From The Great Zimbabwe Monument.
I suppose that's an appropriate collective noun for so many photos.
So I'll try to keep the words short. Not always successful on this blog.
"The postings needn't be long, but it takes a long while to make them short."
These photos were taken over two days, the first dull, dark and cloudy, the second bright and sunny.
It's a fairly fascinating place. Built as a royal capital city between the 12th and 15th centuries, at the height of its powers in the 13th and 14th centuries it was the largest settlement in southern Africa. The site extends to 720 hectares.
The centre of the city is the Hill Complex, built atop a 300ft granite hill.
Down in the valley is the Great Enclosure, the largest of the remaining city buildings and ruins which are spread out across the rest of the site.
The Hill Complex from the outside wall of the Great Enclosure
And from the opposite (east) side of the hill.
A section of the walls, beneath a few tons, or more, of 'balancing boulders'.
The narrow 'stairway' ascending the 300ft up to the Hill Complex.
And the view back down.
The Recess Enclosure inside the Hill Complex. Beyond is the Great Enclosure.
More stairs inside the Hill Complex.
Like much of East Africa this area is littered with volcanic boulders, ejected from the volcanoes of millions of years ago. They are categorised into two main types: "balancing boulders" and "whale boulders" depending on their appearance and demeanour.
Both types are scattered around Great Zimbabwe, including up in the Hill Complex.
Balancing boulder No.1, hanging above the Hill Complex.
Balancing boulder No.2
The main entrance to the enclosed part of the Hill Complex is at bottom right. You walk in and arrive right underneath this monster.......
........just here. Can't really see the overhang at this angle though.
Balancing boulder No.3. There's definitely nothing holding this one in place on its little sloping shelf, not a single Rawlbolt.
A few more.
The builders of Great Zimbabwe weren't bothered by a few balancing boulders, they just built their walls around and over them. The same with whale boulders, even up here on the hill-top.
This whale has a dry-stone wall on its back..........
and is even balancing a ball on its blow-hole.
A few million years ago many volcanoes hereabouts were in full spate. And wouldn't you know it? - all the pink and grey turret-shaped boulders fell to earth in the same spot, instantly building a Walt Disney magic castle, just like in the cartoons!
(Left in the far distance, the Great Enclosure is in the foreground)
A small part of the outside wall of the Great Enclosure. With all the grass here growing in red earth, it's to be expected I suppose that it turns red in the late winter.
The entire Great Enclosure wall.
Main entrance to the Great Enclosure.
Through the main Entrance.
Looking out through another entrance.
'The Parallel Corridor'.
The Great Enclosure is believed to have been a royal palace. This narrow and tall passageway inside the main wall leads about halfway round the enclosure to the Conical Tower and the back of what was once the throne area. Believed to have been used by waiters serving meals and the beer that was brewed here.
Conical Tower. Resembling a granary, but purpose unknown. It's height is presumed to represent the royal family's wealth. It's the tallest structure here.
Believed to be the main ceremonial area in front of the Conical Tower.
A good place for a moon shot, next to the Conical Tower.
From inside the enclosure.
And outside the main wall.
Another whale near the museum. There's even a water spout from his blow-hole. It just happens to be in the shape of a spindly tree.
Accommodation here is either camping or huts. Somehow or other my bike made a beeline for one of these.
Posted by Ken Thomas at August 24, 2010 10:42 AM GMT
Next HU Events
- Brazil: Feb 22-23
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 14-16
Horizons Unlimited DVD Special - it's time to Get Ready!
Northerners! The weather outside is frightful, so what better time to start planning your next adventure! To help you get started, for February we're taking 30% off the Get Ready! DVD in the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'GETREADY' on your order when you checkout.
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
Membership - Show you're proud to be a Horizons Unlimited Traveller!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events such as this one (18 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!