Top Ten Zimbabwean Attractions

Top Ten Zimbabwean Attractions

       Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. Zimbabwe has three official languages: English, Shona and Ndebele. Zimbabwe began as the British crown colony of Southern Rhodesia, created from land held by the British South Africa Company. President Robert Mugabe is the head of State and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Morgan Tsvangirai is the Prime Minister. Mugabe has been in power since the country’s internationally recognized independence in 1980.

  1. Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas

           Mana Pools is a wildlife conservation area in northern Zimbabwe constituting a National Park. It is a region of the lower Zambezi River in Zimbabwe where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season. As the lakes gradually dry up and recede, the region attracts many large animals in search of water, making it one of Africa’s most renowned game-viewing regions. Mana means ‘four’ in Shona, in reference to the four large permanent pools formed by the meanderings of the middle Zambezi. These 2,500 square kilometers of river frontage, islands, sandbanks and pools, flanked by forests of mahogany, wild figs, ebonies and baobabs, is one of the least developed National Parks in Southern Africa. It was saved from a hydro-electric scheme in the early 1980’s which would have seen the flooding of this subsequent World Heritage site. It has the country’s biggest concentration of hippopotamuses and crocodiles and large dry season mammal populations of elephant and buffalo.
    Links: National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mana_Pools_National_Park, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/302,
  2. Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls

           Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the Smoke that Thunders”) is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are the largest in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Natural Wonders of the World, Top Ten Waterfalls, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Falls, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/509,
  3. Matobo National Park

           The Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo or Matopos Hills, an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 35 km south of Bulawayo, southern Zimbabwe. The Hills were formed over 2,000 million years ago with granite being forced to the surface, this has eroded to produce smooth “whaleback dwalas” and broken kopjes, strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation. Mzilikazi, founder of the Ndebele nation, gave the area its name, meaning ‘Bald Heads.’ The Hills cover an area of about 3,100 km², of which 424 km² is National Park, the remainder being largely communal land and a small proportion of commercial farmland. The park covers some beautiful scenery including some spectacular balancing rocks and impressive views along the Thuli, Mtshelele, Maleme and Mpopoma river valleys. Part of the national park is set aside as a 100 km² game park, which has been stocked with game including black and white rhinoceros. The highest point in the hills is the promontory named Gulati (1549 m) just outside the north-eastern corner of the park. Administratively, Matobo National Park incorporates the Lake Matopos Recreational Park, being the area around Hazelside, Sandy Spruit and Lake Matopos.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matobo_Hills, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/306,
  4. Great Zimbabwe National Monument

           Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city that was once the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, which existed from 1100 to 1450 AD during the country’s Late Iron Age. The monument, which first began to be constructed in the 11th century and which continued to be built until the 14th century, spanned an area of 722 hectares (1,784 acres) and at its peak could have housed up to 18,000 people. Great Zimbabwe acted as a royal palace for the Zimbabwean monarch and would have been used as the seat of their political power. One of its most prominent features was its walls, some of which were over five meters high and which were constructed without mortar. Eventually the city was largely abandoned and fell into ruin. The ruins were first being encountered by Europeans may have been in the late 19th century with investigation of the site starting in 1871. The monument caused great controversy among the archaeological world, with political pressure being placed upon archaeologists by the then white supremacist government of Rhodesia to deny that it could have ever been produced by native Zimbabweans. Great Zimbabwe has since been adopted as a national monument by the Zimbabwean government, with the modern state being named after it. The word “Great” distinguishes the site from the many hundreds of small ruins, known as Zimbabwes, spread across the Zimbabwe Highveld. There are 200 such sites in southern Africa, such as Bumbusi in Zimbabwe and Manekweni in Mozambique, with monumental, mortarless walls and Great Zimbabwe is the largest.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Zimbabwe, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/364,
  5. Khami Ruins National Monument

           Khami is a ruined city located in what is now Zimbabwe. It was once the capital of the Kingdom of Butua. It is located 22 km west of the modern city of Bulawayo, capital of the province of Matabeleland North. Its ruins are now a national monument in Zimbabwe.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khami_Ruins_National_Monument, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/365,
  6. Ziwa National Monument

           Ziwa, or Ziwa ruins (formerly Van Niekerk ruins) is the name used to describe the remains of a vast late Iron Age agricultural settlement that has been dated to the 17th century. The site is located in Nyanga, Zimbabwe. Ziwa was declared a National Monument in 1946 and is currently under consideration for World Heritage listing. The site contains a large variety of stonework structures including stone terraces running along contours of hills and steep landscapes. Archaeological investigations have also engendered important aspects of pottery and rock art. Before the declaration of the site as a National Monument, Ziwa had been part of the commercial farms area and was thus under private ownership. A great deal of damage or degradation of antiquities may have been wrought during this period as the farmer used the property as a cattle ranch. Currently a site museum (with tourist facilities such as camping, guided tours, walking trails, bird viewing, etc.) has been established to represent the Ziwa heritage and other archaeological sites in the Nyanga district. Despite the abandonment of the site by its inhabitants in the 18th Century, Ziwa continued to be of significance to the later communities that settled in its neighborhood.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziwa,
  7. Links: Top Ten Zimbabwean Hotels, Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwe, http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/zw,