MY DATE WITH GREAT ZIMBABWE

Once deemed the most technologically advanced structure on the continent, Great Zimbabwe defines the history of the country it is found in. Rooted in Masvingo Province, the historic structure holds the most amazing story you may hear in Zimbabwe, at the same time, you will find the structures are picturesque. A popular school trip destination, the Zimbabwe ruins are said to have inspired Wakanda, the home of Marvel Comic’s superhero – Black Panther. Exploring the area you will find that everything about the area was strategically placed, built and designed to keep the people safe and for civilisation to thrive for years to come.

Let me tell you about my date.

Having been on the road for a couple of hours it was a must for me to stop by the infamous ruins. Like all heritage sites, walking through them is the best way to take it all in. There are guided tours but if you are an adventurer, like me, you explore on your own. With eagerness in my eye and anxiety in my feet, I ventured to Great Zimbabwe with curiousity guiding my experience.

Stone staircase at Great Zimbabwe
The stone staircase that was made for the adventurers.

I went left towards the station on top of the hill. In my mind, I was all about the views. I got to the foot of the hill and there were two paths each with a description and the time it would take to get to the top. Fully convinced on my fitness I took the steeper and quicker route. My legs burned! The beginning of the stony staircase created the gentle illusion of a steady climb until the path got narrower and the steps became steeper. I recommend this path for the adventurous and the fit. You may need to stretch beforehand. On your way up, take periodic breaks and look around you. Marvel over the area Great Zimbabwe is nestled in.

At the top, the beauty of Zimbabwe because mesmerising. Take it in! I felt like these are the moments Zimbabwe shows off in a manner that is surprising. Then you continue to explore and enter the highest point of the area and the scary part is how Great Zimbabwe has stood for hundreds of year and is able to look this strong and this powerful. Step into history and take yourself back 500 years. With each step you take, your feet are gracing a historic time. The height and stability of the walls, the structural ingenuity of it all and the strategic viewpoints given by each point. You can see, understand and feel why Great Zimbabwe was ahead of its time.

But in all this I got lost. Press play and have a good laugh:

Eventually I made my way to the Great Zimbabwe that Google and the history books know. Along the way I could not help but think how beautiful the entire area is. I could spend a whole day at Great Zimbabwe. The area is expansive and there are bits and pieces that need to be explored. A guided tour in the morning, lunch at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel then an afternoon of exploring with the freedom of the summer breeze. A must do when in Masvingo! Entering the heritage site has a charge and for a guided tour, it’s a little extra but there is no price on a memorable experience. There were a few guided tours whilst I ventured through the area. I just preferred my freedom.

At one of the entrances of the enclosure that is Great Zimbabwe, I could not help but admire the ingenuity behind the wall. A single wall that circumvents the enclosure that is about ten metres high with an entrance that allows for a single person entry. Inside the great wall, the area is beautifully set. Having become ruins hundreds of years later, the story of the great civilisation echoed through each stone used to put the structure together. Walking around the area, history oozed out with each step and it was an exciting experience.

I shared the area with a school and a part of me felt a sense of pride and joy knowing that schools still bring children to Great Zimbabwe. There were about four or five teachers and they struggled to contain the excitement of the students. With a guide, the tour was educated on the history of the ruins and I took part of the lesson, before it was picture time for the kids. They queued up as each one of them took their spot in front of the iconic feature of Great Zimbabwe and had their picture taken as memorabilia of their trip into history. Having being part of the children’s trip, I too became a kid and took myself back a few years to feed my excitement into the atmosphere. No picture for me. Apparently I was too old. Apparently!

Great Zimbabwe is about three to three and a half hours outside of Harare and Bulawayo. Not to say it’s the most central point but it is quite the drive and worth the travel. A day trip which must be done by all travelers, I recommend having a date with Great Zimbabwe. Take the guided tour to know your way around otherwise you will be like me and get lost. But hey, there is no better way to explore any city or heritage site than to get lost. Think about, when you’re on a date and it’s going well, don’t you get lost in the person you’re on a date with?

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