works.

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for!”

Book a call for;

Get in touch → seansteyn@yoafrica.com or WhatsApp +27(0)797902644

 

AUTHORS’ BIO

Sean Steyn is an independent healthcare consultant with more than 19 years’ experience with local and international health insurance products. Being directly affected in 2001 when he lost a family member to cancer which was not covered in full, he made a moral decision to change his career and dedicate his time to help other people avoid the many pitfalls of finding and owning medical cover. He publishes a complete “Guide To Medical Cover” which you can download from www.medicalcover.co.zw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Extend the life of your vehicle’s battery

Car battery as supplied by Big Sky

Your vehicle’s battery works harder in the cold mornings we’re experiencing. But with easy DIY maintenance at home, you can extend the life of your battery and avoid costly replacement.

Here are the most frequently asked questions and answers …

Q1. Why do car batteries go flat if unused?

A typical 12-volt battery discharges naturally at around 0.1 volts per month at 10 degrees Celsius. In warm weather, the discharge rate increases. Additionally, the car’s electrical system draws power even when the car is unused. The rate varies between makes and models but we have heard about cars discharging a healthy battery entirely in under a fortnight.

Q2. Why do you recommend that a 12-volt battery should be kept fully charged?

Lead acid batteries (i.e. flooded, Enhanced Flooded Batteries and Advanced Glass Mat types) prefer to be kept at 90-100% charge (above 12.5 volts), otherwise, they sulphate internally. This reduces their capacity and shortens their lives.

Q3. Can I let the 12-volt battery run flat and simply jump-start the car afterwards?

We do not recommend this strategy. If the battery drains completely, there is a risk that it will never recover. The possibility of permanent failure increases the longer the battery has been left discharged and for how much its state-of-charge has dipped below 12.5 volts.

Q4. Should I start the car and let the engine charge the battery?

No. 12-volt batteries prefer to be charged slowly. The modern car’s charging system is very unlikely to charge the battery fully. This is also true in many day-to-day driving conditions and is a major reason why batteries deteriorate prematurely.

Q5. Is it OK to give my car a run once or twice a week to ensure the battery stays charged and to prevent potentially expensive recovery/repair bills? 

By starting the car, you will have to replenish the charge lost by doing so. Much also depends on how long you leave the car running. Letting a car idle on the drive alone can also cause further issues with the engine, including moisture build in the exhaust/engine oil, particulate filter blocking and spark plug fouling. In any case, likely, relying solely on the car’s charging system alone will not charge the battery to its optimum 90-100% charge. Using a mains-powered battery charger is preferable. 

Lockdown Note: This isn’t classed as an essential journey in the COVID-19 Public Health Order, and if you are stopped by police, you risk being warned or fined for contravening the regulations.

Q6. Should I use a battery charger?

To our knowledge, a battery charger is the only way to charge a car battery to its optimum 90-100% charge. Modern lead-acid batteries are vulnerable to overcharging, which shortens their lives. This is one reason why we recommend smart chargers, rather than old-fashioned trickle chargers. Smart chargers also have different charge setting options for Advanced Glass Mat batteries, used on the latest models.

Q7. Can I connect a smart charger directly to the battery terminals?

Not in every case. Many modern cars (especially those fitted with Start-Stop technology) have a battery monitoring chip on the negative terminal, which can be damaged if connected to an external power source. Consult your handbook for advice for jump-start connection points. Typically, a separate negative terminal post may be mounted to the bodywork.

Q8. Should I disconnect my car battery, when using a smart charger?

Check the advice in your car handbook and the smart charger manual. In our experience, disconnecting the battery is usually unnecessary but check both publications first.

Q9. My car is parked on the road and I cannot get an electricity cable to it. What can I do?

You can disconnect and remove the battery to charge it in your home but be wary that the battery releases hydrogen and oxygen gases during the recharging process, which are explosive. Therefore, ensure that the chosen room is very well ventilated.

Q10. I have a hybrid car, equipped with a high voltage battery. I presume I do not need to worry about keeping it charged?

Hybrids (or, more specifically, Self-Charging Hybrids) have their high voltage systems activated by a separate 12-volt battery. Should this smaller battery be discharged, the car will fail to ‘start’. Therefore, check the car handbook and use a smart charger to maintain the 12-volt battery’s condition.

Q11. I have an electric car. Should I keep it permanently plugged in to the mains during lockdown?

