This landlocked country southern Africa counts 5 sites on the UNESCO world heritage list. Come check them out with us!

 

Natural sites

1. Victoria Falls/Mosi-oa-Tunya

The Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls is the world’s greatest sheet of falling water. Its exceptional geological and geomorphological features and active land formation processes with outstanding beauty attributed to the falls i.e. the spray, mist and rainbows have gained it world wide recognition. It extends over 6860 ha and comprises 3779 ha of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Zambia), 2340 ha of Victoria Falls National Park (Zimbabwe), 741 ha of the riverine strip of Zambezi National Park (Zimbabwe). The waterfall stands at an altitude of about 915 m above mean sea level (a.m.s.l.) and spans to about 1708 m wide with an average depth of 100 m and the deepest point being 108 m. Sprays from this giant waterfall can be seen from a distance of 30 km from the Lusaka road, Zambia and 50 km from Bulawayo road, Zimbabwe. 

Victoria Falls

Sunset at the Victoria Falls – Mario Micklisch

2. Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas

Recognized in 1984, this World heritage site is composed of three contiguous protected areas comprising the Mana Pools National Park (219,600 ha), Sapi Safari Area (118,000 ha) and Chewore Safari Area (339,000 ha) covering an entire area of 676,600 ha. It is physically protected by the Zambezi River to the north and the steep escarpment (which rises to over 1,000 m from the valley floor) to the south and provides shelter for immense congregations of Africa’s large mammal populations which concentrate in its flood plains.  It’s obviously a top destination for big game viewers and is the first Biosphere Reserve in Zimbabwe and the third for southern Africa.

Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools – Vince O’Sullivan

Cultural sites

1. Great Zimbabwe National Monument

The ruins of Great Zimbabwe are the largest ancient structures south of the Sahara desert. According to legend, this city was Queen Sheba’s capital. It’s divided into three main areas know the Hill Complex (where the King lived), The Great Enclosure (where the Kings first wife lived) and the Valley Ruins (where all the other wives and villagers lived) and was home to a prosperous Shona trading empire from the 11th to 15th century . The stone city covers an area of nearly 80 ha.

The Great Zimbabwe National Monument

The Great Zimbabwe National Monument – Mike

2. Khami Ruins National Monument

Khami, which developed after the capital of Great Zimbabwe had been abandoned in the mid-16th century, is of great archaeological interest. Just as its predecessor it was an important trading centre. The ruins are located to the west of the Khami River, 22 km from the City of Bulawayo and represent a high standard of craftsmanship, covering an area of about 108 ha, spread over a distance of about 2 km from the Passage Ruin to the North Ruin. It is composed of a complex series of platforms of dry-stone walled structures: the chief’s residence (Mambo) was located towards the north on the Hill Ruin site with its adjacent cultivation terraces. The population lived in daga huts of cobwork, surrounded by a series of granite walls. 

Khami Ruins National Monument

Khami Ruins National Monument

3. The Matobo Hills

The Matobo Hills are 35 km south of Bulawayo. These deep valleys and hills were formed in granite from river erosion and you’ll find one of the highest concentrations of rock art in Southern Africa dating back at least 13,000 years. The paintings illustrate evolving artistic styles and also socio-religious beliefs. The whole bears testimony to a rich cultural tradition that has now disappeared. The rich evidence from archaeology and from the rock paintings at Matobo provides evidence that the Matobo Hills have been occupied over a period of at least 500,000 years. Furthermore, this evidence provides a very full picture of the lives of foraging societies in the Stone Age and the way agricultural societies eventually came to displace them in the Iron Age.

The Matobo Hills

The Matobo Hills – Mike

Find out more about Zimbabwe HERE.