Tag : Matopos

A day trip to the Matopos…

I love it when people visit here – it gives me an excuse to go to the Matopos! Dave, whom I met on Facebook wanted to visit Mtshabezi Dam, cos I’d posted some pics a while ago.
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We decided to first visit the bottom of Lumeni Falls, since we had done the top (in the car!) last year. Here is a link to the photos I took then: https://frankiekayfotos.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/lumeni-falls/
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The Lumeni river falls off the southern end of the Matopos, tumbling down over rocks and ending up on the flat(ish) land in the Nswazi Communal Area. It eventually joins with the other big rivers in this area that finally flow into the green and greasy Limpopo.
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There are camping facilities, at the bottom, although pretty rudimentary! If you are looking to reset your biological clock – this is the place! From here, its about 500m until the climb to the top of the falls. I took some pics a while ago and you can see them here: https://frankiekayfotos.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/bulawayos-best-kept-secret-lumeni-falls/
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As usual, the trees got to me!
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This last one, taken at the bottom of the falls, towers over the campsite. The light was still pretty good, I liked the way it shone through the leaves of this tree.
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In the midmorning we took off for Mtshabezi Dam, stopping occasionally to take photos.
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Passing a scotch-cart, Dave noticed the boy driving it, pointed at the front of the car. A flat tyre!! I have never had a flat on this set of tyres, and felt a bit embarrassed that a visitor had to get down and dirty on what should be an enjoyable trip! Thank goodness that young chap pointed at my front wheel or I would have ruined a tyre. The roads in this part of the Matopos are not good and I was seriously debating cutting our day short and heading back to Bulawayo.
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I knew the drive over the spillway at Mtshabezi was very rocky and the AA doesn’t really get out there! You can see the road on the right of the photo approaching the dam!  I resolved to borrow a pump from a passing scotch-cart driver and do an emergency repair on the tyre (I carry repair plugs!) Well, we weren’t able to borrow one, instead, we bought one! For $4.00!! Whodathunk?P1290775
At a rural store in the wilds of Mtshabezi!
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Confident we could repair the puncture, if need be, we pushed on to the Mtshabezi Dam,. And once again, it didn’t disappoint! What a photogenic dam.
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I’m sorry if there are too many pics below – but I can’t resist sharing them with you!
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Later on, two blokes strolled over to collect their fishing boat:
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Gives you some idea of the size of the rocks towering over the dam.
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I went for a little climb to get some better shots of the dam from higher up. I wasn’t able to walk around the dam much, the rocks come too close to the edge. I’ll wait until I can get onto the water with our canoe.
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Of course…a tree overlooking the dam!
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More trees, and disobliging aloes! (Above)
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And then, at about 3.00pm we headed out, to drive back along the Old Gwanda Road to Bulawayo. A drive of more than 70km on what I expected to be a terrible road.
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The light was special by the time we got here…(A little weir close to the road.)
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And the trees –  to die for!
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There were a few aloes! But most of the red in this pic above, is from leaves – changing colours with the season.
We couldn’t spend as much time as we liked photographing this spot – I was worried about the long (and very bumpy drive to come.) And was doomed to disappointment – the road was being graded! Whoa – possibly the first time this century!
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School kids returning home also seemed to be enjoying the new surface!
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Whew – I wonder if the bike rider could see ANYTHING!
 
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This last photo I took hanging out of the window – letting the car drive itself!
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I hope I have not posted too many photos in one post. Please let me know what you think. We also visited Gulabuhwe Cave on this trip, but I do think I should make a separate post for that visit!
 
 

Rhodes' Grave…

Cecil John Rhodes is buried on top of “Malindidzimu,” in the Matopos. He called the place “Worlds View.” Although to be honest, I know of way better places to view the Matopos.
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Roughly translated Malindidzimu means, “Hill of Spirits,” or perhaps more specifically, “Place of Benevolent Spirits.”
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The view is pretty good from here.
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These two pics, above and below, are taken from a bench soon after the carpark (before the climb to the grave site.)
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I couldn’t resist this red tree – I had to get it into the photo somehow!
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And of course, when I was up there, had to go to visit old friends! (Above) I just LOVE this tree, although the Russian guy we gave a lift to, was not impressed with what I called a “tree!” I think he probably had more descriptive names in Russian, like “scrub” or “bush!”
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If you look carefully, there is a white cross on the top of that hill. It can also be seen at Maleme Dam (a fair distance from World’s View.)
 

Off to the store…

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I took this pic just after Silozwe School, on the way to the shops…
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Lines of stores such as these above are common in Zimbabwe at “centres” designated for shops by the councils. They open very early and close very late and most often charge exorbitant amounts for their products.
This one above is Silozwe business centre, the school a couple of kilometre up the road.