The high-voltage batteries used in Electric Vehicles (and Plug-In Hybrids) use different chemistries. Unlike 12 volt lead-acid batteries, high voltage packs prefer not to be kept fully-charged for long periods. Consult your handbook for more information but, generally, maintain the high voltage battery between 50% and 80% charge level.

See Big Sky for a FREE battery check, and installation while you wait.

Safe motoring,

Tom and the Big Sky Team

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3 Easily Accessible Outdoor Escapes near Harare

Big Sky Outdoor Escapes close to Harare

Most of us have experienced “cabin fever” during Zimbabwe’s extended lock-down, and are ready for an outdoor escape.  Travel restrictions will come to an end so plan your outdoor escapes now! 

Get the family together and have a look at our suggested destinations,  all located within 40 km of Harare.  Zimbabwe has lovely clear skies in winter. Mild temperatures offer perfect conditions for walking, bird watching, or riding your bikes. Reconnect with nature, de-stress, and feed your soul.

Haka Game Park and Outdoor Retreat

Haka Game Park is only 10 minutes from the city centre,  just after the Msasa roundabout on Mutare Road.  Set in about 25 sq. km of pristine grassland. Take the family to view giraffe, zebra, impala, and wildebeest grazing the plains. Nestled among the Miombo woodland lie lichen-covered kopjes and private braai areas. Challenge the family to find the San rock art hidden among the rocky outcrops and identify the over 250 bird species in the park. Children can safely walk or ride their bikes around the gravel roads with clear views of the animals.

Be the first to spot the unusually dark giraffe meandering through the shadows.  While you won’t need your 4×4 on these park’s roads, it will still be a fun game drive.  Pack your tent and camping gear for an overnight stay to truly experience the African bush, listening to the soothing chirps of frogs and haunting hoots of owls.  Visit Haka Game Park for more details

Ewanrigg Open Air Botanical Gardens

Ewanrigg, named after the original farmer’s brother, Ewan, is an easy 18km drive out along the usually low-volume traffic Shamva Road. A tranquil outdoor oasis for plant and bird lovers alike, the botanical garden boasts a world-renowned collection of aloes and cycads. Within the Miombo and brachystegia woods and kopjes, you come upon vast collections of rare and common exotic plants adding to the charm of this tranquil botanical garden.  April to July is the best time to visit when the majority of aloes display their stunning flowers. The gardens abound with brilliantly coloured sun-birds. With a little patience, you could capture an excellent close up picture of these birds feeding. There is ample space for children to play, facilities for a picnic or braai and toilet facilities. For more details , – Visit Zimparks Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens

Savanna Camp and Wildlife Sanctuary, a brand new outdoor escape

 

Just 6.5km after the Goromonzi tollgate outbound on the Mutare Road, Savanna Camp comes up on your right. A conservation park established by Olivera and Tana, this outdoor escape is on Harare’s doorstep. Olivera and Tana  are passionate about wildlife and conserving our heritage. Savanna Camp has a wildlife population of over 26 resident mammals ranging from the agile night ape to the majestic giraffe.  Children (and the not-so-young!) are challenged to tick off as many animals and bird sightings as they can. The informative Savanna flyer will be shared on arrival.  Spend a full day game viewing, either guided or solitary, walking, driving, or venturing off-road on your mountain bike.  Better yet, camp overnight, and make a weekend of it.  Find out about one of Harare’s newest outdoor escapes here –  Savanna Camp.   

Now that you’re inspired and itching to get out of town, start your preparations today. Shake out those tents, fill the gas cylinders, pump some air into the bike tires and prepare your vehicle for the trip. Read Sean and Tom of Big Sky’s guidelines – How to keep moving after lockdown.

Stay safe, healthy and positive

The Big Sky Team

 

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An Update on the COVID-19 National Lockdown Legislation …

An update on the COVID-19 National Lockdown legislation …

We should be MORE vigilant during the national lockdown extension period, not less.

  1. The coronavirus is active in Zimbabwe, infection rates are increasing and as winter approaches, we are all potentially more vulnerable.
  2. The lockdown is still in place with very good reason – to restrict movement and limit the spread of the coronavirus. Despite the relaxations, the lockdown laws still reflect this need.
  3. As a result of the reduced restrictions during this phase of the lockdown, the risk of infection increases significantly, especially amongst commuters using public transport. Read on …

SI 99/2020 was published on 2nd May 2020, principally to extend the lockdown period to 17th May 2020, with important changes, including:

TESTING FOR COVID-19

Employers must arrange for the testing “at an agreed time at the workplace or at any other place agreed between them and an enforcement officer. Employers may contact the Ministry of Health Call Centre or the Ministry of Information Call Centre.”
Issues:

  1. To our knowledge, there are insufficient test kits in the country to test all employees in the formal commercial and industrial sectors.
  2. To our knowledge there are NO private, Ministry of Health approved institutions currently providing COVID-19 testing, to MoHCC specifications.
  3. SI 99/2020 is silent about the testing of the essential services already operating, including the food and agriculture sectors, mining, and manufacturing. How will COVID-19 testing be applied to these sectors?

