Masvingo Journals

Great Zimbabwe - the city that named a country

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An April 2003 trip to Masvingo by SaraP

Great Zim - the Great Enclosure  Photo, Masvingo, Zimbabwe More Photos
Quote: Just outside Masvingo, c.300km due south of Harare, lies this 11th century ruined stone city, the largest group of stone buildings in Africa south of Cairo. Home to kings, witches, shamen, and now an UNESCO heritage site, it's not to be missed.

Great Zimbabwe - the city that named a country

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Overview

Great Zim - the Great Enclosure  Photo, Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Quote:
On independence in 1980, Zimbabwe took its name from the Shona for "houses of stone" and this site which bears the same name has many well preserved specimens and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The largest ancient stone settlement in the sub-Saharan area, it boasts impressive hilltop ruins with a great view across the plains, several large-scale "enclosures", parallel walls 6-7m tall with barely a metre to separate them, and all constructed without mortar of any kind. This encampment forced scholars to re-think the technical abilities of the south african dwellers of the 11th century, and it's still standig today. Sunrise or better yet sunset over or from the hilltop is not something you will fo...Read More

Inn on Great Zimbabwe

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Hotel

Quote:
A more down-market option for staying near to the Great Zim site is the Inn on Great Zimbabwe, bookable by phone or fax (fax: 65083) -- they don’t seem to know what to do with you if you turn up on spec. The rooms are in two- or three-roomed caravans (car-parking space outside your immobile home), stretched out along the private inner road, which you walk along to get the main building with reception and dining room for breakfast and dinner. As with the lodge (see above), half-board is the norm (although people did arrive very late and presumably didn’t get charged for dinner, so just B&B may be an option). Rooms are fairly spartan, but clean enough with hot (ish) and cold water, but the ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 6, 2004

Inn on Great Zimbabwe

Masvingo, Zimbabwe
64879

Lodge of the Ancient City

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Hotel

Quote:
It's part authentic ruin, part Disneyland (fortunately the former dominates although occasionally there's a touch that makes you smile). The attempted effect is to evoke the atmosphere of the surrounding countryside and ape the Great Zim ruins (which you can see for real from the terrace). It comes off pretty well in general - each chalet is in an individual thatched circular house with a passageway from the main path made with ingeniously deceptive parallel walls. The chalet itself is divided between an enormous bedroom (2 double beds each) a well appointed bathroom in the back part, with a jungle-esque decor and tribal shields on the walls. The dining room (off the little p...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 14, 2003

Lodge of the Ancient City
Mutirikwe Road
Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Out and about near Great Zim

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Story/Tip

Quote:
It’s a long way to head down to Masvingo for great Zim, so what else is there in the area? The main jumping off point for the World Heritage Site at Great Zimbabwe is Masvingo (28km away from the entrance). Frankly, it’s a rather unprepossessing spot, a dry and dusty mining and farming town for most of the year; if you visit in September, you'll at least see the purple jacarandas and scarlet poinsettias which set the streets alight. Originally Fort Victoria, it was the site of the first white settlement in the country, not surprisingly named after the English Queen. Present-day Masvingo is the hub of an active mining district, producing a large variety of minerals (asbestos, chrome, li...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 2, 2004

Serima Mission, Masvingo Road

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Story/Tip

Serima Mission, Masvingo Road  Photo, Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Quote:
On the way to Masvingo, the Serima Mission (pass through Chatsworth, turn left at the small dam and drive straight for about 25km) is a jewel - it's run as a school and also a sort of adult halfway house. The pretty little Church of Our Lady attached to the mission contains some fantastic carving (font, candlesticks, lecterns) and marquetry, set into the walls, of biblical scenes. It's quite a trek through the countryside to get there but you'll pass through lovely countryside and pick up the sights and sounds of life going on way outside the cities (and villages). At the mission, the nuns are welcoming (they don't seem to get many visitors and make the most of you) and well informed ...Read More