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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Evening colours in the Matopos…

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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!

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Lichen on the rocks are very strong coloured this year, I’ve noticed. ‘Praps the good rainy season?

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The white flowers are on a wild pear tree – plenty of them around here

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Taken just before the turn off to Mshelele Dam.

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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!!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matobo_National_Park

 

 

Matopos vista…

These two photos are taken about half way up a kopjie in the Matopos very near to Lumeni Falls.

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People’s fields are laid out with contour ridges to stop erosion of the thin granite soils.

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With the heavy rains, the water slowly seeps out of these hillslopes and the bigger rivers they feed, run year round. Matopos is a lovely place for trampers and serious climbers.

 

Matopos Roads…

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Roads wind around the kopjies in the Matopos – some of them are HUGE.

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And sometimes when they cant do anything else, they have to go THROUGH a kopjie! In the photo above, the road has been paved.

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And here, the rocks have been blasted apart by dynamite!

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In the foreground, you can see our car tracks – here the road is where you find it!

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The “gateway to Matopos…”

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I took the above photo of the road directly in front of the car…

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Lumeni Falls…

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

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Lumeni Falls overlook Nswazi.

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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.

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Above is where it comes out of the boulders.

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And tumbles over the edge…

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Our guide for the climb…

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