Matopos Rocks…

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Twins?
Two ducks? Or a lady-rock lying on her back!
You tell me!
Weird how many shapes one can see in the rocks in Matopos.P1280651
In some light, this rock seems to me to be a grumpy old man’s face!

Nswatugi Cave…

This cave is a favourite of mine – the climb is less than several others in the area, since the car takes you most of the way!P1280599
I was able to visit this old friend of mine on the way to the cave. I hardly ever go past here nowadays, as the road is so bad. I find it more efficient to climb up from the carpark below.
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We picked up a Russian guy at the main park gate (described as a ‘visitor to our country’ by the National parks rangers who asked us to give him a lift)  – poor bloke, I don’t think he knew what he was letting himself in for! Goggled at us chatting to our favourite trees and taking pics of rocks!

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REPS School, Matopos…

I’ve been wanting to take photos of this marvellous old school for some time. Built in the old colonial style, its white buildings are clearly visible when traveling to the Matopos.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodes_Estate_Preparatory_School
Pictured above are the boarding hostels which are now for both boys and girls.
P1260370.jpgThe wing on the left is the girl’s hostel, the main entrance on the right.
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What a lovely view from the hostels – the Matopos very close by – perfect playground for energetic boys at boarding school.
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Across the lawns is this stunning chapel. When I took the pic below, the sun was streaming into the round window in the front gable.
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Please excuse this pic! My interiors are not very good! Dito, the image below….the dining hall!
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I’m much better at taking exterior shots! This, below, is the dining hall at REPS.P1260373
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I didn’t realise that REPS was such a small school. From the Kezi Road, it seemed to be a large complex. In fact, many of the buildings belong to the Matopos Research Station. REPS only has about 120 pupils! Of which about 80 are boarders. The classrooms are built around a quadrangle, very much in the colonial style.
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The school hall (above.)
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This last photo is a building now used as a library. It’s built with iron sheeting walls. Anyone who grew up in Zimbabwe will recall these buildings – many of the government offices were initially built this way, as were railway housing, offices and sheds. This building is likely to be one of the oldest buildings in the complex.
I hope you enjoyed this walk around an historic school with me. If you did, please comment below or click the *follow* button to receive posts in your email.

Matopos Siding

Called ‘The Matopos’ this siding is no longer in use. Its close enough to the main Kezi Rd for a quick stop in…and the grove of trees nearby – wow – to die for!
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The siding is not far from the road leading in the Matopos Police station along this grassy track. You can just see the cattle loading ramp hidden in the trees. Built from thick steel bars, its still going strong, unlike the sign that used to read “The Matopos.”
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This view (above) is the one anyone hanging out of a carriage window would have seen as they approached the siding.
Cecil John Rhodes left a provision in his will for a spur line to be added onto the railway so people could visit the Matopos. Right next to this halt, a hotel was built for visitors and day trippers. I’m guessing it was wooden and got eaten by termites in time! On this website I found some photos: http://zimfieldguide.com/matabeleland-south/matopos-railway-terminus
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As I walked towards the siding I detoured into the grove of Umkhaya on my right.
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http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=125910
Click on this link for an Umkhaya tree.
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Evening colours in the Matopos…

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I took this pic on the side of the road leaving Maleme Dam in the Matopos National Park. The colours are good at this time of the year, but evening light always helps!
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Lichen on the rocks are very strong coloured this year, I’ve noticed. ‘Praps the good rainy season?
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The white flowers are on a wild pear tree – plenty of them around here
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Taken just before the turn off to Mshelele Dam.
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We didn’t have the time to go there! Didn’t feel like making a 22km bumpy ride on the road either!
For those of you who have never been to the Matopos – its a HUGE granite batholith that has, over time, worn away into massive boulders, some with balancing rocks, precariously waiting to fall! Its only about 30km from Bulawayo on a good road, so its easy to nip out for a braai and for me, the greatest thing about it, is you can get out of your car!!! Children are allowed to run free, climb the huge granite mounds, get in touch with nature. Wikipedia does a better job with the technical details!!!!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matobo_National_Park
 
 

Maleme Dam picnic site

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There are a line of picnics sites all along the banks…and this tree…awesome.
This is the view across the dam…
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In the late afternoon sun, the light shines through the leaves…
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This pic, above is taken sitting on the braai…
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Matopos vista…

These two photos are taken about half way up a kopjie in the Matopos very near to Lumeni Falls.
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People’s fields are laid out with contour ridges to stop erosion of the thin granite soils.
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With the heavy rains, the water slowly seeps out of these hillslopes and the bigger rivers they feed, run year round. Matopos is a lovely place for trampers and serious climbers.