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  • La Rochelle: Comments from Visitors We would like to share a visitor comments and photographs on his recent stay at La Rochelle: Hi All, I decided to make the most of it and stay at La Rochelle – an up market, rambling, country style homestead 5 minutes down the Penhalonga Road just on the outskirts of Mutare. My first visit and ...
  • Historical footage Watch the 1957 Royal Tour of Rhodesia on YouTube the footage is around 12 minutes long and towards the end (11.5 minutes) there is some footage of the Courtualds and the Queen Mother taken at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Very interesting. It is linked to Memories of Rhodesia and produced by the African Film Productions, ...
  • Memorial Bench and plaque in recognition and in celebration of the life of Mr Darrel Plowes The National Trust was truly honored and fortunate to have Mr Darrel Plowes as an active member who one of the greatest all-round naturalists of Zimbabwe. Following a private family ceremony held in Mutare late last year a memorial bench was donated by Darrel’s family. Last month (June) the bench was placed in the orchid ...
  • Competition: International National Trust Organisation to promote Heritage Education! The NTZ is a proud member of the International National Trust Organisation and our colleagues John and Emily from the ‘Cross-Cultural Foundation’ of Uganda developed a concept for a project reflecting their conviction that we must focus much of our work on the youth and a desire to share the lessons they have learned from ...
  • Archeological Artefacts Excavated at Mabukuwene The property has a long social heritage that extends back from at laest 250,000 years to the early colonial era. This history is represented as archaeological sites, rock paintings, old village remains, graves and various stone and brick-built structures. In July 2017 the National Trust Zimbabwe (NTZ) gave permission to the National Museums & Monuments ...
  • World Heritage Day Global heritage group mobilising young people in fight to preserve cultural identity Today, the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) are launching a new resource, ‘Trust Kids!’, a list of 25 things young people can do to explore, celebrate, preserve and share their cultural heritage.  In her annual World Heritage Day Lecture, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chairman ...
  • Nyanga’s Unique History: Presentations over the Easter weekend “Nyanga’s Unique History” We have pleasure in announcing that two presentations will be taking place over the Easter weekend On understanding Nyanga’s rich archaeological heritage By Mr Robert Burrett,  Archaeologist On Saturday 15th April 2017 At 3 pm and Rhodes Hall, National Park (near the Area Manager’s Office), Nyanga, Zimbabwe Monday 17th April 2017 At 10 am Nyanga Community Library, Nyanga Village, Zimbabwe Entry – FREE! Enquiries: O Bepe 0773050801; ...
  • Spirit of Place Statements The Spirit of Place (SoP) concept was established at the Quebec conference of the International Council on Monuments and Sites in 2008.  SoP is defined as “the tangible (buildings, sites, landscapes, routes, objects) and the intangible elements (memories, narratives, written documents, rituals, festivals, traditional knowledge, values, textures, colours, odours, etc.). It is the physical and ...

We are very pleased to share the latest good news about our:  La Rochelle Garden Restoration Project  

We have made good progress on the restoration of the Dell garden this year. Many of our guests that have                      come to the garden, have commented on its transformation over the last couple of years. I find that it is                          once again the main attraction for guests who come to La Rochelle. The beauty of being involved in a                              project such as this, is seeing what was accomplished last year blossom into something people can                                  enjoy today.

Mr Kevin Martin, Estate Manager

The Nursery and Orchid Centre that was refurbished last year is looking better and better with each month that passes.  Koi fish have been bought for one of the ponds and goldfish for another. The goldfish have started breading and we will be able to stock other ponds from this. We have completed the toilet block at the Nursery. This has wheel chair access and has drinking water for garden visitors. The orchids have done well this year since the houses have been restored. The greatest impact is seen on the Phalaenopsis and Cattleya that are in the glass and heated houses. We have been inviting schools and orphanages to visit and be taught basic knowledge on plants and trees.

See photos below of Nursery and Orchid Centre

orchid-houseWe have made good progress on the restoration of the Dell garden this year. Many of our guests that have come to the garden, have commented on its transformation over the last couple of years. I find that it is once again the main attraction for guests who come to La Rochelle. The beauty of being involved in a project such as this, is seeing what was accomplished last year blossom into something people can enjoy today. I       orchid-3

orchid    orchid-4

Hillcrest School grade 5                                                  Riverside School grade 1 and 2

kids-and-plants           kids-in-garden

Restoration of the Dell

This year we have been working on the Dell. To help in doing this we have rebuilt the tractor trailer. This has been most helpful on the project and other areas of La Rochelle.

The Aloe and Cycad Garden

In the aloe and cycad garden we have removed many trees that had come up in amongst the aloes and were over shading them. Unfortunately this damaged many of the Aloes. The damaged plants have been used as our propagation material for replanting. The underground irrigation has also been repaired. We have mulched this whole area to improve water retention and the soils and will be replanting this area with the coming rains.

Before                                                                                                             After

before                                    after

Aloes and Cycads cleared of weeds and mulched

aloes                               aloes-and-steps

cycads

Area around the dam

We have built a bridge to the island where we have placed a bench. It’s a lovely quiet place to go sit and watch the birds. We also restored the row boat for use on the dam. This has been an entertaining addition to our activities. Since January we have started feeding the fish in the dam. We  hope that we will be able to offer fishing as an activity soon. We have repaired the retaining walls that were collapsing on the steep banks around the dam. Soil retaining plants have been planted on the banks in large swathes that we hope will give quite a good impression. The dam is still leaking badly when it gets over three quarters full. We have had the water engineer that advised using the plastic membrane originally, come and look at it. He has advised that it will not be too difficult to repair and explained how to do it, we are working on a quote to repair it.

dam            dam-and-bridge

Paving

Work started on repairing the paving through the garden.  We estimate that there is about 9km of paving throughout the garden and we have completed about a quarter of it so far. We are reusing as much of the existing paving as possible but are also relaying new concrete in sections.

new-paving                      paving

Benches and Dustbins

There were no dustbins in the garden and rubbish has always been a problem. We made 18 new metal dustbins and placed them through the garden.

