16.03.2009 - 17.03.2009 20 °C
Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Masvingo
Intriguing 13-15th Century ruins that gave Zimbabwe it’s name - Shona word ‘Zimba woye‘, meaning ‘esteemed houses’. Built on huge boulders high on a hill our enthusiastic guide told us how the king would have had maybe 200 wives! It was the capital of the great African Bantu civilisation supporting a population of 20,000 and deemed to be the greatest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa.
Eastern Highlands (Masvingo to Mutare)
Being the end of the rainy season the rural landscape of the Eastern Highlands is lush. Picturesque rocky hills rise out of green fertile valleys and the road is surprisingly good during the 3 hour drive through this narrow strip of mountain country where we maybe see only a half dozen other vehicles. Small family settlements consist of 1 or 2 circular thatched huts nestled among abundant trees, each hut no bigger than an average 12 seater dining table. The ochre earth immediately around the houses is immaculately swept and surrounded by stick fences presumably put up to keep out the few remaining livestock.
Abundant maize crops provide the staple Zim diet of Sadza and are occasionally punctuated with plots of sunflowers standing like sentries all facing towards the sun. The sparse population, recently severely hit by the cholera epidemic, quietly goes about their subsistence existence. Women adorned with colourful headscarves, balance containers on their heads and babies securely strapped to their backs, wash clothes by hand in the streams. This mountain country makes up Manicaland doesn’t disappoint. The natural landscape is beautiful and the police roadblocks are plentiful, but the wildlife is non-existent and the life here must be very very hard.