Zimbabwe is a country that often gets depicted negatively. A country that suffered from civil war, a country with parks devastated by poaching, a country with an economy plagued with inflation of 1000% and even 10 000%, a country still headed by the dictator Robert Mugabe, a country where the press is controlled by the state, a country in ruins.
It is true that Zimbabwe is badly managed and that quality of life has gone down with time. However, I didn't feel that the country was dangerous or near breaking up. In fact, the Zimbabwean people are extremely friendly and welcoming. Zimbabwe was once the bread basket of Southern Africa. The country, even if it is crumbling and not maintained by the state or its people, is nevertheless superb and diverse. There are some parks that are full of animals, others have magnificent scenery. There is an astonishing diversity; ruins, mountains, waterfalls, rock paintings, and rivers...
Despite all the bad press that the country has gotten, it is quite an enjoyable place to visit for a traveller. I used a misleading title since I wanted to talk about Zimbabwe as a nation.
On a different topic, Zimbabwe is one of the rare countries where one can see ruins of ancient kingdoms partly restored. There are around ten of those ruins around the country. I visited the three most important.
Dhlo-Dhlo, also known under the name Dananombe, was built by a Torwa (Shona) dynasty before being conquered by the Rozwi in the 17th century. The Rozwi have moved from Khami after having themselves been invaded by another ethnic group.
Khami was the capital of the Shona civilization (Torwa) from the 15th to the 18th century.
Khami was built after the site called 'Great Zimbabwe'.
Great Zimbabwe is the greatest medieval city south of the Sahara (Black Africa). The site is listed as a UNESCO World heritage Site.
The region is inhabited since the 11th century, but the construction of the city has begun only in the 13th century. The whole complex has been built over a period of 100 years and could have sheltered between 10 000 and 20 000 persons. This rich political and religious capital has been the heart of the Rozwi culture.
The decline of the city is attributed to overpopulation and the depletion of local resources. When the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century, the city was almost completely abandoned.
Example of a Shona village still inhabited.