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.


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/


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.


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/


As usual, the trees got to me!


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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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



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


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


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.


Of course…a tree overlooking the dam!


More trees, and disobliging aloes! (Above)


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.




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


And the trees –  to die for!




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!




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


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



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


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!




Lumeni Falls…


The views from Lumeni are varied, the dense tree cover providing shade for most of the walk.



Lumeni Falls overlook Nswazi.



The stream disappears under a heap of boulders for a couple of hundred metres and then almost immediately plunges off the edge of a huge boulder.


Above is where it comes out of the boulders.


And tumbles over the edge…


Our guide for the climb…



Matopos Views…


The tree on the left is locally called an “ihabahaba tree.” Monkey Bread tree (English name) is high in protein and can be collected and milled for cattle feed. With the very good season we’ve had, these trees are laden.


I love the tree colour that matches the rock above.


This photo was taken near to Zhilo school near Lumeni Falls.


Mostly the road in the Matopos keep to valleys, until they cant! Then they go through kopjies.




People walk far with large loads on their heads.



Wet Road…

Its rained a lot this year (unusual for Matabeleland!) This is a photo of the road we took to get to Lumeni Falls in the Matopos:


Yup – its that green! Unusual for arid Mat’land!) I had to keep to the right, skin next to the bolder to avoid a sharp drop near the fence.


This usually seasonal pool is still full of water!


This is at the top of Lumeni Falls – I love the huge bolder, balanced right at the edge – I wonder when it will topple over? I million years? One hundred?


Bulawayo’s best kept secret – Lumeni Falls

Lumeni Falls -006Lumeni Falls are in the Matopos – in the communal land south of the National Park. They don’t run all year round, and the view from there is spectacular. There are no signposts and the road is pretty horrendous…

The climb to the falls is fun – the last time we went, it was a lovely day: it rained and for a Matabele, rain is everything. Our (New Zealand) guest was impressed that it rained at all!

Lumeni Falls -007

The rocks are massive…the water disappearing for a time, before roaring out from under rounded boulders.

Lumeni Falls -005

I swear this rock should fall off with a gentle shove…mmm look at the next photo – it’s the same rock on the left. Maybe a little more than a shove!

Lumeni Falls -008

From the falls, you can see hills around Gwanda…far, far in the distance
Lumeni Falls -002

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I climbed down along a goat path. This is the view looking back up…see the tiny people?

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I took two pictures of trees at Lumeni…

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