The rains…

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:

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The red colour are the calyces  – turning yellow within a month:

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Both these pics are taken at much the same time of the day, and from the same rocky outcrop.

 

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Umkhaya Trees…

This year the Umkhaya trees are magnificent.

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In September each year, new leaves burst out bright red, all in a couple of weeks. At much the same time, the yellow flowers provide food for thousands and thousands of insects.

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Walking under this canopy, they buzzed overhead constantly. This photo (above) is taken with strong afternoon light angling in from the left – almost bleaches the strong colours.

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This photo, below, is taken looking towards the Matopos Research Station fields, and the lower areas of REPS school. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodes_Estate_Preparatory_School

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Quite a number of my friends went to REPS, as did my father in law. He said it was rather prison like!!! I climbed a small kopjie and took this pic (below) of the school and research station in the distance, the grove of umkhaya trees in the foreground.

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Back in the day, boys who went to REPS were allowed to roam all over this part of the Matopos – I’m not sure if they still do.

Back when we were farming, we used to go to field days held at the Matopos Research Station. Beat standing at the dip!!!

http://www.drss.gov.zw/index.php/2013-02-12-12-32-56/matopos-research-station

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That rock is calling me to climb it!

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P1250334Umkhaya trees are Acacia Galpinii https://www.feedipedia.org/node/352

 

Matopos Siding

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!

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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.”

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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

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As I walked towards the siding I detoured into the grove of Umkhaya on my right.

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http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=125910

Click on this link for an Umkhaya tree.

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