For those who read the papers or watch the news, Zimbabwe is portrayed as nothing less than hell on earth, ruled by a maniacal despot oppressing his subjects. But for those with a sense of curiosity, there is more to this country, including its fantastic education and friendly citizens.
The Victoria Falls
Stretching across Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Victoria Falls (also smugly known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or the “smoke that thunders”) tops the list of majestic sights and experiences Zimbabwe has to offer. A World Heritage Site, the Victoria Falls is the world’s largest waterfall spanning a total of 1,708m in width and 108 metres in height. Surrounded by luxurious resorts and game farms it is the perfect holiday spot for anyone wanting to be wowed by nature.
An outing on Lake Kariba might be the most underrated excursion the country offers. Unlike the Victoria Falls, this is a man-made wonder that offers safaris that can be taken by houseboat or on foot. Bird-watching and fishing are very popular on and around the lake.
Every town has that one thing that is inexplicable, and defies logic and all the laws of economics. KwaMereki is one such place. Offering nothing else but picnic areas in sparse surrounds, a lady to braai your meat, and a place to park your car, this venue has been in existence since time immemorial. Every weekend scores of local residents make their way there and soak up the sun with some grilled meat and the company of good friends. While most companies folded during the economic crisis that hit the country and crippled the economy, KwaMereki not only remained in business – it thrived! Next time you are in Bob’s country ask a local to take you there for the best braaied meat in town and a cold beer. You will not be disappointed.
Jacaranda’s in bloom
Planted alongside neighbourhood avenues all over the country, every spring jacaranda’s trees are in full bloom, and proudly litter the road with their vibrant purple blossoms. This makes for a gorgeous purple carpet on the road that is the most magnificent sight.
While most artists might lament that they, like prophets of old, are not appreciated in their hometowns, nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to multi award-winning musician Oliver Mtukudzi. A regular on the local music scene since 1977, Oliver, affectionately known as Tuku, is undoubtedly one of Zimbabwe’s most successful exports and well-loved artists. With his distinct Tuku music style he, to this, day enjoys sold-out performances whenever he takes the stage at home and abroad. Tuku is the first Zimbabwean to be titled UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and be awarded the prestigious Cavaliere of the Order of Merit Award by the government of Italy.
Harare International Festival of the Arts
HIFA is a 6-day annual festival and workshop programme that showcases the very best of local, regional and international arts and culture in a comprehensive festival programme of theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, spoken word, visual arts. HIFA has come to be seen as an important symbol of something positive about Zimbabwe, unifying socially and culturally disparate groups of Zimbabweans at a time of ideological conflict and political uncertainty bringing huge audiences together to celebrate something positive – the healing and constructive capacity of the arts. HIFA 2014 will be the 15th edition of the Festival. Since its inception in 1999, the Festival has received recognition for its support of arts and culture in Zimbabwe and is seen as a major contributor to development in this area. HIFA is now the largest cultural event in Zimbabwe, among the eight major festivals in Africa and a significant player on the international Arts and Culture circuit.
Legend of the Nyaminyami
The legend of the Nyaminyami is one that every Zimbabwean knows. Said to reside in the Zambezi River, this is a dragon-like creature with the head of a fish and the body of a snake. Locals believe that the spirits of the Nyaminyami (and his wife) are there to protect the locals (particularly the Tonga people) and provide for them in times of lack
Did you know?
• Zimbabwe got its name from "Dzimba dza mabwe", which means "great houses of stone" in the Shona language.
• Zimbabwe is believed to be the location of Ophir, the ancient wealthy country from which King Solomon got ivory, gold, and such other precious items.