Update 08:00, 4th May 2020

During a media briefing late on 3rd May 2002, the Minister of Information, Hon. M. Mutsvangwa announced the following designated medical (testing) facilities:
1) All government and municipality health facilities, mission hospitals, and New Start Centres (Not for Profit).
2) Designated private institutions include PSMI, Lancet Laboratories, and CIMAS.

In short, a large number of businesses who are permitted to resume trading and earning an income, from Monday, 4th May, cannot legally do so.

Update 20:00, 5th May 2020

At a post-cabinet briefing in Harare, the Minister of Information, Monica Mutsvangwa announced that companies in the commercial and industrial sectors opening under SI 99/2020, will be permitted to open subject to workers undergoing temperature tests when entering work premises, companies to provide sanitizers for workers on entry to sanitize their hands, each employee to wear a face mask and employees to practice social distancing in the workplace.

Update 07:00, 7th May 2020

SI 102/2020 is published on 6 May 2020, giving employers some reprieve. Companies in the commercial and industrial sectors opening under SI 99/2020, are given 14 days from 7th May 2020 to have workers tested. The 14-day period starts at a later date if the company can prove it re-opened at a later date. Subsection (3a) gives the Minister of Health the option to request companies to retest workers within 30 days.

CONTACT NUMBERS FOR COVID-19 TESTING

Covid-19 Call Centre number is 2019.

General contact for Ministry of Health is (0242)798555/60 and email pr@mohcc.gov.zw

The toll-free number for the Ministry of Information Call & Data Centre is 2023.

Note: There are private clinics carrying out both rapid results testing (RRT) and Polymerase Chain Reaction testing (PCR). The cost of the RRT is around US$25.00 and US$65.00 for the PCR.  Clinics include Lancet Laboratories and CIMAS.

Businesses are at all times to observe the social distancing rule at the workplace, to wear protective masks, and to make available for use by employees and other persons hand sanitizing liquid.

FACE MASKS

A face mask, manufactured or improvised, capable of covering the nose and mouth of the wearer, must be worn by anyone permitted to leave his or her home, or in any public space.

THE FORMAL COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL SECTOR

From 4th May 2020, businesses in the formal commercial and industrial sectors are permitted to operate. Employers and employees in these sectors are now regarded as persons employed in an essential service. Formal businesses include those that hold a shop licence, are VAT registered, a lessee, etc.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

ZUPCO (and its franchised bus operators), remains the sole authorised public transporter. (Kombis and mshika-shika are still prohibited from operating). Every vehicle operated by ZUPCO must be disinfected against COVID-19 by or at the direction of an enforcement officer at least twice daily. Every individual must be temperature-tested and have his or her hands sanitised before being allowed to board any vehicle. Every individual in or about a vehicle used for a transport service must observe the social distancing requirement of at least one meter.

Issues: Under normal circumstances, there were already insufficient ZUPCO buses operating, even with the kombi’s and private vehicles operating. We can expect considerable pressure on passenger loading points and on the buses, with zero likelihood that one-metre distancing will be maintained between passengers. In our view, this is the area with the greatest risk of infection amongst employees commuting to work

Before resuming work for the first time during the national lockdown, every employee and employer (in business in the formal commercial and industrial sector), must be screened and tested for the COVID-19 disease, whether by use of the rapid results diagnostic test (RRDT) or other test approved by the Minister of Health. The rapid results diagnostic test is defined as “a test for the presence or absence in an individual of COVID-19 whose results are obtainable instantly or on the same day as the test.

Questions we at Big Sky Supplies are regularly asked

Need for exemption letters: If your business or industry falls under the definition of essential services (which includes the formal commercial and industrial sectors, from 4th May), an exemption letter from the relevant Ministry is not required, as the statutory instruments represent the authorisation. However, company representatives must carry a letter from their employee, with ID numbers, to pass through checkpoints.

Right to exercise: Unlike South Africa, there is no provision for exercising in public spaces. As exercise builds immunity through both physical and mental well-being we trust that the authorities will relax on this issue during the next stage of the lockdown. In the meanwhile, as we have stated before, there is nothing preventing you from walking to the shops within a 5 km radius of your home.

