Four hours south of Harare near the town of Masvingo, this impressive set of stone ruins is another of Zimbabwe’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Dating back to the 11th Century, these stone structures are evidence of a once flourishing Shona kingdom. Skilful stone masons built the drystone walls which form a maze of narrow passages. The granite walls are embellished with turrets, towers and walkways and in some places the impressive walls are 11 metres high and span several hundred metres.
The most spectacular of the ruins is the Great Enclosure that is built with high curved walls, this is the largest ancient structure south of the Sahara Desert. Also significant are the eight birds carved from soapstone that were found in the ruins, and linking past with present, the image of these birds adorn the Zimbabwe flag today.
Reasons to visit the Great Zimbabwe Ruins include:
As with most of Zimbabwe the Great Zimbabwe ruins can be visited all year round.
The Great Zimbabwe Ruins can be visited as part of a self-drive itinerary or perhaps a private guided tour may be more to your liking.
Aside from the small boutique B&Bs, one of the more popular places to stay is the Great Zimbabwe Hotel, just 2km from the ruins. Norma Jeane’s Lakeview Resort offers simple rooms with hearty home-cooked meals and stunning views over Lake Mutirikwi.
Time: GMT + 2 hours
Flights from UK to Harare or Victoria Falls are usually via Johannesburg and can take 12+ hours, although once the new Victoria Falls airport is fully operational there may be an option of direct flights – watch this space.
Language: English is the official language of Zimbabwe. Shona or Ndebele are also widely spoken by the majority of the population.
Visas are required for UK passport holders and can be obtained on entry into Zimbabwe.
Malaria is a risk in many areas of Zimbabwe.