On 13 January 2014 a Gift of the Givers Search and Rescue team was deployed to Harare, Zimbabwe on a mission to find Zayd Dada who went missing on Mt Nyangani. Zayd went hiking with his wife and another couple. Halfway up the mountain his wife and friends decided to turn back and Zayd continued up the trail without them. He has not been seen since.

                            The team of 7 joined the search effort with the National parks Police and Military personnel. The search was done over and across the Northern summit ridge of the mountain which started at 08:30 and completed the search of the area at 17:30. The rocky out crops, cracks and crevasses proved to be very challenging to cross and search.

                            Over day 3 the team had the task of searching a large area running from the North of the mountain back to the centre of the mountain, focusing our search efforts on the Western side of the mountain, from the northern outcrop to the car park in the centre of the mountain ( 3 volunteers from Bulawayo joined the GOTG team at this stage). The weather proved to be a challenge as the mountain was covered with mist. Rain was sporadically falling making the area inaccessible by motor vehicles causing us to have a 14 Km hike to the starting point for the search on the northern point of the mountain. An extended search area of 7,5 Km on the higher Plato was done where we saw a potential clue as to what happened to the person at the top of a waterfall, causing the team to split into 2 groups of 5 where we searched the area on the upper waterfall and the other group in the area below the waterfall but found it was a pink sheet used for religious practices. The group that accessed the top of the waterfall then returned to the car park and the group that searched the lower area of the waterfall headed north on the lower Plato into a valley below a rock face and moved down the valley back to the car park completing a 21 Km hike for the day.

                            On the last day of the search the team was allocated the summit ridge from the point we ended on day 2 till the summit and then to search down the Western face of the mountain down to the ring road with the assistance of the military. We started at 08:00 and completed searching the area at 16:00 after having to cross the hardest terrain we had encountered all week.

                            On arrival at the base car park we met a TV crew from SABC 2 that took a brief statement, and were subsequently arrested by the police. We left the area as it became politically unstable and returned to Troutbeck hotel, which served as the base of operations for the week, situated +- 30 Km from Mt Nyangani.

                            The local Tribal Chiefs had decided that all Search and Rescue efforts had to be stopped for the next 30 days so they can do cleansing ceremonies on the mountain. The ceremonies are to get the mountain back to a state of peace as the mountain was 'angered' by all the searching and would not release the person till it was at peace again.

 

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