Landmarks of Zimbabwe

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Ruins of Great Zimbabwe
Ruins of Great Zimbabwe / Ross Huggett, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Most interesting landmarks of Zimbabwe

Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Zimbabwe.

Natural landmarks of Zimbabwe

Waterfalls

Mutarazi Falls, Zimbabwe
Mutarazi Falls / Radozw, Wikipedia / GNU GFDL
  • Mutarazi Falls (Mtarazi Falls) and Mutaruru Falls – Manicaland. A pair of two waterfalls. The largest – Mutarazi Falls – is 762 m tall waterfall, one of the tallest in Africa. Waterfall is part free-falling (479 m), part sliding down along very steep cliff. Mutaruru Falls have similar height and have formed on a smaller stream some 500 m east from the large waterfall.
  • Pungwe Falls – Manicaland. 243 m tall waterfall with several cascades and twists.
  • Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya) – Matabeleland North and Zambia, Southern State. Extremely powerful falls, 1,708 meters wide and 1087 meters high. They are some of the most impressive natural sights in world.

Gemstone finds

  • Sandawana emerald mines – Masvingo. Oldest emeralds in the world, their age could exceed 2 billion years. Sandawana emeralds are small but with a deep color and high clarity.
  • St. Anne’s pegmatite – Mashonaland West. Rich find of gemstones, with exceptional blue topaz, blue euclase, aquamarine, tourmalines and other gems.

Trees

Victoria Falls "Big Tree"
Victoria Falls "Big Tree" / Charles Haynes, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Chirinda Big Tree – Manicaland. Enormous African Mahogany (Khaya anthoteca (Welw.) C. DC.), diameter at least 4.5 m, height at least 64 metres. Grows in the southernmost African rainforest – Chirinda Forest.
  • Devuri Baobab – Masvingo. Possibly the largest baobab in Zimbabwe, with a circumference of 27.61 m (1987), 21 m high. It is not known if the tree survives up to this day.
  • Victoria Falls "Big Tree" – Matabeleland North. Baobab with the circumference of 22.6 m, 24 m high.

Other natural landmarks

Mother and Child Kopje, Zimbabwe
Mother and Child Kopje / Susan Adams, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Chirinda Forest – Manicaland. Stand of moist montane tropical forest (at the height of 1,100 – 1,250 meters, area 606 ha), southernmost African tropical rainforest. Contains numerous endemic species and enormous trees. Here grows also the Big Tree – some 65 meters high and 4.5 meters stout (diameter) African Mahogany (Khaya anthotheca).
  • Chinhoyi Caves – Mashonaland West. Group of legendary, sacred and very impressive caves with up to 172 meters deep lakes (Sleeping Pool). Extremely high transparency of water where clouds and birds flying over can be seen from 30 meters depth inside the cave lake.
  • Epworth Balancing Rocks – Harare. A stack of enormous boulders, well known thanks to depiction on banknotes.
  • Mother and Child Kopje – Matabeleland South. Impressive balancing rocks, rising tall above the surroundings.
  • Sinamwenda structure – Matabeleland North. Possible impact structure, 200 m in diameter, with some meters high crater rim.

Man made landmarks of Zimbabwe

Prehistoric cliff art

  • Bambata Cave – Matabeleland South. Archaeological site with fine rock painting – a frieze with painted elephants, giraffes, warthogs and other animals.
  • Dombashawa Rock – Masvingo. Natural rock shelter with some 100 m long panel of paintings. These paintings are some 13,000 and some 2,000 years old and depict people, hunting scenes.
  • Inanke Cave – Matabeleland South. Cave with extensive prehistoric paintings.
  • Murewa Caves – Mashonaland East. Long caves, contain at least 1000 years old San paintings.
  • Nswatugi Cave – Matabeleland South. Cave with beautiful prehistoric paintings of animals – giraffes, elephants, kudu.
  • Pomongwe Cave – Matabeleland South. Prehistoric cave settlement with cave paintings (damaged). Archaeological excavations have provided 39,032 artifacts.
  • White Rhino Shelter – Matabeleland South. Cliff shelter with a prehistoric frieze which depicts large rhinos.

