Strangler fig…


A strangler fig of some kind, growing in the centre of a msasa tree, at Georges Place in the Vumba.


Growing in the centre bowl of the tree, it sends it roots to the ground.


One day, it may look like this one, at Milibizi Hotel!

Or this one that I could quite literally not fit into the camera frame:


Taken at Froggy Farm, in Juliasdale


I took the last photo near Hwange – a fig strangling a Mopane tree.



George’s Place, Vumba

The last time we visited in the Vumba, it was winter and jolly cold! We had stayed at the “Outside Inn” administered by Sally Preston. I guessed she would allow Lizzy to stay because animals had been very much in evidence; horses in the gardens, dogs and a lovely cat who deigned to lie on our bed!


I wrote about our visit to the Outside Inn a couple of years ago, here.

Sure enough, Lizzy and I were welcomed at Hivu Nurseries and allocated a HUGE room at Hycroft House, this time, with an on-suite bathroom, massive kitchen, sitting room etc.



Hycroft House, is definitely “pet friendly,”  as horses graze on the lawns, and Sally arrives surrounded by dogs, in her old farm bakkie! The cat who visited us last time, stared balefully at Lizzy and decided my pet standards had definitely slipped!

At the reception I was given a map with directions to “George’s Place” where I was told I would find a picnic spot, and msasa trees, overlooking the Bungu Forest.


The look-out is on a precipice, with magnificent views in three directions.




All these photos (above) were taken in the evening. The following morning, I returned before sunrise and took some more.

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The blue light in these photos contrasts with the dark red foliage of the Msasa.

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It was magical walking under this canopy…





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.

Tree canopy

There is something primal about a tree canopy and it’s difficult to capture in an image.

This one, in Vocolo, Filabusi covered the road and gave me that cozy feeling you get from a shady tree overhead. I love the little dark window, calling…


I couldn’t resist sitting under this one.

Msasa Trees

I wonder if humans evolved under this kind of canopy. I can quite see myself living here…

Msasa Trees

Then…sitting there, I saw this…!

Msasa Trees

Tell me this tree doesn’t talk to you? Call you? Well it did me!

Msasa Trees


And how is this arch of trees as in invitation to Matopos?


This (below) is a tree very near to the orbicular granite site at Diana’s Pools in the Matopos.Matopos Tree

Matopos TreeI also have a writing blog. Please take a look:


Changing seasons…

Its amazing how different the same place looks at different times of the year, even times of the day.  Looking at this photograph it’s almost impossible to imagine this can be of Matabeleland, usually dry and dusty.

This rock is such a feature in the area. From above (at the trig beacon) or below in the valley, you can’t miss it.


Then, a little later, the sun comes up over the hills catching the brilliant reds and oranges of the Msasa Trees.  Look how it sticks out, stark white in the early morning light…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below, is the same rock, but taken from the trig beacon high above looking along the valley towards the Zinjanja Ruins.Bonnybrook Trig beacon

It’s December in this picture, (above) the grass green and lush, even the trees have green leaves. Same view below taken in October, taken when it was SO hot we could hardly breathe! In October, here in Matabeleland, it’s very hot. Regina Ruins are on the top left of the photo…Bonnybrook Beacon-004

In spring, the trees here come out in new leaf – brilliant red, orange, even yellow. They fade to green in a few short days and remain pretty boring for the rest of the year!

Mgondi LeavesBelow is the same view – the picture taken down in the valley, very early in the morning – looking towards Regina (Zinjanja)  Ruins.




Very early morning in Matabeleland…

Very early morning in Matabeleland…

I wanted to take photographs of one of my favorite places in the world. I tried in the late afternoon, but it just didn’t come off. Although the light was good, it shone on the wrong side of the valley. I woke up early, drove up there and…below are the pics:

At this time of the morning, this chunk of rock hardly shows up – as soon as the sun comes up, it is stark white against the trees.

This view is looking towards the Zinjanja Ruins, probably better known as Regina Ruins.  I was blessed by a herd of very early morning cattle, who made their way slowly up the valley towards the burnt patch. I love that smell cattle have when they are peacefully munching…

Don’t you love the tree in the foreground in the picture above? Only in Africa!

The sun began to slowly throw shadows over the valley, the trees became greener, and the chill dissipated.

I sat under this little grove of trees with my flask of tea – the red/orange/green canopy, the rock seat – all made the tea that much nicer – and of course, the condensed milk – tea, drunk in the great, silent outdoors is not the same unless its made with condensed milk.

Mgondi Trees in August

Mgondi Trees in August

Mgondi TreesI really wanted to capture the Mgondi trees in leaf. In some years they put on a marvelous show, their leaves changing from red, to orange to green, over a few weeks. In Fort Rixon, they grow on the granite (gneiss to be accurate) as opposed to the greenstone belt (gold bearing) that runs through the area. In other languages, I think these trees are called Msasa.
Mgondi Trees

These trees change colour very quickly and I’m afraid, I got there a little too early.

Mgondi Trees

I’m told the gneiss (granite) here is pretty special. When it was a true granite, it had large, long crystals, but when it changed into gneiss, these sort of got squashed. I’m sure there is a correct (geological) way of writing that! It’s pretty good climbing granite – it doesn’t crumble under your hands.

Mgondi Trees