Zimbabwe National Park

Great Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans are rightly proud of the ancient city which has given the modern nation its name. Great Zimbabwe, a sprawling archipelago of carefully hewn stone, is conclusive evidence of a burgeoning African civilization which reached its apex long before the arrival of Europeans. Modern dating techniques indicate that the city was started around AD 1200, and lasted some three or four hundred years before it was abandoned.

Today the visitor can stay at a first class hotel on the perimeter of the site, and when the day's rambling around the ruins are over, relax in the swimming pool before enjoying an excellent evening meal to the sound of musicians playing on traditional Shona instruments. Masvingo town, twenty eight kilometers from this national shrine, is the provincial capital, a commercial and industrial centre, with hotels and other facilities for the tourist.

But it would be a great mistake to think that Great Zimbabwe is the only historical site worth visiting in the country. Just outside Bulawayo is the ancient capital of Khami, while in Midlands Province, the younger ruins at Regina, Dhlo Dhlo and Nalatale portray the true extent of the country's pre-colonial civilization.

Impressive as they are, these sites are by no means the oldest evidence of human habitation. From one end of the country to the other, rock paintings can be found dating as far back as 30,000 years. Zimbabwe's ancient rock art enjoys a worldwide reputation and demonstrates the close relationship which prehistoric Africans felt with the animal kingdom. Buffalo, zebra, kudu, elephant and rhino are all shown in abundance, reflecting a preoccupation with wildlife which echoes down the centureis, finding its latest manifestation in the tourists lucky enough to experience the rich and varied wonders of this truly amazing land.

Special thanks to the Zimbabwe Ministry of Enviornment and Tourism for providing this information.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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