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.

 

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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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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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