Travel: Zimbabwe


Words and image by Rena Bauer

Granite Castles and Ringing Rock

Zimbabwe – the “House of Stone” − is one of our favourite countries in southern Africa, despite its turbulent past and difficult present. It really is very different from its neighbours. We have, in the past, spent a lot of time here; have crawled around in the remotest corners, and simply fallen in love with scenery and inhabitants alike; but within this country there is one place of outstanding beauty and scenery that holds a special kind of attraction. Matobo National Park.

Meeting up

Can you rely on a person who has no mobile phone, no email address or any other nod to 21st century technology? This was the question Andrea and I were asking ourselves as we entered Zimbabwe through the Plumtree border and made our way towards Bulawayo, capital of Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland. We were there on the recommendation of Graham and Bianca, two extraordinary people touring southern Africa in a Land Rover, whom we had met in Hlane National Park in Swaziland. Graham had claimed to be the grandson of Cranmer Kenrick Cooke, a Zimbabwean archaeologist who had discovered and analysed San cave paintings in the – then − Rhodesia, and had written various books on the subject.

We’d been a bit doubtful, but had agreed to meet up with them at the municipal campground in Bulawayo on a certain date. We had planned to take a closer look at Matobo National Park together, as Graham had often been there as a young boy and knew a few lesser-known corners of the park. However, there had been no connection with them in between; we had just Graham’s word that they would be there.

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