Zimbabwe Landmarks

Zimbabwe Landmarks

Matobo National Park

Rust-red granites and bizarre rock formations

The Matobo National Park is located in Zimbabwe around 50 km south of Bulawayo. It was founded in 1926, making it the oldest national park in the country. The national park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003.
The wild and bizarre landscape of the approx. 3000 square kilometers large Matobo National Park is determined by forest and granite hills that were formed millions of years ago. These hills have also given the area its name: the term “Matobo” means “bare heads”.
The shape of the rock is unique and fascinating. With a little imagination you can recognize many different figures such as the “mother with child” or the “camel”. So it is not surprising that the impressive landscape has great cultural significance for the people of the region.

An approximately 100 square kilometer large part of the Matobo Hills was demarcated from the rest of the area as a game reserve and serves as a habitat for numerous wild animals. Rhinos such as the black and white rhinos can also be seen here. Other animals that live in the park include giraffes, zebras, hyrax, wildebeest, antelopes, hyenas, leopards, warthogs, baboons, lizards and a variety of rare bird species.

A place with historical significance

The British colonial politician and entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes, after whom Rhodesia, today’s Zimbabwe, was named, is buried in Matobo Park. His bones lie high up on a granite hill, surrounded by small, almost spherical rocks. Cecil Rhodes called this extraordinary place “View of the World”, not least because of its breathtakingly beautiful view.

The best travel time

The Matobo National Park is one of the most famous parks in the country and can be visited all year round. Very nice walks can be undertaken in the area. The winter months from April to August are pleasant and dry. A visit can also be combined very well with other fascinating sights such as Victoria Falls.

Khami ruins

The Khami ruins in Zimbabwe are not far from the provincial capital Bulawayo, the second largest city. The city of Khami grew as Greater Zimbabwe from the 11th century and, as the center of power of the Munhumatapa Empire, attracted traders from the Arab world as well as traders from Europe and Asia. Today the sand-colored remains of the buildings inspire visitors from all over the world and are among the oldest stone buildings in Africa.

As one of the most impressive sights in the country, the Khami ruins are often referred to as the “Acropolis of Africa”. A visit should be part of every study trip through the African country, because it was once the seat of kings and one of the most important trading centers on the continent. The city of Greater Zimbabwe had its heyday between the 11th and 15th centuries and at that time it had a population of up to 18,000. It was not until the 17th century that the town became less important, as the trading center moved to Danangombe and the trading town was gradually abandoned.

World Heritage in Africa

Those who visit Khami today can still recognize the former importance of the city today. The extensive palace complex is enthroned on the hill above the settlement and large terraces and parts of the city are clearly visible. Anyone wandering through the remains of the former model city will get a feel for the hustle and bustle that once reigned here. In 1986 UNESCO made the Khami ruins a World Heritage Site, which resulted in increasing interest in the former trading town. If you walk between the granite blocks and hillside ruins to the castle ruins today, you will encounter lizards enjoying the sun here and monkeys who climb the muhache trees between the stones and let themselves be seduced by the sweet fruits. Even if the Khami ruins take you into the past and have a moving history,

Greater Zimbabwe

Enigmatic stone building in southern Africa

A trip to Greater Zimbabwe is one of the “must have seen” on a trip to Zimbabwe. The imposing ruined city, 240 kilometers south of the capital Harare in the Masvingo province, which is ideal for cultural and study trips, has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986 and symbolizes the independence of African culture.

Legendary Greater Zimbabwe

There are numerous legends about the origin of Greater Zimbabwe. The European explorers, who often followed the call of gold, refused to believe that an African civilization could produce such a cultural feat. The Briton Cecil Rhodes attributed the construction of the stone structure to the Phoenicians, while the German Karl Mauch even believed he had found the gold country Ophir mentioned in the Old Testament.

Witness to a unique high culture

During its heyday (11th to 15th centuries), up to 18,000 people lived in Greater Zimbabwe, who mainly farmed cattle and traded gold and long-distance. The capital of the lost Munhumutapa empire today consists of the great enclosure, the hill complex 80 meters higher and the smaller valley ruins. Their builders did not use mortar. They achieved the stability of the walls by precisely laying the stone shapes that matched one another. The oldest part of the ruined city is the complex built on a granite hill with nested passages and rooms. Inside the almost 11 meter high outer wall were round huts made of earth, clay and gravel. Behind the 255 meter long elliptical wall enclosure of the great enclosure, which also surrounded huts, the 10 meter high conical tower rises up. Even if there was no treasury in it, it still hides many archaeological mysteries.

Museum treasures

The archaeological finds of the ruined city can be admired in the local museum. In addition to the royal treasure, the eight famous soapstone birds are outstanding finds. These half a meter high sculptures, which hardly look like real birds, performed spiritual functions during the heyday of the empire.


Zimbabwe has numerous natural beauties ready and is an ideal destination for a study trip. A visit to the caves in the Matobo Mountains is particularly attractive. One of the most beautiful and, due to its location, less frequented caves is the Silozwane.

In the footsteps of the natives

As a natural cave, the Silozwane Cave was already used by the Sans 50,000 years ago. The cave is worth a visit just because of its unusual size, but what is really special about the cave are the rock paintings on the walls, which go back to the native inhabitants of Africa. The Silozwane Cave is known for the variety of its rock carvings, because in addition to detailed small drawings there are also 1.5 m high representations of people and giraffes. The numerous landscape and animal motifs are remarkable, but of course many scenes of everyday life were also captured on the cave walls. It is also known that the place was used for ceremonies, especially rain ceremonies have been carried out here regularly over the centuries.

Away from the Matobo National Park

A visit to the Silozwane Cave should not be missed on any trip through Zimbabwe and yet the cave is more of an insider tip for travelers, because it is outside the Matobo National Park, where there are also some caves with rock carvings, some of which have been destroyed out of ignorance. The trip to the Silozwane Cave is recommended due to the unchanged cave walls, which make the cave one of the most impressive caves in the country. It is only a few kilometers from Maleme and Bulawayo. In order to reach the cave a 900 m long ascent has to be accepted, so that the number of visitors is limited here. Those who dare to climb will not only be touched by the art of the indigenous people, but also by a magnificent view over the vast land of Zimbabwe.

Matobo National Park Zimbabwe

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