Friday 22 January 2010

Rock Paintings

On my last evening in Zimbabwe, Robbie and I went, with R’s delightful friend Charlotte, to a place called Domboshava.
This is a granite rock the size of a small mountain about 30km outside Harare.

Here’s the interpretative centre:

They have a quaint custom in Zimbabwe of having one price for locals and another for tourists. At Domboshava, the sign announced admission was $2 for Zimbabweans, $10 for non-Zimbabweans. I find that a bit unencouraging to the tourist trade, personally. With no intention of paying five times the local rate, I just smiled sweetly at the woman and handed over $2. If the attendant didn’t hear me speak, how would she know I wasn’t a local?

We climbed up to the top, where we met two friends of Charlotte celebrating their wedding anniversary. Then Robbie and I climbed down the other side to look for the prehistoric rock paintings. And took some photos of flame lilies.

(Interpretative Signage.)

Look: there’s an elephant …

and some bisonybuffalowildebeest type things …

Domboshava zings. It has the energy of a place that has been a centre for human activity for centuries. In an odd way, it put me in mind of Notre Dame – they both have charged atmospheres.

The other reason for the charged atmosphere was the almighty thunderstorm that broke out when we were on top of the rock. (Perhaps because Robbie did a Sermon on the Mount impression?)

We ran down the slope, lightning hitting the rock behind us, rain coming down in sheets. We took refuge in the bar at the bottom, and drank beer in the dark, because there was no electricity.


  1. It's a w not a y in Domboshawa Sue but that confusion is likely due to my pronouncing it in the local way rather than saying it like most Murungus do and pronouncing it DomboSHOWER! We certainly got showered on on our descent from that mighty whale of a rock didn't we! I loved drinking beer stripped to to waist in the dark in that oversized thatched bar. Sitting here in my dark railway arch in Vauxhall it seems a distant but very warm memory.

  2. You have an archaeology tag on your blog finally! That made me very happy. Also the elephant. And I think there were some magic eland too. Very very pretty. Were there any special Bushmen with funky scarves in the pictures?

  3. Also, isn't having a lower price for locals supposed to be an incentive for people to appreciate their own heritage (I sound like a Stonehenge hippy here, but bear with me), especially when some of them might not otherwise be able to afford the price of entry? I reckon making money out of tourists (especially when it's not all that much) is pretty fair game.

  4. Roho, editorial standards have been slipping, so thanks for pointing out spelling mistakes. Have edited to read 'Domboshava' to go with photo of entrance. Interweb seems to have equal amounts of 'Domboshawa' and 'Domboshava'. Was such an amazing experience ... and really hard to believe was less than a month ago.

  5. Amazing post!!! I like the blog very much as it discusses about the regions of Zimbabwe. The rock mountain that author along with her friends had gone, is very fabulous. The pictures shared had been quite fabulous as well. While I was sharing this informative post with my friends few days back, I recalled one of my best trips in my life to Thailand. It was a sunny day when I had got along with my five friends to a Lodge being Karen Hill Tribe Lodge( ). It is situated in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and is a beautiful place to visit. The Lodge's food was too delicious.

  6. The blog looks cool and interesting. The place being Domboshava looked to be nice spot to be visited. My uncle and aunt had visited Chiang Mai, which is situated in Thailand seven months back and had experienced wild life safari on the back of elephant. These services are provided by Asian Elephant Safari (, which takes you through the widely spread Thai forest and give you glimpse of Karen Hill Tribe people and their way of life. The food served in the Lodge is quite amazing.