Tag Archives: Matopos

MAJESTIC MATOPOS – WORLD HERITAGE SITE


Despite all the political nonsense that goes on in and around Zimbabwe, the beauty of the land remains largely unchanged.  We spent a happy day visiting one of our favourite spots close to Bulawayo, the Matopos . Nothing much had changed over the years, apart from a smart new entrance gate to the National Park, and the request for a payment of US$10 a head, to enter.  In days gone by we simply hopped into our cars and drove out there. I’m happy to say it was designated a World Heritage Site in 2003.

Our first stop was at the M.O.T.H. shrine, which was in reasonably good nick.  On our drive up to Bulawayo I noticed that the M.O.T.H. cottages (a retirement home for old soldiers) still seemed to be in operation just outside of the small town of Essexvale / Esigodini.

Alison at the gate to the MOTH Shrine, Matopos

The MOTH Shrine has huge trees in the gounds:

The beautiful shady patterns of the giant fig trees

Part of the pleasure of visiting the Matopos is “just being in the bush”.

Dry river bed, with neat piles of thatching grass piled on the roadside

The pale blonde winter grass is harvested everywhere for use as thatching.

The ranges of hills, with their jumbled rock formations, seem to go on forever.

Typical koppie in the Matopos

Balancing rocks can be seen everywhere

And of course, we paid a visit to World’s View, the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes.

He chose to be buried in the actual rock, atop a giant whaleback formation, deep in the Matopos.  The ascent is steep, to say the least.  I was hauled up by John and Helen, and levered down with the help of Eugene and John – thank goodness for big, strong men!

Boulders at the top indicate grave site

It doesn’t look so steep from the pic above, but believe me, it is!  When I left Zim in 1978 I could whisk up to the top in a flash, barely out of breath; thirty years and one hip replacement later, it was quite an effort.

Alison & Laura next to the grave

This must be one of the most dramatic burial places in the world.

Brilliant yellow, orange & ochre lichen on the rocks at World's View

Lichen covers many of the rocks at World’s View, in brilliant acid yellows, ochre, and orange.

And then there are the brilliantly coloured lizards that dart under the boulders

What a beautiful day it was – the Matopos is one of my favourite places. I’ve been lucky enough to see quite a bit of the world, and I think the Matopos equals the American Grand Canyon – not in size, but in inspiration, and the grandeur of its natural beauty.

Many thanks to Laura van der Merwe for her photographs.

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