Life in Rhodesia: part three

This is part three of Linda’s life in Rhodesia. To read her previous instalments, click here.

There are eight species of Baobab – the African variety, six in Madagascar and one in Australia. The African variety is the largest and is found in 20 sub-Saharan countries – it thrives in dry climes which have low to moderate seasonal rainfall. Baobabs do not like to be very wet at all. These trees get handsome at about 800 years old.

trees

The Bushmen believed that the Baobab had offended God and, in revenge, God planted the tree upside down. Certainly, when winter comes, the Baobab resembles a mass of roots pointing towards the sky instead of being underground. The Baobab has been associated with many myths, mysteries and folklore. Even the flowers bloom at night. Bushmen believed that any person who plucks the flowers will be torn apart by lions, because there are spirits in the flowers. When water is drunk, in which the Baobab’s pips have been soaked, this serves as protection from crocodiles and the drinker will be mighty.

The Baobab has a special role in Africa. Elephants, monkeys and baboons depend on its fruit (the vitamin C content of one fruit is the equivalent of 4 oranges); bats pollinate them by crashing into the flowers while chasing insects; bush babies also spread the pollen; the pollen can be used as glue; the seeds are rich in protein, calcium, oil and phosphates – they can also be roasted and ground like coffee beans; young leaves have a high calcium content and can be used as spinach; the trunk is fibrous and can be woven into rope mats and paper; beer and tea can be made from the bark, but you need a strong constitution to drink either.

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Matopos Hills Bulawayo

hil

These hills cover an area of about 3,100 square km, with 424 square km is National Park.

rocks

While in Bulawayo on holiday we made time to go to the Matopos and visit Cecil John Rhodes grave. It is quite a walk but well worth the beautiful views.

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rockss

Beautiful balancing rocks at the Matopos. I always found them fascinating.

lizard

A common flat lizard found all over the Matopos.

Just before we left Rhodesia to come to Australia we went and visited the Zimbabwe ruins. It is an absolutely fascinating place. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe – the capital of the Queen of Sheba, according to an age-old legend – are a unique testimony to the Bantu civilization of the shona between the 11th and 15th centuries. Walking through these ruins is just amazing that something so old is still standing.

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Bird

Zimbabwe Bird

The Zimbabwe Bird is the national emblem of Zimbabwe, appearing on the national flags and coats of arms of both Zimbabwe and Rhodesia

The original carved birds are from the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe, which was built by ancestors of the Shona, starting in the 11th century and continuing for over 300 years. The ruins, after which modern Zimbabwe was named, cover some 1,800 acres (7.3 km²) and are the largest ancient stone construction in Zimbabwe. Among its notable elements are the soapstone bird sculptures, about 16 inches tall and standing on columns more than a yard tall, were installed on walls and monoliths of the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe. They are believed to have been a sign of the royal presence.

 

Have you seen fascinating flora and fauna on your travels like Lynda? What wildlife and nature did you see? Tell us below!