Is travel around the country permitted? Inter-city travel is still restricted. ZUPCO remains the sole authorised public transporter. Members of the public can still only travel on essential service and must carry documentation or similar proving the purpose of the trip. Where practical, we recommend not more than one person in a vehicle, to avoid the appearance of ‘holidaying’. If more than one passenger is travelling, all must be carrying ‘letters’.

NOTES:
If a matter is not amended in one of the recent statutory instruments, the requirements of the original Public Health Order, still apply.

These notes are provided for guidance only, and should be read with the Public Health Order, COVID-19 and subsequent amendments, copies are available on request.

Thank you, #stayathomestaysafe

The BIG SKY TEAM

Acknowledgment: With thanks to Howard Dean, publisher of ‘Labour Relations Information Service’ (LRIS), and ‘Business Information Zimbabwe’ (BIZ) for his contribution to this update. (Subscriptions cover costs. If you are interested in paying a six-monthly subscription to receive regular updates of LRIS and BIZ, email aquamor@mweb.co.zw for details of how to subscribe. ZW$2,500.00 covers six months).

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How to Keep Moving After Lockdown

keep moving after lockdown

During extended lockdown in Zimbabwe, it is critical that motorists – and motorcyclists – ensure your vehicles keep moving after standing idle.

Any vehicle that is left unused for a while may develop issues that require intervention to get running normally again. But the hassle of wanting to start a vehicle when the battery is drained, or driving on uneven wheels, may be alleviated with some proper home care. Vehicle owners should do the following if your vehicles are going to be unused for the next couple of weeks:

Cover the vehicle:

If possible, park the vehicle indoors, under a roof, or use a car cover. Doing this will ensure it stays cleaner (and safer). Do not use a car cover if you are parking the vehicle in a garage, as any moisture inside will evaporate faster.

Battery maintenance:

While it may be better to remove the entire battery, disconnecting the negative terminal will also suffice. Be careful when doing this and ensure you are wearing protective eyewear and gloves, and that you have the right tools for the job. Always disconnect the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal. Never touch the terminals together. Rubbing petroleum jelly on the terminals after they have been removed will prevent rust from setting in and help you moving when driving again.

Clean the vehicle before storage:

Dirt on the vehicle may cause permanent damage if left untreated, especially for a few weeks. This is the ideal time to properly clean your vehicle inside and outside before storage. Use approved cleaning agents on all interior and exterior surfaces, don’t wash your vehicle in direct sunlight, and dry it thoroughly before storage.

Cover the intakes and outlets:

If possible cover the air intakes with a cloth, and stuff a rag in the exhaust outlet. This will prevent insects and small rodents from getting in there. REMEMBER TO REMOVE THESE BEFORE YOU START THE VEHICLE AFTER STORAGE. LEAVE YOURSELF A NOTE ON THE STEERING WHEEL TO REMIND YOU.

Wiper care:

Wiper blades are an essential safety feature on vehicles. To prevent the rubber of the blades sticking to the windshield, place plastic wrap under the blades first. Do the same for any back wipers.

Insurance and Warranty Care: 

If you have insurance or aftermarket insurance products for your vehicle do not cancel these for the period of the lockdown. Not only will this impact on any no-claims rewards, but you may also be flouting the terms of your lease or purchase agreements if you cancel now. Another consideration is that you may have to use the vehicle in an emergency if you cancel your insurance now, you will not be covered if something were to happen even on a “short” outing.

“The current lockdown period is scheduled to end on Sunday, 17th May.

However, if the lockdown period is extended – as has happened with our regional neighbours – further steps may be necessary to protect your vehicle and keep it moving. These include:

Fill up on fuel:

It may seem counter-intuitive to have a tank full of fuel in a vehicle that is sitting idle but the science behind this tip is sound. A full fuel tank will prevent rust from forming on the inside by keeping moisture from entering the tank. Ensure the tank is properly sealed. Also, consider installing a long-range fuel tank after the lockdown.

Wheel maintenance:

This is really for long-term storage. If the vehicle is standing idle for a long period, flat spots may occur on the wheels. To prevent this, jack all the tyres off the ground or position the vehicle on blocks of wood all around. The idea is to keep all the tyres off the ground. Check tyre pressure is normal after storage and adjust to manufacturer levels as soon as possible after storage.

Oil care:

Drain the oil from the vehicle before long-term storage. After storage put in fresh oil, and change oil and air filters as soon as possible.

