C J Rhodes’ stables…

Just outside of the REPS school grounds is this wonderful old building:

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C J Rhodes lived on top of a hill a short distance away. His house is no longer there, but this stable block remains. Built with huge granite boulder foundations and red brick above, its stood for more than one hundred years.

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It needs renovating now – the sash windows are in a sad way, and the staircase has rotted away. The top deck is made of solid teak and I think the winch, for hauling stockfeed up, is still all there.

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It seems Rhodes’ horses lived well! As a kid, I knew a man who insisted he had been alive in Rhodes’ time. He reported that Rhodes didn’t ride very well – probably why he wanted to build a railway all the way through Africa.

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A short distance away are the Matopos Research Centre buildings – also old colonial style:

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http://zimfieldguide.com/matabeleland-south/rhodes-summer-house

 

 

 

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REPS School, Matopos…

I’ve been wanting to take photos of this marvellous old school for some time. Built in the old colonial style, its white buildings are clearly visible when traveling to the Matopos.

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

Pictured above are the boarding hostels which are now for both boys and girls.

P1260370.jpgThe wing on the left is the girl’s hostel, the main entrance on the right.

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What a lovely view from the hostels – the Matopos very close by – perfect playground for energetic boys at boarding school.

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Across the lawns is this stunning chapel. When I took the pic below, the sun was streaming into the round window in the front gable.

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Please excuse this pic! My interiors are not very good! Dito, the image below….the dining hall!

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I’m much better at taking exterior shots! This, below, is the dining hall at REPS.P1260373

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I didn’t realise that REPS was such a small school. From the Kezi Road, it seemed to be a large complex. In fact, many of the buildings belong to the Matopos Research Station. REPS only has about 120 pupils! Of which about 80 are boarders. The classrooms are built around a quadrangle, very much in the colonial style.

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The school hall (above.)

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This last photo is a building now used as a library. It’s built with iron sheeting walls. Anyone who grew up in Zimbabwe will recall these buildings – many of the government offices were initially built this way, as were railway housing, offices and sheds. This building is likely to be one of the oldest buildings in the complex.

I hope you enjoyed this walk around an historic school with me. If you did, please comment below or click the *follow* button to receive posts in your email.

Old Strip Roads…

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…Can still be seen in some places in Zimbabwe. Although built nearly 100 years ago, they have withstood the tests of time! Called strip roads because they only cover the road where the tyres go, they were much cheaper to build when developing a new nation. Zimbabwe is twice the size of the United Kingdom and three times the size of Ireland! Engineers charged with developing a country covered in thick bush, teeming with wild animals on a limited budget, came up with this idea. This section is from Bulawayo to the Victoria Falls. The road builders stuck to outcropping rocks as it provided a solid base for the road. When the wide tar road was constructed in the 1960’s, a shorter route over the top of the sand was chosen. (Ancient sand dunes are clearly visible on Satellite images from Lupane onwards.) This is what Wikipedia has to say: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_road

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If travellers came across someone driving in the opposite direction, both were expected to move over, so only their right wheels were on the right hand track! Thats pretty close when passing the on coming vehicle – takes some trust, that!

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By the time I was a kid, there was only a small section remaining as part of our National Roads: between Filabusi and Belingwe (Now, Mberengwa.)

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and I clearly remember my dad, cigarette between his fingers, elbow out of the window, only veering off to the left at the last possible moment – no reduction in speed!

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I took this (silly) short video driving on the section of this road near the turn off to Hwange Main Camp, near Netchilibi…

Fast forward forty years…and these guys are not going as fast, but still using the road!

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The day I took the above photo, the inbuilt temperature gauge in the car read 52 degrees C. In other words, very hot! And, we had to work outside in it…(I remained in the car with the air-conditioner running.)

 

 

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.

 

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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A walk around the lower Hillside Dams…

Timing my walk to capture the sunset “golden hour,” I chose to walk the dogs around the lower dam because it won’t be brim full for much longer. The photos below are in the order I took them.

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This photo, above is taken on the western bank (near the tearoom) looking to where I will soon be walking.

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Heading for that bench, two dogs on leads, a camera around my neck, my camera case over my arm, my phone, car keys and lens shade in my pocket, I snapped a few pics. Several had to be deleted because the dogs have no patience for photographers. There are too many smells to be investigated, two leads to ensure are tangled!

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Once seated, I let the dogs off their leashes and snapped a pic of  the heron I’d been stalking (yeah right, with two panting German Shepherds) hoping for a close up (he is just poking his head over at me in the previous photo!)

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We couldn’t resist climbing the kopjie directly above the seat…although Lizzy struggled a little (her legs are still too short!) I took some pics of the dam from up there, but they are all lousy – too many trees in the way.

That rock on the left is just balancing on another huge rock – ready to fall down the hillside at any moment! (Probably been there for millennia!)

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Of course we couldn’t resist walking along this wall (unfortunately it’s got a hole, so I couldn’t make it to the island.) And Lizzy jumped in!!! I think she mistook the green water plant for green grass! She went under about a foot and came up doggy paddling madly! I had to reach down and haul her out of the drink! (Good show my phone didn’t fall into the water – or worse, the car keys!)

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The “golden hour” light is lovely in the photo above, but I could NOT entice the dogs to pose there. It’s annoying – they run about sniffing and looking down holes yet when I WANT them to go a short distance away for a photo shoot, they look at me with that innocent “You mean you WANT us to go over there and be bad???”

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This is the only one I got of them, running on the path ahead of me.

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This pic (above) for me, is the pick of the photos I took yesterday. Looking almost directly into the sun.P1240606

 

Looking towards the upper dams, just about to cross back to the western side of the dams.

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Of course, the sun dropped too low and I’d lost the “golden light.”

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These photos taken towards the dam wall.

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I hope you enjoyed the walk with me. I didn’t take any more after this one, firstly because the light had faded and secondly because Zulu began behaving badly. His previous owners must have always put him back on the leash when they got close to the vehicle!

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