In 1897, the railway line arrived at Bulawayo via Botswana. This little bridge (below) crosses the Matshemhlope River in Suburbs. Its no longer part of the railway system, but each time I cross it, I image the huge steam beasts that used to lumber over it regularly.
The railway line continued right past our house in Suburbs. Just think, when our house was built more than one hundred years ago, I could have just walked out of the front gate with my suitcase and traveled all the way to Cape Town!
There used to be a level crossing round about where the furtherest car is just rounding the corner. (As you may have guessed, I wanted a pic of that amazing tree, and just found an excuse to talk about the level crossing!)
At times, after a heavy storm, the water roars under this bridge covering over the grassy banks. In the dry season, the water stinks and driving over the road bridge with strangers in the car, I feel obliged to mention it’s the Matshemhlope!
The Matshehlope River is hardly a river – more a spruit one can hop over in many places. Starting at the Criterion Water Works, it winds its way through Bulawayo and eventually joins the Umguza River.
Its used as a water feature and “rough” where it flows through the Bulawayo Golf Course.
Looks like a jungle? Good luck finding your balls in there!
These two pics below are where you can hop over it…
Follow this tiny stream a few kilometres and yes – you get to the Hillside Dams!
As Matabeleland awaits the rains, it gets hot. Very hot. Even the wind is hot! Tar melts, the skies are relentlessly blue, and yet the trees have enough energy to bring out new leaves and flowers.
This pic below was taken on the last day of August:
The red colour are the calyces – turning yellow within a month:
Both these pics are taken at much the same time of the day, and from the same rocky outcrop.
This photograph is taken on Moffat Avenue, Hillside, Bulawayo. I’m guessing it was named after Robert Moffat, a missionary who came to Africa in the mid 1850’s. His daughter married David Livingstone – another famous missionary who worked tirelessly for the abolition of slavery. So he is fairly popular here!
Eish – check out THAT mandebvu!
This one is taken on Napier Ave. He was hot shot during the Matabele rebellion and buddy of Cecil John Rhodes.
I admit I took the above pic because of the tree hanging over Hillside Rd – which is one of the main feeder roads into the suburbs from town.
When the Bulawayo founders laid out our town, all in nice straight gridlines, they planted Jacaranda trees, especially in the old Suburbs – Northend, Suburbs, Khumalo.
Now, one hundred years down the line, the purple flowers make a spectacular show in the first week of October.
Cycle down the road, or drive with the window open and you can hear them popping under your tyres.
Along the older streets, branches have tangled into an arch overhead.
I took these photos early in the morning to catch the best light. Its also when children walk to school.
You can see them, all carrying their satchels full of schoolbooks.
This last one is taken from my driveway, looking South along Heyman Road.
African sun provides bright light and luckily to compensate, bright colours:
The next one are acacia flowers, fallen among aloes!
Called ‘The Matopos’ this siding is no longer in use. Its close enough to the main Kezi Rd for a quick stop in…and the grove of trees nearby – wow – to die for!
The siding is not far from the road leading in the Matopos Police station along this grassy track. You can just see the cattle loading ramp hidden in the trees. Built from thick steel bars, its still going strong, unlike the sign that used to read “The Matopos.”
This view (above) is the one anyone hanging out of a carriage window would have seen as they approached the siding.
Cecil John Rhodes left a provision in his will for a spur line to be added onto the railway so people could visit the Matopos. Right next to this halt, a hotel was built for visitors and day trippers. I’m guessing it was wooden and got eaten by termites in time! On this website I found some photos: http://zimfieldguide.com/matabeleland-south/matopos-railway-terminus
As I walked towards the siding I detoured into the grove of Umkhaya on my right.
Click on this link for an Umkhaya tree.
I took this pic on the side of the road leaving Maleme Dam in the Matopos National Park. The colours are good at this time of the year, but evening light always helps!
Lichen on the rocks are very strong coloured this year, I’ve noticed. ‘Praps the good rainy season?
The white flowers are on a wild pear tree – plenty of them around here
Taken just before the turn off to Mshelele Dam.
We didn’t have the time to go there! Didn’t feel like making a 22km bumpy ride on the road either!
For those of you who have never been to the Matopos – its a HUGE granite batholith that has, over time, worn away into massive boulders, some with balancing rocks, precariously waiting to fall! Its only about 30km from Bulawayo on a good road, so its easy to nip out for a braai and for me, the greatest thing about it, is you can get out of your car!!! Children are allowed to run free, climb the huge granite mounds, get in touch with nature. Wikipedia does a better job with the technical details!!!!