Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe

Balancing Rocks in the Matobo National Park

Once back in Bulawayo, we visited Matobo National Park, where giant boulders teeter on top of one another in one of the most spectacular granite landscapes in the world. Since June 2003, this park has been named a World Heritage Site, and it is easy to see why, given its beauty and history. These huge boulders are the result of thousands of years of erosion.

Rhino hiding in the long grass

On our way into the park, we glimpsed the elusive rhino. This pair has been dehorned to protect them from poachers. Unfortunately, poaching is rife in Zimbabwe, often in connivance of those in government

We stopped off at a dam hoping to glimpse more game…

…but the dam was dry, and there was nothing but baboons

We were so happy that Michelle Keefe, who we met at Ivory Lodge, was going to be our guide. Her home is in Bulawayo, and she has studied the area extensively.

From the dam we drove to Nswatugi Cave, famous for its ancient cave paintings. The word Nswatugi is a   Karanga word, meaning the 'place of jumping'.  A local legend says God leapt from his home at Njelel Hill onto a nearby hill, briefly stepping on Nswatugi Hill, where he left his 'footprint' in the granite.

We climbed up over the granite rocks to reach the cave

Michelle was a mine of information about the cave

The paintings reflect the life of the San people,
the first inhabitants of this land that is now Zimbabwe

San hunters chasing a kudu

I especially liked these elegant giraffe

This lady can only be seen if you cast a shadow over her.
Michelle said she was a sort of calling card on the wall of the cave.

Michelle recounting the history of the San people as seen through their art

For the San people, dancing and music were very important. Through their ritual dancing, they could connect to the spirits of the world, helping them in bodily and spiritual healing, and success in hunting. Even today, this area is considered to be the spiritual home of Zimbabwe.

Walking back to the vehicles from the cave.

We were ready for lunch, so we put some steaks on the braai

Alison and Richard, waiting for lunch

Becca and Amy enjoying pre-lunch drinks

Barbs watching John, the braai expert.

David caught me tucking in to my steak roll. Yum!

This was our last trip with the Woltons. We were so sad to see them go, and hope to be able to catch up with them for more fun in the near future.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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