Stand just a few kilometres south of Bulawayo City centre and soak up the atmosphere and imagine the area as it was over 100 years ago, with ox wagons and their teams of oxen outspanned in the dry red dust and now final resting place of some of the country’s earliest settlers. What a rugged life they must have led, in the early days of this great country; travelling north to discover more, crossing rivers, valleys, hills and rocky outcrops in their quest for adventure and a yearning to finally settle in this bountiful land. Stand still awhile and cast your thoughts back in time and remember all the brave souls who adventured forth into unknown territory to found this great nation.
Tom Meikle bought Mabukuwene in1937 and often rode there with his daughters. He built the walls around the property, cleared the underbrush, and set the historic wrought-iron gates in the gate posts. When he died in1939 he was buried in a gentle sloping granite outcrop under the spreading arm of a giant wild fig tree. The arms of the fig tree throw a chequered pattern of sunlight and shadow on the granite. Members of his family joined him in later years. Other kopjies and ranks of bushveld trees ring the area and immediately around there is a paddock of golden grass. It was transferred to the National Trust in 1978 and subsequently the grave area was transferred back to the Meikles Trust in 1995.
Mabukuwene is a lovely place, restful and secluded where a person can sit in the sun, relax and think and enjoy 12 hectares of indigenous trees and plants set in an unspoilt area of kopjes with their distinctive pink hue. Stand on an outcrop and admire the view from 1442 meters (4730 feet) above sea level that affords a 360 º view point of the area.
Explore the two small areas of gardens, a plantation of jacaranda trees along an originally proposed drive-way, short lengths of dry-stone walling previously dividing the property into paddocks, a roofless ruined house (the barn) and a circular, stone-walled thatched-roofed lookout on the highest rocks. One of the small garden areas is the site of the grave and the other surrounds the house and lookout point in the centre of the property.
Discover some 80 different species of indigenous trees including some exceptionally fine specimens of Ficus ficus sonderi and EuphorbIa ingens. When in flower they attract a wide variety of birds typical of the habitat, nearly 100 species have been recorded such as Natal Francolin, Guinea Fowl and Spotted Eagle Owls. Look out for small mammals such as squirrels and dassies scampering around in the bush.
And so the wilderness called Mabukuwene continues, emphasizing the preservation of the indigenous flora and fauna and cultural heritage of the area.
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