Ruins of ancient settlements

Ruins of Ziwa, Zimbabwe
Ruins of Ziwa / Damien Farrell, / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Bumbusi – Matabeleland North. Ruins – colossal stone walls, platforms. Constructed in the 18th – 19th century by local people.
  • Danamombe (Dhlo-Dhlo) – Midlands. Ruins of Rozvi town, constructed mainly in the 17th – 18th centuries. Structures were made from dry stone, possibly also from mud, which was reinforced with wood.
  • Great Zimbabwe – Manicaland. Capital city of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, inhabited around 1100 – 1400 AD. There could be up to 18,000 inhabitants in the city at its peak. Today remain impressive ruins of dry stone. Walls are more than 5 m tall, the architecture is monumental and highly distinct.
  • Khami – Matabeleland North. Ruins of the former capital of Butua Kingdom. Built and inhabited roughly in 1450 – 1800s. Consists of seven built up areas, structures were constructed with great skill. Especially impressive is 68 m long stone wall, all adorned with checkerboard ornaments.
  • Naletale – Midlands. Ruins of Rozvi town, built mainly in the 17th century. Dry stone walls are decorated with chevron and herringbone ornaments. One of the most impressive archaeological sites in Zimbabwe.
  • Mtoa – Matabeleland North. Ruins of old structures, built by the local people in the early 19th century. Circular walls and large stone monoliths.
  • Ziwa – Manicaland. Ruins from the 17th century, former city. Site contains diverse structures and archaeological excavations have provided diverse works of art. Interesting structures include double walls, massive covered doorways etc.

Other man made landmarks of Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls Bridge / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Birchenough Bridge – Manicaland. Enormous steel through arch bridge, beautiful structure. This bridge was built in 1935 and the longest span is 329.4 m long.
  • Malindidzimu – Matabeleland South. Summit of mountain – enormous granitic monolith, with giant boulders on it. Ancient sacred place with great views. Controversial cemetery of the European invaders, e.g. Cecil Rhodes.
  • Victoria Falls Bridge – Matabeleland and Zambia, Southern State. Steel parabolic arch bridge near Victoria Falls. The longest span is 156.5 m, bridge was constructed in 1905.

Described landmarks of Zimbabwe

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Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya): -17.923853, 25.853519

Zimbabwe is gorgeous country with rich array of natural and man made heritage. Highlights of Zimbabwe are:

  • The only true large ancient stone structures south from Sahara. Best known by far is Great Zimbabwe, which gave a name and cultural symbols for the country, but there are hundreds of more sites.
  • Ecosystems and giant trees. Zimbabwe has southernmost African rainforest – Chirinda Forest, which has truly unique mahogany tree. Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe have several outlying "islands" of tropical forest with numerous endemic species of plants and animals.

Among the other highlights should be mentioned gorgeous waterfalls (including one of world’s most impressive natural landmarks – Victoria Falls) and excellent prehistoric cliff paintings.

Featured: Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya)

Victoria Falls in June
Victoria Falls in June / Steve Jurvetson, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The most impressive waterfall in the world could be Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya). This unique waterfall unites significant height (108 m), width (1,708 m) and flow (average annual flow – 1,088 m³/s) and forms the largest curtain of falling water in the world.

Recommended books

Zimbabwe (Bradt Travel Guide Zimbabwe)


This new third edition of Bradt’s Zimbabwe remains the most authoritative and trusted guide available, written in an engaging and entertaining style by an expert author who has been visiting Zimbabwe annually for nearly 30 years and now spends six months of each year there. In this new thoroughly revised edition, Paul Murray brings a particular focus for those wanting to travel independently as well as visitors on organised tours. Game viewing in some of Africa’s greatest national parks is a rewarding experience and this guide offers in-depth information on the facilities, advice on itinerary planning as well as how to select a safari.

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Mischief and Mayhem on a Family Farm in Africa


Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit.

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