Cattle Loading Ramp…

Looking for Msasa trees, near Mbalabala, I came across this old loading ramp.


This place used to be part of a larger cattle ranch, (recently cut into much smaller acreages.)

Cattle destined for sale, would have been collected here, waiting for transport lorries to arrive.


Mbalabala Msasa…

I’m back! And I apologise for the absence – I decided to start a website, with the idea of selling some of my better photos. I was told not to post any more on this blog, as it would become redundant. As you will note, I even changed my logo on the bottom of my photos!

Several months down the line, and no website in sight, I’m back here, with some photos I took back then.


Mbalabala is a tiny town on the Johannesburg Road, about 70km from Bulawayo. The same massive granite of the Matopos can be found in this area, and these beautiful trees, that produce new leaf in the spring.


From bare branches spring new leaves that vary from orange, russet, yellow and red. Within a few weeks they are all green.


This grove of trees is clustered around a typical granite “kopjie” with classic rocks, and that lovely grey grass found along each crack.


It’s pretty slippery too! I nearly slipped to the bottom, taking pics of this rocky outcrop:


It’s hot and dry in Matabeleland now – and the only time I could get away, was at lunch time. Not the best time to take photos!

I climbed all the way to the top, in the blazing heat and was rewarded with this tree! In the distance there you can see the tiny town of Mbalabala.


If I’d slogged back up here a few weeks later, this tree would have changed colour to brilliant red, before finally turning green.


In this pic, you can see most of the colours to be found on the Msasa.


The dark tree trunks and the characteristic shapes contrast with the delicate leaves.


I leave you with a photo of the hillside opposite the one I climbed.



Called Balla Balla in pre-Independence days, Mbalabala has a few of the Matopos-like boulder/outcrops…(often called “Dwala” in the local language isNdebele) dotted about…

MbalabalaThe area we were working in is communal land, commonly called “makaya” or “homes.” People from this area are offered a place to grow their maize, graze their cattle and build their home, either by a local chief or the District Administrator.

MbalabalaWe were there to site a borehole for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Since a site wasn’t found immediately, and another survey was required, I decided to climb higher to get a better view…up here this hill is called Tshakambeba. (Not sure on the spelling on there!)


I stopped and took photos all the way up the hill. Hey – I need to breathe!


First stop was this lovely shady tree and flat rock to lie on!


The view facing north…Mbalabala


Half way up – I spied this tree…


It’s more of a  bush, although you cant really see that from this pic – only about two metre tall. The hills around Esigodini are clear on this photo, although seen from a different angle than usual.


Its a little difficult, crab walking along the rock surface



I made it to the top and the other side is an awful lot steeper than the one I climbed!


That road you can see down there comes out right at Mbalabla.


I’m pretty scared of heights, so I didn’t go any closer to the edge than this…


Going down isn’t that much easier than going up…esp when you have to stumble over these kinds of loose rocks. Very strange shaped rocks too – almost like salad bowls and meat platters on a giants’ lunch table!