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We heard about the town of Maswingo which is credited with being home to the “Great Zimbabwe ” ruins. Great Zimbabwe is famous as it is not only the previous capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, but, it is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its construction in the 11th century. It is believed that it was built by the Shona community and may have been the location of the royal palace for the royal monarchs.

Great Zimbabwe in Maswingo, Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe in Maswingo, Zimbabwe

I highly highly recommend a visit as it is not only quite an adventure through their history, but is quite educational and beautiful. The main layout within reveals several small “cities” or villages that were fortified with stone walls. In some areas, these rocks seemed to be like a fort, an outer high wall protecting an inner city or homestead and stood at over five meters high. Within the forts are remnants of smaller structures or buildings also made up of neatly cut rocks. I was impressed by how neatly cut, similar in size and shape the rocks were, as well as how they had managed to survive all these years. The architecture and the workmanship gave me a glimpse at how skilled the architects, the builders and the engineers their forefathers were.

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Fortified stone walls in Great Zimbabwe, Maswingo, Zimbabwe
Fortified stone walls in Great Zimbabwe, Maswingo, Zimbabwe
The ruins of Great Zimbabwe in Maswingo, Zimbabwe
The ruins of Great Zimbabwe in Maswingo, Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe, Maswingo, Zimbabwe
Look at how intricate and specialized the work looks. The stones neatly cut and aligned with no cement to hold them together in Great Zimbabwe

I highly advice everyone to wear sneakers as the area is large and involves lots of walking.Be careful though, and keep a look out for the signs lest you get lost like me. I was impressed and distracted by the beauty that I lost track of my friend, missed a turning with signs and ended up alone, atop one of the hills/ruins. Every direction I looked, seemed to be the edge of a cliff. I was terrified, it felt like I was in a maze, lost in a maze and somehow I couldn’t even find the route I had used to get there. Multicolored lizards kept peeking out of the rocks to stare at me and instead of appealing to me as they usually do, they only heightened my fear.  It didn’t help that I kept finding myself smack right near a graveside-I assure you, this is how horror movies are developed. Eventually, when I was about to give up, when terror had taken over and I couldn’t even scream, when I was about to accept my fate, I saw an opening. I moved closer, I saw the directions and practically ran all the way down. I have never been so relieved to see humans in my life. Lesson learnt, never separate from the groups especially on hiking expeditions.

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Staircase that led me to my "horror-lost in the puzzle maze" in Great Zimbabwe, Maswingo
Staircase that led me to my “horror-lost in the puzzle maze” in Great Zimbabwe, Maswingo
Great Zimbabawe, Maswingo, Zimbabwe
Look at the beauty that is the Great Zimbabwe ruins in Maswingo, Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe, Maswingo, Zimbabwe
Ruins of a fort inside a fort at Great Zimbabwe, Maswingo, Zimbabawe

Zimbabwe, you are truly a beauty that has had your reputation tarnished in more ways than one. I wish to urge more people to ignore the rumours and actually visit the place before making any conclusions.  Thank you for standing strong, thank you for sharing yourself with me, thank you for accepting me and thank you for opening your doors to me. I know I only sampled  a bit of you, thus, I definitely will return so that I can read more chapters. I say Siyabonga Kakulu” ,  “Ndatenda” ,  Thank You  Zimbabwe and your  amazing people. For more on Zimbabwe exploits, check out:

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Fascinating Bulawayo: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/bulawayo/

Enchanting Victoria Falls: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/enchanting-victoria-falls/

Zimbabwe 101: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/zimbabwe-101/

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