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!




Mtshabezi Dam…


Built in a long narrow valley, Mtshabezi Dam is long and deep. These two photos are taken in the bright overhead sunlight, in the mid day.


It was a bit later, when I took this one:


Fishermen, who brave the road with their boats, launch just in front of where I was standing.


I really like this rock (above)with the trees growing out of them. I tried to line it up with another interesting rock in the foreground, but it just didn’t gel. I’ll try again when I get the boat into the water.


The trees are beginning to shed their leaves and that orange, is actually leaves, not flowers.



I liked the stark white of this dead tree – taken in the late afternoon light. Im thinking someone good at manipulating RAW images might have fun with it.







These last images were taken with fading light.

Mtshabezi Dam…

We visited Mtshabezi (pronounced mmm cha bezi) Dam a while ago, and I noticed aloes on the road through the gorge. Since there are lovely aloes out all over Matabeleland, I thought it would be an idea to take pics there. None were out!!! But I couldn’t have picked a better day for a visit.


This first photo was taken on the (very bumpy) road over the gorge.


We  had the place to ourselves, other than a few civilised fishermen – instead of noisy motorboats! The weather was kind – bright sunlight at midday, and then the wind tailed off until the water was like glass in the evening.


A recent addition to Bulawayo’s water supply, Mtshabezi is a picturesque dam built in the 1990’s. It’s on the southern end of the Matopos about 40km from the Gwanda/Bulawayo rd.


I love the rocks sitting in the water.


Mtshabezi is almost full still, which is pretty good considering the rainy season was middling.


I’m thinking of carrying the canoe on top of the car so I can paddle further upstream – Ill get some lovely pics, I’m sure. Im reliably informed that there are no crocs or hippos in this dam. Hippo make quick work of canoes!




Mtshabezi Dam


Is in Matabeleland, about 40km from the Gwanda Rd. Its been on my to do list for sometime and was well worth the visit. We had a survey a short distance from here,a nd couldn’t resist a short detour.

Its low now, the water level marked on the rocks is down about two metre.


The dam was built in 1994 and is meant to supplement the  Bulawayo water supply. The views around there are dramatic, the Matopos domes towering.P1160130

The road in is a little rough! But one part of it winds along the edge of the spillway gorge and looks almost as if it has been planted, with aloes and tiny flowering succulents.