Zimbabwe. June 2023.

 6.  Great Zimbabwe.

Mana Pools to Great Zimbabwe  

It took us a day and a half to drive to Great Zimbabwe, staying over at Kuimba Shiri for the night.  The road south from the entrance to Mana Pools was very busy with lots of trucks on a narrow tar road with very uneven edges - not pleasant driving.  As we passed through villages and towns there was plenty of activity with busy market stalls as well as people selling a variety of goods at the roadside.

As there is everywhere in Africa there were always plenty of people walking along the road.

It was good to see that some farms seem to be making a go of it.   

Great Zimbabwe

This was our third visit to this site but still facinating.  This time Dries had arranged for us to have a guide.  He was very knowlegable and we learned lots of new information.  

 The name Zimbabwe is derived from the Shona, dzimba dzemabwe, meaning houses of stone or stone buildings, today symbolized by the Great Zimbabwe Ruins which was a medieval African city.  It's  made up of 3 parts, the Hill Complex, the Great Enclosure and the Valley Ruins.

"The Great Enclosure is a walled, circular area below the Hill Complex dating to the 14th century. The walls are over 9.7 meters (32 feet) high in places, and the enclosure’s circumference is 250 meters (820 feet). The walls were built without mortar, relying on carefully shaped rocks to hold the wall’s shape on their own. Inside the enclosure is a second set of walls, following the same curve as the outside walls, which end in a stone tower 10 meters (33 feet) high. While the function of this enclosure is unknown, archeologists suggest it could have been a royal residence or a symbolic grain storage facility. It is one of the largest existing structures from ancient sub-Saharan Africa."  National Geographic.

This photo is taken from the Hill Complex and shows the whole of the Great Enclosure and some of the houses in the Valley Ruins.

Three of the following photos have people in them which helps to give an idea of the size of the walls.

As we were limited by time we didn't explore the Valley Ruins as some of us wanted to go up to the Hill Complex.

"The Hill Complex is  a series of structural ruins that sit atop the steepest hill of the site. This is generally believed to have been the religious center of the site. The Hill Complex is the oldest part of Great Zimbabwe." National Geographic.

 "The Hill Complex sits on a steep-sided hill that rises 262 feet (80 metres) above the ground, and its ruins extend some 328 feet (100 metres) by 148 feet (45 metres). It is the oldest part of the site.   The builders incorporated natural granite boulders and rectangular blocks to form walls up to 20 feet (6 metres) thick and 36 feet (11 metres) high."  Britannica.

This photo shows the Hill Complex from outside the Great Enclosure. 

 There are only a couple of routes up the hill and they are both very narrow - as are all the paths in the complex.  You can clearly see where the builders have used natural bolders when building the walls. From the top you have good views of the surrounding countryside.

Last updated: October  2023