cycling africa

Matopos National Park, Leaving Zimbabwe

After leaving Bulawayo I went to visit the Matopos National Park. While there is quite a bit of wildlife the main attraction here is landscape and its bizarre granite formations. And the best thing: the park is very well accessible by bicycle. I did not meet any of the rhinos while cycling (and I’m not too unhappy about that) but cycling among Wildebeest, Zebras, various Antelopes, Warthogs, Baboons was quite fun.

kopje The landscape consists of many mountains that are basically one enormous piece of granite.

split rock They usually have all sorts of cracks…

stacked rocks … and after a long process of erosion has removed the weaker materials stacks of huge granite boulders remain.

river rocks

river near dam

view of the world far The most famous point in the park is called the “View of the world”. Here you can see the circle of rocks up on the hill.

lichen Around it the rock is covered with a quite colorful combination of yellow/green, red/orange and blue/gray lichens. I’ve seen that before near Nalatale.

view of the world medium distance Getting closer to the circle of rocks, a formation that almost looks unnatural.

grave In the middle you’ll find the grave of Cecil Rhodes. This place feels quite magical with a great view all around. It was considered a holy place of spirits by the local population long before Rhodes chose it as his burial site.

colorful lizard As it is the low season and I was visiting on a weekday I even had this popular spot all to myself when I was there. As soon as I sat quiet in the shadow for a short while these colorful lizards started so appear from under the rocks.

many lizards Dozens of them actually.

lizard on grave Some seem to enjoy the view as well.

drinking lizard It was quite easy to get them to come quite close. Just avoid sudden movements and pour a little water on the ground and they will come to drink.

cave There’s also several caves in the park…

rock paintings … featuring more rock paintings.

I left Zimbabwe after that this morning. I’m really glad I came this way even though I did not have it on my original route, Zimbabwe was one of the most interesting and enjoyable countries I visited on this trip.

Now I’m in Francistown, my first stop in Botswana. It’s weired, I’ve never been here before but when I look at the map so many of the places around here sound familiar because they appear in the Mma Ramotswe detective stories.