The Great Zimbabwe Ruins is a UNESCO world heritage site and the ruins are one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa, giving testimony to the lost civilization of the Shona tribe.
A great city existed here from the 11th century on, with over 10.000 inhabitants. Great Zimbabwe (“stone houses”) was a main regional trading center, its wealth associated with (Arab) gold trading. There were also trade links with East Africa (Kilwa), and fragments of Persian and Chinese pottery has been found at the site.
The History of Great Zimbabwe
Arab and European travellers in the 16th century sent marveling reports home about this place and its impressive stone walls. The site was abandoned in the 15th century (for Khami) because of a lack of food and firewood.
The ruins nowadays are spread out over three main areas: the Hill Ruins, the Great Enclosure and the Valley Ruins. Great Zimbabwe has been adopted as a national monument by the government, with the modern state being named after it. The word “Great” distinguishes the site from the many hundreds of small ruins, known as Zimbabwe’s, spread across the Zimbabwe Highveld. There are 200 such sites in southern Africa, such as Bumbusi in Zimbabwe and Manyikeni in Mozambique, with monumental, mortar less walls and Great Zimbabwe is the largest.
Lake Mutirikwe, formerly known as Lake Kyle, lies in south eastern Zimbabwe, south east of Masvingo. It covers about 90 km² and was created in 1960 with the construction of the Kyle Dam on the Mutirikwe River. The dam was built to provide irrigation water to the farming estates on the lowveld to the southwest, around the town of Triangle, where the main crop has been sugar cane.
Lake Kyle Recreational Park lies on the reservoir’s northern shore, while there is a small recreational park on the southern shore. Great Zimbabwe national monument lies close by.
Rivers which feed the lake include the Mbebvi River, Matare River, Pokoteke River, Umpopinyani River, Makurumidzi River and Shagashe River. In the 1980s, drought drastically lowered the water level in the lake, but during the 1990s it recovered. The level fluctuates widely due to irrigation demands and the seasonal rainfall.
Lodge at the Ancient City
At the spectacular Lodge at the Ancient City you will become a king for the day. The architecture of the lodge captures the essence of the ruined city itself. Each lodge is furnished to evoke the royal dwellings of African legend. Soft mbira music at dusk, firelight and warm hospitality re-creates an ambiance where time stands still.
Exclusive tours of Great Zimbabwe are provided for guests, with historical guides to describe and discuss the life of the abandoned city, its mysterious origins, history, shrines and traditions.
Accommodation is in 14 lodges with twin double beds and 4 family lodges sleeping 4. All lodges are equipped with en-suite bathtub, shower, toilet and basin. The bar is set upon a granite outcrop offering views across a valley to the Great Enclosure. Meals are taken in a thatched dining hall or open-air summerhouse depending on the weather. Facilities include a swimming pool. Activities available include:- boat cruises on Lake Mutirikwi which provide an opportunity to admire the scenic views in the area and guided tours of Great Zimbabwe, the largest ancient structure in sub-Saharan Africa. Scenic walks around the nearby Lake Mutirikiwi Recreational Park and into the adjacent tribal area are also available.
The mysterious ancient stone city called “Great Zimbabwe” and the enormous expanse of water named Lake Muturikwe provide an amazing back drop to Norma Jeans. There is a conference room designed to host up to 60 delegates cinema style, with lesser numbers for different room layout configurations. Equipment for meetings includes a television and VCR. There is a Residents’ lounge and Dining Room seating 36 and is open for Breakfast and Dinner to Hotel Residents and Diners. Full board is offered to guests and a special braai area is available for delegates’ use. As golf is often a required add-on for conference delegates, arrangements have been made with Masvingo Golf Club for residents to play on the attractive Masvingo course.