Change spark plugs to keep you moving:

Removing spark plugs may also prevent rust forming. However, if you are unsure of how to do this leave them in and get an expert to check them as soon as possible after resuming normal use.

“Having a reliable vehicle is essential and should not be taken for granted. If you are leaving your vehicle unused for a long period, it will still require some maintenance. Do not assume that an unused vehicle is going to start first time weeks after it was last used if it is not properly cared for during the lockdown,”

Hope these tips will help you keep moving after the lock down.

For technical advice and pricing on vehicle batteries, lubricants, engine additives, etc., email Tom at info@bigsky.co.zw

Sean and Tom

Big Sky Supplies – We prepare you for your journey

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Coronavirus Flights

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many are asking whether the airlines are still flying, particularly between Zimbabwe and South Africa. In the context of the South African lockdown from Friday, 27 March, this is what we found out:

Fastjet: Are still flying, but are not taking bookings for South Africa – Zimbabwe flights from 27 March onwards. Fastjet are only accepting Zimbabwe and South African passports holders for flights from Zim to SA, and Zim passport holders from SA to Zim. For enquiries call 086 7700 6060 (Harare office).

British Airways/Comair: Have limited seats for Harare – Johannesburg – Harare route for 25 March only. Flights from 26 March are shown as unavailable, visit  https://www.britishairways.com/

 South Africa Airways: Suspended all regional and international flights until 31 May, 2020.

SA Airlink: Are flying but there are no seats available before the SA lockdown.

Ethiopian Airlines: As of Tuesday, 24 March, Ethiopian was still taking bookings. Potential travellers can visit their website www.ethiopianairlines.com  for further updates, however we advise you to visit their new offices in Belgravia (opposite KFC).

We recommend that travellers do not book online, but secure your tickets and obtain first-hand information by visiting the airline offices directly.

Wishing you all safe journeys, and if you have to be where you are now, stay safe.

Sean and Tom

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Let’s Talk About Load Shedding Solutions …

Load shedding solutions

Realistically, we can expect load shedding to continue for at least the next 2 or 3 years, so let’s “Make a Plan”, as we do in Zim! We’ve been through severe load shedding before and learnt a few things on the way …

If you are considering investing in new equipment, it makes financial sense to buy wisely, to ensure the equipment meets your needs and lasts a long time. Start with being careful who you deal with. We are hearing stories of second-hand batteries being sold as new, and many other short cuts resulting in tears …

COOKING & HEATING
For cooking and heating, LPG, or “gas”, is the way to go! Cooking solutions include gas cylinders, gas cookers, and kettles.

Tips:

a) A two-plate cooker provides far more versatility than a single cooker top and is more gas efficient.

b) Gas cylinders used indoors should be shut off after every use.

c) Spares are available to keep your gas equipment in a safe condition, including certified gas hose, washers, etc.

Gas geysers provide instant, cost-effective heat and are available in various sizes to suit your budget and requirements. Available from 6 up to 20 litres of water flow per minute, these are suitable for use in the kitchen and staff quarter’s right up to gyms, clinics, etc. – wherever instant hot water is needed. Gas consumption is super economical: 1 kg of gas heats up to 800 litres of water. Our Approved Installers are available for a professional, hassle-free installation.

ALTERNATIVE POWER

To power your equipment in the home or office, many of our customers are moving away from generators, which are noisy and use expensive fuel we have to queue for.

Inverter systems provide a silent, reliable source of power for your lights, TV, Wi-Fi router, water booster pump, gate motor, etc., depending on the size of the inverter installation. The size of the inverter you need depends on the energy consumption of your equipment. For the energy consumption of the average computer, TV, fridge, etc., see our Appliance Rating Chart below, measured in Watts. (Deliberately omitted from the chart are the electric geyser (3,800W) and electric oven (4,500W)).

Appliance Consumption Chart
Appliance Rating Chart

Inverters are available in a range of sizes, the most common for home and office are:

  • 875VA (12V)
  • 1,500VA (24V)
  • 2,000VA (24V)

Most inverters will have an auto-switch function – as ZESA goes off, the unit instantly switches on, protecting computer equipment, etc. They also have a built-in battery charger, recharging your batteries when there is ZESA.

BATTERY REQUIREMENTS FOR INVERTERS

A 12V inverter runs off at least one battery and 24V a minimum of two x 12V batteries.

