Masvingo, the home of the world famous Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Zimbabwe – meaning big house made of stone – derived its name from it in 1980. Historians and archaeologists are still excited about this place. Even if you despised history at school you will like the stories of these ruins.
They are surrounded by unanswered questions: Who built them? Where are the graves of the deceased leaders? Why was it abandoned? We advise you to take at least 2 to 3 hours for your visit, and make sure you hire a local guide: they are excellent!
On the other side of lake lies Mutirikwi National Park. It has its own charm, especially the viewing spots on the shoreline. It is an appetizer: once you have seen wildlife you want to see more ….
Masvingo itself has a typical relaxed and friendly atmosphere; some call it “the slowest town of Zimbabwe”.
Overnight in the legendary Norma Jean’s guesthouse, it is charming, it has lovely gardens, the food is good and the history of the house is written on the walls. All the stories and legends are related to the construction of the dam wall, providing a water source for the enormous sugar plantations in the Lowveld.
In Masvingo we have partnered with a local group of people called Chesvingo. We have created with them a guided walk through the communal lands, full of rolling landscapes between the Zimbabwe ruins and lake Mutirikwi. This walk takes you to various villages. Great views! It gives you a unique insight of the day-to-day live in rural Zimbabwe.
The walk is fairly easy, with good paths, and minimal height differences. The final part (to the last cave) is quite steep, but short. The last part is not recommended for big people and people who have trouble with walking on steep climbs.
This walks takes about 4 hours and includes lunch. Guiding fees are USD 10 per person.
“The place of Elephants” is a hidden gem. It is relatively unknown, though it is easily accessible by tarred roads. The last couple of years it is receiving more attention mainly because of the re-opening of the Chilo Gorge Lodge. Gonarezhou is a vast National park which is crossed by the Save, Runde and Mwenezi rivers. Superb wildlife in typical riverine bush.
Some local visitors go there for one reason only: to have a sundowner at the foot of the Chilo cliffs, it is a breath taking experience.
Save Valley Conservancy
In the early 90’s a group of 22 commercial farmers in this hot and arid region, led by the legendary Clive Stockhill, decided to stop farming crops and do away with life stock. They all agreed that game farming was a more suitable way to make use of the land. All inner fences were removed creating the biggest privately owned wild life area in the world.
Game farms are dotted all over the place, hosting visitors in a typical way what we call “Zimbabwean Farm Hospitality”.
If you like it hot, this is the place to go to.