5 Exciting & Educational Experiences For The Whole Family in the Matobo Hills.
PREPARE THE FAMILY for an awe-inspiring encounter, where visitors discover the ancient and modern history of Zimbabwe.
Nowhere else can you have a good time and yet still learn a thing or two in archaeology and even bio-diversity.
Located just outside of Bulawayo, south-west of Zimbabwe, the Matobo Hills will take you to a realm of memorable and educational experiences that allow you to see its rich natural diversity and culture that has been preserved for eternity.
1. Visit Rhodes Grave & Historical Sites
Stand in awe of a dramatic granite outcrop that provides a spectacular “view of the world,” as Cecil Rhodes, who is buried there, put it.
There are about 3 other sites; the Shangani Patrol Memorial , graves of Leander Starr Jameson and Allan Wilson and The M.O.T.H shrine, which are great starters of a discussion on Zimbabwe’s history for the whole family.
The burial of European Settlers at the summit of the Malindidzimu Hill is a great source of controversy in modern Zimbabwe as this is considered a sacred place by nationalists and indigenous groups. Malindidzimu, as local people called it, means Hill of The Benevolent Spirits.
2. See Rock Art and Bushmen Paintings
The paintings are evidence of evolving artistic styles and illustrate socio-religious beliefs dating back at least 13,000 years.
There are over 3,000 registered rock art sites, with the main periods of painting being between 320 and 500 C.E.
Combine this experience with a Culture trip to visit the present-day inhabitants of the Silozwe Valley.
The whole family will be dazzled by the modern-day tradition of painting the walls of mud huts. The villagers will be proud to give you a tour of their picturesque traditionally made homesteads.
3. Visit the Caves For A Lesson In Archaeology
If human history and prehistory fascinates you, then a visit to the many caves and crevices of the Matobo Hills will definitely be worth your while.
Excavations from the floors of Bambatha, Nswatugi and Pomongwe caves include; a human skeleton dating 42000 BC, Stone tools estimated to be about 20,000 years old, several hearths and bone fragments of game animals of various sizes.
These artefacts all reveal that the hills may have been inhabited by man for 100,000 years.
An iron age furnace along the route of Inanke cave is evidence of the arrival of the Bantu / Iron Age people in the area more than 2000 years ago.
4. Hike trails on the granite outcrops
Does the idea of an adventurous expedition with your loved ones spark your imagination? The Matobo Hills provides a myriad of opportunities to to get into nature on foot, amid some truly impressive scenery.
Walking through such an amazing theater of balancing rocks will definitely elicit inquiry into the formation of the landscape and consequently teach you the best geography lesson of your life.
Children and adults will be intrigued by this first hand experience of weathering and erosion that formed the kopjes and whale-backs that characterise the hills.
Doing something a little out of the ordinary , that requires some effort and forces you to explore in a more mindful way is a very rewarding way to travel.
5. Touch the wild.At least figuratively!
Literally attempting to ‘touch’ fauna and flora in the Matobo Hills may teach you the wrong lesson. It may be impossible, outright dangerous or may even get you arrested depending on the species.
You should indeed experience the rich bio-diversity of the area.
There are over 200 species of trees in the area, many types of rare endemic plants , wild herbs and over 100 grass species.
There’s a wide diversity of fauna too. 175 bird, 88 mammal, 39 snake and 16 fish species.
If you are curious about birds, mammals, arachnids (scorpions, spiders, mites), plants, reptiles and amphibians, insects and fungi, there is no better place to see and learn about them than in the Matobo Hills.