Bulawayo & Matabeleland

Bulawayo & Matabeleland

Bulawayo & Matabeleland – Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, home to more than a million people. It developed in the place chosen by the Matabele King, Lobengula as the site for his royal kraal. It received municipal status in 1897 and is the modern provincial capital of Matabeleland. It comprises the whole of western Zimbabwe from the South African border in the south to Victoria Falls in the north.

The city is well planned and is famed for its wide tree lined streets and is surrounded by beautifull parks, a legacy of Cecil John Rhodes. There are many fascinating historic buildings within the city that are maintained  as heritage sites by the Bulawayo City council and landlords.

Bulawayo houses the country’s main museum, the natural history museum, a railway museum, the Bulawayo Art gallery, which is housed in a most attractive turn of the century building, theatres, the Mzilikmzi Art and craft centre, good hotels and one of the smartest caravan and camping parks in Zimbabawe.

A short distance from Bulawayo is an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Matopas National Park, extending over 47 400 hectares. Here are the Matopas Hills, natural granite domes and castles where erosion by the elements has created the smooth rounded appearances of whalebacks. A road winds through the wooded kopjes (a popular Zimbabwe name for rocky hills) which are the favourite haunt of the magnificent black eagle.

There are incredible balancing rocks and the beautiful Maleme Dam. Giraffe are a common sight in the game park where they and the white rhino have been part of the landscape since the dawn of time. Ancient Bushmen paintings can be seen in caves and many early implements have been found dating back to the Middle Stone Age. The hills have a mystical attraction and renowned historical figures have chosen them as their final resting place, due to the “peacefulness and chaotic grandeur of it all”.

Cyrene Mission with its displays of richly carved furniture and splendid murals.

Twenty-two kilometers to the west of Bulawayo lie the 3 centuries old Khami Ruins National Monument, one of southern Africa’s magnificent Late Iron Age ruins (now an Unesco World heritage Site.) Khame was once the capital of the Kingdom of Butua of the Torwa dynasty for about 200 years from around 1450. The area is rich in minerals with numerous ancient mine workings. Surrounding the ruins is Mazwi Nature Reserve, where the visitor may walk, drive and picnic.

To the west is the Plumtree Border town leading to Botswana and to the east is a low-lying part where several large rivers with sources in the Matobo area drain into the mighty Limpopo which forms Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa.

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        Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage

        Umzingwane, Zimbabwe

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