After all these National Parks it was time for something else. A true Unesco World Heritage site in Zimbabwe: the Great Zimbabwe ruins. The adventures in Gonarezhou meant that we first had to get a new battery in the nearby town of Masvingo. The friendly guys at the Zerocon garage helped us out and within an hour we got a new battery and were good to go.
We camped right next to the ruins. Therefore we were able to climb the big hill and enjoyed a marvelous sunset right on top of this ancient place! The real tour however was about to start the next morning.
Great Zimbabwe, or the remains of it, is a huge ruined city and is the largest stone structure ever built south of the Sahara. For more than four centuries it was the home of many kings and rulers and Zimbabwe even got its name from it. In Shona (the local language) dzimba dza mabwe means houses of stone.
The construction of this site took place from about 1100 until 1500 AD and there is still a huge debate going on about who actually build this city in the first place. Using granite rocks the houses were built without using any form of mortar. They were just fitted so that they would form strong walls. At some place the walls are 6m thick and 11m high!
The Hill, Valley and Great Enclosure
After all the ‘explorers’, ‘geologists’, ‘archaeologists’ and ‘curators’ that looked after Great Zimbabwe had gone (and stole some things here and there in the process) the remains of it our three different parts which you can visit. The Hill complex, Valley complex and the Great Enclosure. We were on top of the Hill the day before but with some daylight it was even prettier. Together with our guide named Gift we made it all the way to the top. This was where the kings used to live and where the ceremonies were held. The nearly two hundred wives of the kings lived in the Valley down below.
The main highlight of the ruins is the Great Enclosure. In this circle-shaped construction you’ll be really impressed by the work done hundreds of years ago. One of the most impressive structures is the Conical Tower. This completely solid structure gets narrower at the top. This structure has become one of the national symbols of Zimbabwe. After visiting the small museum we ended the tour and we were on our way to South Africa!