Category : Ancient Ruins of Zimbabwe

Khami Ruins…

The ruins are very close to Bulawayo; an easy drive through the Western Suburbs and industrial sites. Well kept, the paths neatly cut with good signage, makes Khami a great place to spend an afternoon.


I’ve posted this pic first, because its the most impressive facade and the wall most people know at Khami.


I love the way the builders just included the rocks in the wall!


A slightly different view of the wall and right up above this section on the left, is this:


Thought to be built by the Portuguese, this cross was reconstructed in 1939, so it could have been any shape. The pic (below) shows the rock with the cross on it.


I’m always fascinated by the inhabitants of the Ruins of Zimbabwe! Wonder what they would tell us from stories passed down! I got sidetracked by this little guy!


He climbs down rocks – head first! Amazing little fella. I followed him around the rock until eventually he got sick of me and disappeared into a crevice.


This is a close up of a section of the steps – those holes must have held poles – but holding what up? Again, as at Great Zimbabwe, that mortar above the rocks is pretty hard wearing and its an aggregate, I’m told, almost as hard as cement. Perhaps large sections of the ruins were once plastered with this? Who knows?


This pic (above) shows those slots in the brick work …perhaps they held up a portico?


Like many of the other ruins in Zim, the walls are pretty thick with wide open doorways.


And they are often constructed in tiers, filled in with soil…


Would you believe when the settlers arrived, they built a dam – right over the top of this site????


As you can see, the wall has collapsed in several places, and unless the dam empties, it will be pretty hard to repair.


These two pics were taken from the “outlook point.”


Museum at Great Zimbabwe…

Yup, there is a cute museum at the Great Zimbabwe Monument, no pics I’m afraid, its strictly forbidden.

In the main section are scaled reconstructions of the ruins; history, artefacts found over the years, and then at the far end, a sort of cave with the Zimbabwe bird and the other sculptures found at Great Zimbabwe. Most of them were taken away, some to Germany, others to Capetown, although all but one, have been returned. Each one as a number assigned to it and a description of sorts. I can find no images of them on the internet, and I wish the museum, since they forbid photos, would produce a catalogue for visitors. A curator, who is probably a policeman too, stood at one side, checking we didn’t take any pics, or nick the Zimbabwe Bird.

Since I couldn’t take pics of the real one, I’ve inserted a stone sculpture by Arlington Muzondo; his version of a Zimbabwe Bird!!!! Arlington originally comes from Masvingo area, where he was born in 1974. Who knows, maybe he is descended from the people who carved the stones in the museum.


This sculpture, and about 35 others will be on his exhibition on the 22nd May 2016. Below is a detail of the lovely colours in the stone…


Directly opposite the soapstone display, in the Great Zimbabwe Monument museum, is a glassed display containing several smaller artefacts found at the Ruins. One, an object that looks sort of like a cow, but with lots of openings dotted about on its body.  Apparently the spirit medium makes a fire in there and divines depending on how the smoke goes…The curator told us its a very sacred, holy object and that if one should breathe in the fumes when lit, “things wouldn’t go well for you.”

(holy cow!!)

He continued… “And that,” he pointed to a grey stone dildo, about 6 inches tall, “is what older women used to teach young girls…” pointing to a pic of the conical tower added, “It is thought that this is a symbol of male dominance…”

Since I am unable to use the poster of the conical tower in the museum, I’ve put up one of my own. Can you believe the gargantuan effort that went into building THIS? And its just solid stone…it is not functional!


Looking back at the little dildo, and the rather larger one on the wall, I nodded, agreeing with him.

“Yes, I think you are right. Definitely phallic symbols, made by men, to symbolise their dominance. They have to you see.”

Clearly, the guy was puzzled. “They have to?”

I shrugged.

“Yes, of course. Women don’t need to go around building huge symbols in a desperate effort to demonstrate their power, they already know they are powerful. You see, women don’t need men.”

Clearly, a rather radical idea such as this, spoken so confidently, had never occurred to him, nor that twenty-four out of twenty-five men are redundant.

He most certainly couldn’t accept that a world run by women (with a few men allowed for fertilisation purposes) could possibly work.

It sure would be a very, very different one to that which we have today.

Would it be a better world? Who knows?


Some of the walls don’t have the same standard of building as the others…


I imagine a long ago artisan shaking his head over the deplorable standards of the younger generation!