The number of deep-cycle batteries you need is determined by the period of time you intend using your equipment, in a day (or cycle). To extend their serviceable life, do not fully discharge your batteries. Batteries have a limited number of recharging cycles. Measured in a cycle per day, a battery that is regularly discharged by 80% can be expected to achieve +/- 600 cycles, i.e. less than two years. In contrast, a 50% discharge can achieve 1,000 to 1,300 cycles, and a battery conservatively discharged by only 30%, can achieve 2,200 to 2,700 cycles – at least five years of good service.

Tips:

a) If running large equipment (e.g. fridge, water booster pump, etc.), switch the equipment on individually to reduce the start-up load on the inverter and improve battery performance.

b) Buy your batteries from a reputable supplier, who offers warranty support and will be around to fix any problems in the future …

SOLAR BACK-UP

Once you have invested in an inverter system, we strongly recommend you install a back-up solar system. The solar system will charge your batteries during the day, reducing the battery discharge and adding years of serviceable life to your batteries.

If you’re getting less than 8 hours of ZESA a day, you need a back-up solar system to consistently recharge the batteries to at least 90% of capacity.

A solar system includes panels and a charge controller to regulate the charge to ensure your batteries do not overcharge, or “boil”. The size and number of panels is based on the size of the inverter system.

Big Sky is here to help you. Email sean@bigsky.co.zw with your enquiry. Our staff and engineers are on standby to provide professional advice and our Approved Installers will provide a professional, hassle-free installation.

All equipment is backed by Big Sky’s NO ARGUMENTS warranty support. Remember you can bring your batteries and inverters to us for a FREE health check and set up.

Disclaimer: The above is intended for guidance only. As the specifications and quality of equipment in the marketplace varies substantially, Big Sky cannot accept responsibility for the outcome of any installation not supplied or installed by Big Sky or our Approved Installers. Given the variance in specifications, performances will differ and figures are provided for guidance only. If you disagree with us, please be gentle …

The Big Sky Team looks forward to helping you “Make a Plan”. As we Zimbo’s do …

Posted on

Prepare for Your Visit to Mozambique

Your Trip to Mozambique

Mozambique is a beautiful country, but you will have a far better experience if properly prepared.

A short overview of the documents to carry:
Passport, police clearance certificate, vehicle and trailer registration papers, and insurance certificate. If compliant in Zimbabwe, your vehicle will display the licence and insurance discs, and Third Plate.

Remember the SDC requirements for minors, who require specific documents when crossing borders. For more on this, http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/621-advisory-new-requirements-for-children-travelling-through-south-african-ports-of-entry-effective-1-june-2015

At Big Sky, we are often asked what the vehicle equipment requirements for Mozambique are. If your vehicle is compliant with Zimbabwe’s statutory requirements, you are well covered.

But unique to Mozambique are the following:

  • If towing, you must display Mozambique yellow on blue triangles, which are available from Big Sky. The large decal is to be placed on the right-hand side at the rear of the trailer, and the small decal on the right front of the towing vehicle. Be aware these triangles are required ONLY if you’re towing …
  • We also recommend you carry a reflective vest for each occupant in the vehicle.

For your peace of mind, we recommend the following as essential equipment:

  • A good map. Big Sky stocks the Mozambique/Malawi InfoMap with GPS coordinates and points of interest.
  • You’ll want to drop your tire pressures when off the tar. This will improve your ride over corrugated gravel roads, and significantly reduce the chances of getting stuck in soft sand. An air compressor is essential for reflating tires before driving at high speeds. Big Sky stocks the T-Max 72 litre compressor which will inflate your 4×4’s tires faster than you’ll finish your Coke.
  • A decent tow strap will come in handy when you are a good Samaritan and recover a stuck vehicle …
  • Consider fitting a long-range fuel tank and avoid the hassle of jerry cans at the border and the roadside. Big Sky is supplying quality, auxiliary fuel tanks for a wide range of vehicles, including the Ford Ranger, Isuzu (6th generation), Toyota Hilux (Vigo and Revo), Landcruiser (75, 79, 80, 100 and 200 Series), Fortuner; and Nissan Hardbody and Navara, and VW Amarok. For more, visit https://bigsky.co.zw/tales-trails/ 
  • To check availability and price for your vehicle, email sean@bigsky.co.zw or call/WhatsApp on 0772-420-517    

Finally, you could be driving in isolated areas … check the road worthiness of your vehicle, tyre condition, including the spare wheel. Take it easy and enjoy the drive, it is not only the destination that is beautiful.

I am Sean, and we look forward to preparing you for your journey to Mozambique.

Obrigado.