Hillside Dams Bulawayo Zimbabwe to Farmhouse Matopos

I struggled getting power at Hillside Dams the next morning. I got power until 10am then load-shedding started. With all the solar panels up I managed to charge up the batteries by mid afternoon. I then headed to Karen’s lodge that she was staying at. It was very nice, they also had their generators running as well because they had lost power too.

We went out to dinner with Karen’s colleagues. It being Zimbabwe, and a few South Africans thrown in as well, there was a lot of meat for dinner. Everyone got a good feed though and there was meat left over which people could take home.  We stayed in Karen’s room overnight, a big change from the camping I had done for the last 3 weeks.

We headed out the next morning for the Farmhouse camping site about 50km south of Bulawayo, which is just north of the Matapos National Park. We went through two police road blocks, but we were not stopped. Karen thinks they are under orders not to hassle tourists. Farmhouse is very well run. We had hot showers from a donkey boiler, and we had great views. They have Giraffe and Wildebeest on the property, so we walked down to the feeding of the Giraffes which happens every day at 4pm.

Karen by now had got pretty sick from something she caught from being in all those meeting rooms, so Saturday she spent a lot of time asleep. I was fine but I was going to get sick eventually.  I went on a cave guided walk, and say a couple of caves with 2,000 year old cave paintings.

On Sunday we drove into Matapos National Park. We headed west on looked at the rock formation called mother and child which is actually pictured on the mysterious ZIG currency. ZIG is the official currency of Zimbabwe, but almost no-one has seen it, everyone works on USD.  There are so many balance rocks both in and around Matopos. We headed further west to a dam looking for animals (and maybe white rhino), but we saw evidence of Elephants, but only saw Hippos and klipspringers.

We then headed east to try to get to Nswatugi Cave. The first track got rougher and rougher, until I thought it was too rough for our heavily loaded camper. So we spent about an hour carefully reversing back down the track including cutting scrub out of the way. We ripped off one of the rear mudflaps. This time it was the old one that’s been on for years, rather than the new one. We then headed back and approached the cave from a different direction. We were more successful this time, and made it to the cave late afternoon. The cave had been excavated about 5m down, finding evidence of people living in it 9,000 years ago.


Camped at the Farmhouse
The view from the viewing deck
There are many balanced rocks
Giraffes waiting for the food to arrive
Feeding time
Greedy giraffe eating
the many rocks around Matapos
Some of the paintings in the rock shelters
200 year old grain stores made of termite mound mud
Mother and child
Zhamando Hide

Nswatugi Cave
Nswatugi Cave Giraffes

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