In the Great Enclosure…

The walls are massive in the Great Enclosure, at Great Zimbabwe. In this pic (below,) one can see the way the walls were built and the height of some of them!


This is the doorway we came through…


I wonder if all of the walls were as high, here, only heaps of rocks remain.



I took a pic of this passage…


Before realising that it didnt give a good enough impression of the height of the walls..


This passageway leads to the conical tower…cant leave the ruins without a photo of the conical tower!


PS – love the tree! (Closeup, below)When I saw this tree, I immediately thought of Suki Viljoen who ruthlessly hugs trees in the UK while I take up the slack here in Zimbabwe!


Seems its not a tree – its a colony!

Ive posted this pic again, taken from the hill complex as a reference – the conical tower is not easy to see. (Its under the trees at the far left back of the Great Enclosure.)


Great Zimbabwe Hill Complex viewed from the bottom


See how well the stones buildings blend in with the rocky kopjie…


The above pic is taken looking through the walls of the Great Enclosure. The aloes in the foreground must look awesome at the right time of the year.


Stone entrances…

There are several stone entrances at Great Zimbabwe. This one on the Hill Complex.


Close up of the beams. What’s amazing, is that the beam is a cylinder and made of a different material to the walls. The rock they chose for that beam is pretty hard (probably serpentine.)


Considering they have a whole wall to hold up above, they would need to be!


Great Zimbabwe Monument…

Our client this week lives in Gutu, very near to Great Zimbabwe and also close to a friend whom I met via Facebook. So it was easy to plan a trip to Great Zimbabwe and the areas surrounding Masvingo. However, from Wednesday onwards, the temperature dropped and dropped (it was 13 deg C on Saturday!!!!!) and we awoke on Sunday morning to “Guti” the word that describes mist that occasionally hardens to rain. It doesn’t do much, by way of precipitation, and messes up my photos!


We went to Great Zimbabwe Monument anyway and only once or twice did I have to wipe moisture off my camera.


I wonder if the slight mist enhances the feeling of mystery one feels walking around the ruins.



I think, when I took this pic, (above) it was to show the thickness of the walls. The boulders are huge – look how tiny I am compared to the rocks in the photo below…




I took hundreds of photographs and will need to make several blog posts to do a decent job of showing the ruins. All of these are taken from the “Hill Complex.” In the pic above, you can see how the builders used the massive granite boulders to built into, and also how they often narrow down the paths into bottle-necks. I guess all security features.


Its only the climb up to the Hill Complex that is steep – once up there, the steps are mostly short, although the passages narrow.


Below is a short video of me walking through one of them!


The view of the “Great Enclosure” is pretty good from the “Hill Complex” and we used the “ancient path” to climb down.


Its quite a gradient and we had to pick our way carefully, especially as the steps were slightly wet.


Trees on the climb to Silozwane Cave

TreesTreesTreesI liked the shadows on the this rock, taken during the climb to Silozwane Cave. Whenever, I make that climb, I always am thankful for the views I can photograph! Boy, my calves nearly expire  half way up!

P1120601 P1120602 P1120603 P1120608 P1120610Cave paintings in Silozwane Cave

Old Gwanda Rd…

Old Gwanda RdThis view is from where we parked our car on our way to Gulabughwe Cave on the old Gwanda Rd – unlike most of the other caves with lots of ancient art, this one is not a fearsome climb! Its only about 20m off the road, and up a gentle slope. Gulabughwe CaveThis is (above) the entrance to the cave and the one below shows the strange ‘ship’ with the head of a giraffe and a tail like a scorpion and pictures of animals and people and half animal/people on its back! Gulabughwe Cave

Ntswatugi Cave, Matopos

Ntswatugi Cave, Matopos

Ntswatugi CaveNswatugi Cave is inside this hole in the rock. The trees were bright red and orange – just pulled me there.

Ntswatugi Cave

The climb to this cave is a bit of a challenge, but its cool in there amongst the rocks.

I love these giraffe…
Ntswatugi Cave

It’s hard to get all the paintings in with one shot. I took plenty and once I’ve fiddled with them a bit, joined them together, I’ll post them on a separate post.Ntswatugi CaveOn the way back to the car, we got sidetracked by a lovely little rock garden:

Ntswatugi CaveThe view isn’t bad either…

Ntswatugi Cave

Ntswatugi Cave