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CULTURAL INTERESTS

Click on the links below to read more about the cultural experience of your choice at the Victoria Falls

Great Ruins of Zimbabwe The Mana pools Lake Kariba Victoria Falls Bridge
The Big Tree Traditional Dancing David Livingstone Statue Museums
 
Great Ruins of Zimbabwe

The complex of ruins known as Great Zimbabwe is located 30 kilometres southeast of Masvingo. It is the emblem modern Zimbabwe took it's name from - the word ‘Zimbabwe’ is derived from the Shona word maDzimbabwe, or dzimbahwe, meaning ‘a great stone building’. Great Zimbabwe is strategically situated in a fertile and well-watered valley at the top of the Mutirikwi River. Archaeological investigations point out that this valley, as well as the hill dominating it where the bulk of the ruin stands, were occupied by a number of different races from an early age.

The ancient empire is believed to have stretched over 1000km² and artefacts found here reveal extensive trade with far-off countries like China.
Controversy has surrounded the ruins and their origins. After the ruins were discovered by Europeans, many claimed that this architectural feat was beyond local Zimbabweans.

It was suggested that ancient Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans or Hebrews had built them. The archaeological excavation of Gertrude Caton-Thompson in 1932, confirmed however, that the ruins had been built by local people. The ruins became a source of great pride for Zimbabweans, to such an extent that they decided to name their country after them.
 

 
The Mana pools

The Mana Pools are Zimbabwe's second World Heritage Site and are situated on the Zambezi river - consisting of four main pools and several smaller pools scattered along the river.

The word 'Mana' means four, referring to the four pools around the park headquarters: Main, Chine, Long and Chisambik. They are on the mainland, in an area of deep and fertile alluvial soil, along a portion of the southern bank of the Zambezi. They owe their existence to the scouring action of the flooded river that created a number of elongated troughs which retained water long after the flood had subsided.

The area has the appearance of a park. Giant acacia albida trees tower over what appears to be, from a distance a carefully manicured lawn. In the distance a border of mopane trees and combretum scrub begins and there is visible a line, like some extraordinary tide-mark, a browse-line that exactly demarcates the height to which browsing animals of the area can reach.
During September and October this area has the highest concentration of wildlife in Zimbabwe.

 
Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba is treasured as one of Zimbabwe's top attractions: it is a source of hydro-electric power; it supports a thriving commercial fishing industry and provides a beautiful playground for locals and foreign visitors.

Lake Kariba has also become a refuge for wildlife and elephant, buffalo, rhino, hippo, crocodile and other animals thrive on the lush banks of the lake. The lake area itself is lovely: mountainous and fringed by teak forest, nature reserves and eerie landscapes of submerged trees - a photographer's dream.

Visitors will never forget the electric thrill of a racing reel as the line flies to the powerful pull of a fighting tigerfish; perhaps most unforgettable of all, watching the red sun sliding into dusky blackness as the earth turns beneath it into night whilst the dead trees that fill the lake and the blue-black mountains that slope down to its wooded shores, slowly merge with the blackness and are gone.

Lake Kariba is a very popular resort lake with an airport, harbour, lakeside hotels and lodges, huge houseboats, marinas, water-sports and fishing.

The best time to visit is during the winter months of June to August, when temperatures mild and pleasant. One of the more popular ways to see the lake is on a houseboat fitted with a swimming cage which allows guests to take cooling dips.

Lake Kariba is an all year destination which offers entertainment, relaxation, sport and adventure.

 
Victoria Falls Bridge

The Victoria Falls Bridge is an engineering feat linking Zimbabwe and Zambia. It’s Designer Sir Ralph Freeman also designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Spanning 152 metres, the bridge was the idea of Sir Cecil John Rhodes, who wanted the “spray of the Falls on the train carriages”.

The Victoria Falls Bridge has a rich history that spans over a hundred years. During your tour visitors will learn about Cecil John Rhodes’ dream of the Cape to Cairo railway line, the interesting tale of the bridge’s construction, how virtually impossible challenges were overcome in this endeavour and why the location of the bridge was chosen.

The tour includes amazing views of the Vic Falls area and the falls themselves. Guest will get an opportunity to walk on the underside of the bridge, and if lucky see the brave take a leap faith into the valley below.

 
The Big Tree

Baobab tree in Zimbabwe is over 1000 years old, known as The Big Tree. It is neither old nor big by Baobab standards, 20 meters tall and 16 meters around its trunk and only one third of the way to its full life expectation. This tree is a short drive from the Mighty Victoria Falls.

The Baobab is called the “Life giving tree” it is capable of providing shelter, food and water for the animal and human inhabitants of the African savannah regions. The cork-like bark is fire resistant and is used for textile and rope. The leaves are used for condiments and medicines.

The fruit, called "monkey bread", is rich in vitamin C and is eaten. The tree is capable of storing hundreds of litres of water, which is used in dry periods. Mature trees are often hollow, providing living space for numerous animals and humans alike. In some areas these trees are used as bars or for storage.

 
Traditional Dancing

Victoria Falls offers evening shows of traditional dancing – an excellent insight into African life. Three tribes tell stories through dance and song detailing important aspects about their culture. The coming of manhood, preparing for battle, the dangers of animals of the bush, spirit encounters and courting a young woman are all stories that enthrall visitors.

The haunting call of the Kudu horn, the rhythmic power of the drums, the costumes and masks, the pounding feet shaking the earth and traditional stories all make for an unforgettable evening.

Witness breathtaking, makishi stilt and pole dancing, circumcision rituals, vibrant war dancing, mysterious Nyau dancing and Spirit customs- Folklore-Song-Legendary drumming. Favoured, by International visitors and major tour operators as a highlight unsurpassed in Southern Africa.

 
David Livingstone Statue

His fame as an explorer helped drive forward the obsession with discovering the sources of the Nile River that formed the height of the classic period of European geographical discovery and colonial infiltration of the African continent.

The David Livingstone statue can be found at the left end of the Falls near the spectacular Devil’s Cataract viewpoint. On 16 November 1855, Livingstone (the first Western explorer to view the Falls) wrote in his journal: “…scenes so lovely must have been gazed on by angels in their flight.”

The Falls are 1.7km wide and the water drops over 100m down a sheer cliff rock face. The Falls are immense: 500,000 cubic metres of water tip over the edge every minute. That creates an unanticipated roar, and a spray of water that swirls into the air.
On the Zimbabwean side, a trail meanders along the edge of the falls while Livingstone's Statue overlooks the Devil's Cataract.

 
Museums

Livingstone Museum - this is in the middle of town and is well worth a visit. As well as an anthropological section, there are exhibits on witchcraft and natural history. The comprehensive collection of David Livingstone’s memorabilia is a special feature of this museum.

Railway Museum – A must for railway buffs as it depicts the history of Zambian railways and the building of the Victoria Falls bridge. Livingstone was the Railway Capital of a vast region and much of its prosperity came from the railways. The museum is devoted to that past and covers its history from the days when the bridge crossed the gorge to the building of the great TamZam railway in the late 1970's. For train buffs there are a unique collection of antique locomotives and coaches.

Field Museum – The Zambia Field Museum situated at the heritage site near the Victoria Falls Zambia, hosts records of the geological account for formation of the falls. On file it has records of early human habitation at the site. An Archaeologists dream the museum is situated on site of an archaeological dig.

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