These pages show you images of a two weeks stay in Zimbabwe in September 1991.
Images include Zimbabwe, Mount Nyangani, Nyanga National Park, Eastern Highlands, Nyangombe Falls, Bvumba Mountains, Bunga Forest Reserve, samango monkey, Birchenough Bridge, Zuongerai, Bottlestore, dzimba-dza-mabwe, dzimba-hwe, vervet monkey, Great Zimbabwe, Great Enclosure, Hill complex, Conical Tower, steam train, Bulawayo, David Livingstone, Zambia, Devil's Cataract, Rainbow Falls, Main Falls, Boaruka Island, Cataract Island, Livingstone Island, First Gorge, Mosi-oa-Tunya, Zambezi, Victoria Falls, Matobo National Park,Matopos Hills, kopje, Nswatugi Cave, kudu, giraffe, ostrich, warthog, klipspringer, white rhino, sable antelope, rock painting, White Rhino Shelter, Sidakwa Ncube, lizard man, Malindidzimu, World's View, Cecil Rhodes, Mbare musika, jacaranda, Harare
10 September 1991. Today we're going to climb Zimbabwe's highest mountain, Mount Nyangani (formerly Mount Inyangani). The mountain is located within Nyanga National Park in the Eastern Highlands, and one of Zimbabwe's oldest national parks.
Mount Nyangani lies in the centre of the park and from its flanks there's a great view over the rolling downland at altitudes around 1800-2000 metres.
At Nyangombe Falls the Nyangombe river dramatically tumbles over steep cliffs. Legend has it that washing your face with the water retards the development of wrinkles and washes away bad luck and curses.
The Bvumba Mountains ("mountains of mists") south east of Mutare have a high yearly average rainfall of 65 inches. The Bunga Forest Reserve protects an area of the resulting montane and cloud forest with unique flora.
The Bunga Forest also has a population of samango monkeys with its blue-grey fur and black markings.
From Mutare we travel over gravel roads towards Masvingo for a visit to the Great Zimbabwe ruins, a ruined city that was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country's Late Iron Age.
Approximately half way, we pass the tiny village of Birchenough Bridge, named after the nearby bridge over the Save River. One of its shops is Zuongerai's Bottlestore, situated in the shade of an imposing baobab.
Inside we meet with the friendly owner, Mr. Zuongerai. Although is supply his rather limited, we manage to buy some soft drinks before continuing our journey.
Further on the road to Masvingo, we stop in a tiny settlement where we're given a tour by our driver Henry. There are several kinds of thatched huts like storage huts, sleeping huts, kitchen huts.
The kitchen huts are the domain of women. The amount of pottery and plates show the owner's wealth. Cooking takes place on the ground and the roof is created in such a way that the smoke easily passes while rain doesn't.
Wealth is limited and not spent on kid's toys. So the kids make their own, like this car from metal wire and bottle lids.
The Great Enclosure, one of three distinct architectural groups in Great Zimbabwe, was occupied from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. It has walls as high as 11 m extending approximately 250 m, making it the largest ancient structure south of the Sahara Desert. At the height of its power, this was believed to be the place where the king, his mother and his senior wives lived.
The inner wall of the Great Enclosure shielded visitors from the interior and its inhabitants. This parallel passage stretches 70 m to the north shielding the king's domestic arrangements from the few privileged visitors invited inside.
The Conical Tower, 5.5 m in diameter and 9.1 m high, was constructed between the two walls of the Great Enclosure. The purpose of the Conical Tower is not clear and several purposes have been proposed.
The name Zimbabwe is derived from dzimba-dza-mabwe (large houses of stone) or dzimba-hwe (venerated houses). Artifacts and radiocarbon dating indicate settlement in at least the fifth century, with continuous settlement of Great Zimbabwe between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Nowadays there's consensus about its African origin.
The Hill Complex is the oldest, and was occupied from the ninth to thirteenth centuries. Originally a royal palace it seems likely that it later became the religious counterpart to the secular king's court in the Great Enclosure some 80 m below.
Vervet monkeys are a common sight on the Great Zimbabwe's camp site, waiting for their chance to snatch something edible from the camp site's campers.
From Great Zimbabwe we continue to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city after the capital Harare. Bulawayo was founded by the Ndebele king, Lobengula the son of King Mzilikazi kaMatshobana who settled in modern day Zimbabwe around 1840s after the Ndebele people's great trek from Zululand.
In 1991 there were still a lot of steam trains in operation in Zimbabwe, one being the trans-border train from Bulawayo to Francistown and Gaborone in Botswana.
So after a week traveling from Harare to the Eastern Highlands to Bulawayo, we board the train for a one and a half week visit to Botswana. The train gently rolls through the dry savannah lands passing tiny villages and settlements.
The black smoke from the steam train's engine is impressive especially when accelerating after a stop. Hanging outside of the window your face collects a remarkable amount of coal particles.
After one and a half week we reappear in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls, Africa's widest curtain of water located at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Mosi-oa-Tunya, or smoke that thunders, was first described by Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone in 1855.
