I spent most of my childhood days as a Boy Scout and Scout leader after the age of 18. Through Scouting I have traveled the length and breath of the country and the continent, many rivers crossed, scaled many mountains and surpassed many realms.
I have had my fair share with mother nature, i have experienced first hand her myths and legends, i have embraced her and she has graciously laid bare her petals for me to explore and shake off mental fatigue , and from the bosom of mother nature, i have cured boredomy, dealt with the writers block upon the mountain of Matopo, a great place, a sacred place that has become my sanctuary.
The atmosphere there is nothing like your regular atmosphere, deep upon these mountains lie silent voices, only responsive those who are soul searching, for any writer, countless metaphors lie in yonder waiting for you to ponder. The atmosphere is something the 2000s will say "slaps differently"
I have hiked the terrains, scaled the mountain range during the day and during the night some nights voluntarily and some nights paying the price of not listening to my Scout leaders during map and compass tutorials and failing to read between the magnetic north, the true North, the inability to know the 16 cardinal points of a compass and the inability to navigate the degrees. Those nights turned out to be the best nights, especially where we couldn't find our way back to the campsite till day break saved up to be the best adventures of my life We explored our Scouts survival skills bushman craft and Backwoods skills (Cooking without utensils or making fire without any form of lighters) were brought to life at such times and we enjoyed to the fullest.
Rover Scouts, At the summit of Mount Shumba Shava
One thing that saddens me is that many of the City dwellers will never experience such great tourist destinations right in their midst due to either lack of interest or ignorance pertaining to the costs involved but the later being the most common.
Tourism is deemed arrogant luxury preserved for the elite few and foreigners. Indeed "A man does not know until he is told that he does not know" to visit Matopo national park is as cheap as your weekend getaway to your rural home, especially if you organize group tours, these will ease up on the burden of Transport, Schools used to organize trips to tourist attraction destinations but that culture is fast dissappearing especially in those schools that are located in the high density surbubs (Ekasi)
Local tourists at Maleme dam
A well organized day trip for a group of fifteen to twenty people to Matopos will cost each adult not more than $20 United States dollars on a tight budget but worth the ultimate experience of what Matopo national park has to offer.
About Matopo National Park (Courtesy of Siyabonga Africa (pvt) limited)
"Located close to Bulawayo, Matobo National Park is noted for its spectacular granite rock formations and its wealth of ancient rock paintings, so much, so it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is situated in the magnificent Matobo Hills, a range of domes, spires and balancing rock formations, which have been hewn out of the solid granite plateau through millions of years of erosion and weathering.
The majestic and rugged terrain of the park is a hiker’s paradise and the diversity of the vegetation supports a wide range of wildlife. Matobo National Park also includes an Intensive Protection Zone where a large population of Black and White Rhinoceros is successfully breeding.
One can also visit the gravesite of Cecil John Rhodes, he is buried at the summit of Malindidzimu 'hill of benevolent spirits'. He referred to this hill as having a 'View of the World'. A short walk from the parking lot will lead the visitor to his grave, which is carved out of the solid granite hill and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of massive boulders. The Matobo area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people."
Gordon Park, Matopo National Park
You can save money through the tried and tested Stokvel initiative used towards groceries in our communities towards your dream holiday in Matopo and beyond. Experience the best of mother nature and Enjoy world class facilities of Amalinda Camp, Matopo hills Lodge amongst many other lodges and camping facilities.
Or at least let your kids join the biggest youth movement in the world, The Scouts Association and stand a chance to acquire important life skills and enjoy the beautful scenery Zimbabwe has to offer in the process.