A day trip to the Matopos…

I love it when people visit here – it gives me an excuse to go to the Matopos! Dave, whom I met on Facebook wanted to visit Mtshabezi Dam, cos I’d posted some pics a while ago.

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We decided to first visit the bottom of Lumeni Falls, since we had done the top (in the car!) last year. Here is a link to the photos I took then: https://frankiekayfotos.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/lumeni-falls/

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The Lumeni river falls off the southern end of the Matopos, tumbling down over rocks and ending up on the flat(ish) land in the Nswazi Communal Area. It eventually joins with the other big rivers in this area that finally flow into the green and greasy Limpopo.

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There are camping facilities, at the bottom, although pretty rudimentary! If you are looking to reset your biological clock – this is the place! From here, its about 500m until the climb to the top of the falls. I took some pics a while ago and you can see them here: https://frankiekayfotos.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/bulawayos-best-kept-secret-lumeni-falls/

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As usual, the trees got to me!

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This last one, taken at the bottom of the falls, towers over the campsite. The light was still pretty good, I liked the way it shone through the leaves of this tree.

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In the midmorning we took off for Mtshabezi Dam, stopping occasionally to take photos.

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Passing a scotch-cart, Dave noticed the boy driving it, pointed at the front of the car. A flat tyre!! I have never had a flat on this set of tyres, and felt a bit embarrassed that a visitor had to get down and dirty on what should be an enjoyable trip! Thank goodness that young chap pointed at my front wheel or I would have ruined a tyre. The roads in this part of the Matopos are not good and I was seriously debating cutting our day short and heading back to Bulawayo.

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I knew the drive over the spillway at Mtshabezi was very rocky and the AA doesn’t really get out there! You can see the road on the right of the photo approaching the dam!  I resolved to borrow a pump from a passing scotch-cart driver and do an emergency repair on the tyre (I carry repair plugs!) Well, we weren’t able to borrow one, instead, we bought one! For $4.00!! Whodathunk?P1290775

At a rural store in the wilds of Mtshabezi!

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Confident we could repair the puncture, if need be, we pushed on to the Mtshabezi Dam,. And once again, it didn’t disappoint! What a photogenic dam.

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I’m sorry if there are too many pics below – but I can’t resist sharing them with you!

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Later on, two blokes strolled over to collect their fishing boat:

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Gives you some idea of the size of the rocks towering over the dam.

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I went for a little climb to get some better shots of the dam from higher up. I wasn’t able to walk around the dam much, the rocks come too close to the edge. I’ll wait until I can get onto the water with our canoe.

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Of course…a tree overlooking the dam!

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More trees, and disobliging aloes! (Above)

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And then, at about 3.00pm we headed out, to drive back along the Old Gwanda Road to Bulawayo. A drive of more than 70km on what I expected to be a terrible road.

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The light was special by the time we got here…(A little weir close to the road.)

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And the trees –  to die for!

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There were a few aloes! But most of the red in this pic above, is from leaves – changing colours with the season.

We couldn’t spend as much time as we liked photographing this spot – I was worried about the long (and very bumpy drive to come.) And was doomed to disappointment – the road was being graded! Whoa – possibly the first time this century!

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School kids returning home also seemed to be enjoying the new surface!

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Whew – I wonder if the bike rider could see ANYTHING!

 

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This last photo I took hanging out of the window – letting the car drive itself!

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I hope I have not posted too many photos in one post. Please let me know what you think. We also visited Gulabuhwe Cave on this trip, but I do think I should make a separate post for that visit!

 

 

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Zebula trees…

As usual, I can’t resist trees, and at this time of the year (as it gets cold) they are changing colour. I was lucky enough to spend a week at Zebula (near Bela Bela, in Limpopo in South Africa,) and went wild over the trees.

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This tree was right outside the entrance to the unit we stayed in. I took a pic of this tree more than once, at different times of the day. I just LOVE the feathery, delicate colours!

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And this red colouring? It stands out against the golden grass.

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Sometimes its the shape that gets me…

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This last pic was taken at sunset while on a game drive. Thats the nice thing about Zebula – its been stocked with game – and there are golf cart tracks all through…I LOVE whizzing around in a golf cart, and the game are so used to you, they don’t run off.

 

Sand Olive…

I came across this tree near the Enzamalanga trig beacon in Esigodini. The area is very rocky and crisscrossed with paths and tiny roads used by small miners and people who are called Tshekedsha (the name comes from the sound made when the sieve is shaken during the gold panning process.)  Most Tshekedsha are illegally mining and they make quite a mess of the environment.

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http://www.randomharvest.co.za/South-African-Indigenous-Plants/Show-Plant/PlantId/140?Plant=Dodonaea%20angustifolia

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It looks a little like a combretum, but I’m told it isn’t.

It is often planted in areas that were deforested and so easily establishes itself here where the soil was bare and dug over.

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The cream colours of this bush show up strongly all along the hillsides at this time of the year…

Rhodes’ Grave…

Cecil John Rhodes is buried on top of “Malindidzimu,” in the Matopos. He called the place “Worlds View.” Although to be honest, I know of way better places to view the Matopos.

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Roughly translated Malindidzimu means, “Hill of Spirits,” or perhaps more specifically, “Place of Benevolent Spirits.”

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The view is pretty good from here.

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These two pics, above and below, are taken from a bench soon after the carpark (before the climb to the grave site.)

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I couldn’t resist this red tree – I had to get it into the photo somehow!

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And of course, when I was up there, had to go to visit old friends! (Above) I just LOVE this tree, although the Russian guy we gave a lift to, was not impressed with what I called a “tree!” I think he probably had more descriptive names in Russian, like “scrub” or “bush!”

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If you look carefully, there is a white cross on the top of that hill. It can also be seen at Maleme Dam (a fair distance from World’s View.)

 

Nswatugi Cave…

This cave is a favourite of mine – the climb is less than several others in the area, since the car takes you most of the way!P1280599

I was able to visit this old friend of mine on the way to the cave. I hardly ever go past here nowadays, as the road is so bad. I find it more efficient to climb up from the carpark below.

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We picked up a Russian guy at the main park gate (described as a ‘visitor to our country’ by the National parks rangers who asked us to give him a lift)  – poor bloke, I don’t think he knew what he was letting himself in for! Goggled at us chatting to our favourite trees and taking pics of rocks!

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