Over a length of 1700 m the mighty Zambezi tumbles more than 100 m down into First Gorge. The falls are most dramatic just after the rainy season in May but the shear amounts of water at that time falling down makes this a very wet experience with almost no sight due to spray rising hundreds of meters up into the air.
The continuous quantities of spray and mist have created a lush and green rain forest opposite the falls with many birds and butterflies.
In September the falls are still much more than a trickle but at least the Zambian side of the falls can be seen quite easily and walking around is possible without experiencing a constant shower.
The Main Falls. The main streams are named, in order from Zimbabwe (west) to Zambia (east): Devil's Cataract (called Leaping Water by some), Main Falls, Rainbow Falls (with 128 m the highest) and the Eastern Cataract
View on the Main Falls seen through First Gorge from a viewpoint near the Devil's Cataract.
A statue of Dr. David Livingstone commemorates the "discovery" of the falls on November 16, 1855 which he made from what is now known as "Livingstone Island" in Zambia, the only land accessible in the middle of the falls.
Two present day inhabitants of the area surrounding the falls.
Apart from riding the rapids in a raft through the gorges downstream the falls, viewing the falls from above is also a pleasant way to spend time. In September, halfway the dry season, the eastern side of the falls has fallen dry.
In September, halfway the dry season, the eastern side of the falls has fallen dry.
The bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia spans Second Gorge. Initially meant to be part of Cecil Rhodes' Cape to Cairo railway Rhodes is recorded as instructing the engineers to "build the bridge across the Zambezi where the trains, as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls".
The Main Falls lie between Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island, bottom) and Livingstone Island (top), the place where Livingstone first saw the falls.
The whole volume of the Zambezi River pours through the First Gorge's 110-meter-wide exit for a distance of about 150 meters, then enters a zigzagging series of gorges designated by the order in which the river reaches them.
Main Falls and Horseshoe Falls (from left to right).
A herd of elephants in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, upstream of the Victoria Falls on the border of the Zambezi.
Marimba music accompanies dinner at the Victoria Falls Hotel. The hotel was opened in 1904 to accommodate passengers on the newly built railway and is dramatically situated, with a view of the Second Gorge and the Victoria Falls Bridge from its terrace.
Victoria Falls Station is the start of our train ride back to Bulawayo for a visit to Matobo National Park situated in the Matopos Hills.
The next day we visit Matobo National Park, famous for its randomly heaped boulders which have evolved in various forms over millions of years of weathering. The most impressive formation is known as the Mother and Child Rock.
Created by softer rocks being eroded away over millions of years, the remaining granite kopjes have been used as natural shelters since prehistoric times. The area is littered with caves and prehistoric rock paintings.
One of these prehistoric caves is Nswatugi Cave, covered with rock paintings from many animals like giraffes, several kudus, two duiker a white leopard and the outline of a zebra.
Detail of the rock paintings in Nswatugi Cave: a kudu.
Two giraffes painted in Nswatugi Cave.
Not far from Nswatugi cave and its painted giraffes, we find a live specimen, curiously watching us. Apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of Matobo is also a game park with a wide diversity of animals.
On our approach an ostrich runs away into the bush.
The warthog, identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards, is a wild member of the pig family. The lower pair becomes razor sharp by rubbing against the upper pair every time the mouth is opened and closed.
Klipspringers are smaller than most other antelopes. They can fit all four hooves on a piece of cliff roughly 30 mm in diameter. Their agility on rocks is so extreme that their most dangerous enemies are eagles and humans only.
Three more klipspringers examine the campsite in the early hours around sunrise.
A white rhino roams through the tall savannah grasslands. Matobo has been restocked with white rhinos from Kwa-Zulu Natal in the 1960s.
A lone sable antelope shows its characteristic curved horns. Many predators have been killed by sable antelopes using their horns in defense when being threatened.
Early San people (bushman) created the line drawings of game and hunters in White Rhino Shelter somewhere between 2.000 and 10.000 years ago.
Sidakwa Ncube, also known as the lizard man of Matopos Hills, is a remarkable character on the summit of Malindidzimu, the place where Cecil Rhodes is buried. Sidakwa is able to summon lizards and they eat from his hands.
Many of the lizards have beautiful colors with blue heads and green-yellow and red bodies. They range in size up to 30 cm.
Within minutes after Sidakwa starts calling the lizards, hundreds of lizards clamor over his shoes to get a piece of the mixture of corn meal and sugar that the lizard man rolls between his fingers. He says it took him 30 years before they trusted him enough to come to him for food.
The summit of Malindidzimu, also known as World's View was designated by Cecil Rhodes as the resting place for those who served Great Britain well in Africa.
"Here lies the remains of Cecil John Rhodes" an epitaph that suggests more modesty than Rhodes showed in real life as he tried to achieve British dominance in all of Africa.
The central bus station in Mbare, a high-density, southern suburb of Harare is the hub linking buses to all different destinations in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries.
Mbare musika is the largest farm produce market in Zimbabwe. Farmers deliver their fresh crops every morning and some travel from faraway places to sell their produce.
A piper band links Zimbabwe to its colonial times under British rule.
Purple flowering jacaranda trees dot the streets of central Harare. The abundant blooming of this tree is welcomed as a sign of spring.