The existing benches were refurbished and new ones were made bringing the total to 26. We also used logs, from trees that were removed from the garden, to make natural benches.

benches

Gazebo

We have rebuilt the gazebo at the top of the garden. The size was increased so that the area inside was practical. A view has been opened up along the river and this is now a favourite spot for visitors. Gardens in this area will be replanted with the coming rains.

gazebo          new-gazebo

Tree surgery

There were a lot of dead trees and branches that we have removed most of now. Trees have been removed where they were overshadowing other rare trees. This has allowed a lot of much needed light in.

Irrigation

We have repaired two of the four lines of underground piping and garden taps on this side of the garden. These get water from the water furrow. As a backup, we have also made allowance to connect them to the borehole water supply.

A lot of shrubs and ground covers have been propagated in the nursery. These we have collected from people in Mutare who have kindly opened up their gardens for to us to collect planting material from. We eagerly await the rains when we can begin replanting the garden.

Thank you to the hardworking and very dedicated Estate Manager and all his team, all of the restoration was only made possible by a very generous donor that the NTZ is enourmously appreciative of.

NEW: Publication

We are very pleased to announce that publication of a very comprehensive booklet entitiled “Nyanga’s Rich Heritage”by Khami Press, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  The booklet has been co-edited by Mrs Edone Anne Logan, Chairperson of the NTZ Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition, and Mr Robert Burrett, Archeologist and Historian, who spent a considerable amount of time compiling the information. The main aims of this booklet are to inform Zimbabweans and overseas visitors  on the many and varied aspects of the rich natural and social heritage of this area, and through knowledge and interest encourage a sense of pride and a wish to preserve this heritage.   It is the authors hope that  the booklet, which includes many historical black and white photographs,  will  serve as a historical reference for those interested in Nyanga – particularly the early pre-history period. Proceeds from sales of the booklet will assist with generating funds for the Rhodes Nyanga Exhibition where it will be sold.

Nyanga Rich Heritage

The booklet has 100 A5 pages, the contents include the following chapter headings:

  • Nyanga : our home
  • Geography
  • Our Natural Heritage
  • Our Archeological Heritage
  • Community History
  • The Anti-Colonial Struggle
  • The Nyanga National Park
  • Some Nyanga Hotels : a little History
  • Nyanga Churches and Missions
  • Driving to Nyanga: a Roadside Guide for the Visitor. The latter a detailed description of the way from Rusape to beyond Nyanga town.

The booklet is available at the cost of USD$5.00 from the following people:

  • Nyanga: Edone Ann Logan Email: leecrofts@bsatt.com Tel: +263774459477
  • Edgar Nyagwaya Email: enenyagwaya@gmail.com Tel: +263772974681
  • Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition
  • Nyanga National Parks Office
  • Rhodes Hotel and Montclair Hotel
  • La Rochelle Boutique Hotel
  • Harare: Dave Scott Email: dashcott@telkomsa.net Tel: +263772572966
  • The bookshop at the Hub, Chisipite
  • Rosanne Kenny Email: kenny01@gmail.com Tel: +263772328193
  • Bulawayo: Rob Burrett Email: robburrett@icloud.com

Other Publications:

Mr Rob Burret is also the author of a series of cultural and social hisotical booklets that are all available from the at the same cost USD$5.00 each:

  • Nyanga’s Rich Heritage
  • Khami World Heritage Site
  • Great Zimbabwe
  • Bulawayo Heritage (Focus on the town)
  • Ironspine & Ribs (History of Rhodesian Railways & NRZ)
  • Bulawayo Memories (Focus on regional monuments and historical places)

Postage Rates for the booklets from Zimbabwe is as follows:

  • Southern Africa $3.50
  • UK & Europe $5.00
  • Rest of the World $6.50 (Australia, New Zealand, USA, Asia)
  • Zimbabwe $1.00

Subject to rates applicable. Please confirm first with Rob Burrett on khamipress@gmail.com

 

New Travel Article posted

Please see link below for a recent review of La Rochelle Country House Estate compiled by a travel writer:

linkhttps://wolfganghthome.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/zimbabwes-eastern-highlands-continue-to-amaze/

 

World Heritage Day: 18th April

World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.

On 18 April 1982 on the occasion of a symposium organised by ICOMOS in Tunisia, the holding of the “International Day for Monuments and Sites” to be celebrated simultaneously throughout the world was suggested. This project was approved by the Executive Committee who provided practical suggestions to the National Committees on how to organise this day.

The idea was also approved by the UNESCO General Conference who passed a resolution at its 22nd session in November 1983 recommending that Member States examine the possibility of declaring 18 April each year “International Monuments and Sites Day”. This has been traditionally called the World Heritage Day and it affords an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it.

As part of this years heritage celebrations The new Chairman, Dame Fiona Reynolds, gave a lecture on the threats and opportunities facing heritage across the globe and you can read it here:

World Heritage Day speech (15 04 16 4pm)

You can also read the INTO State of Global Heritage report here:

“The long-term sustainability of cultural heritage depends on ensuring its use and developing local support. Without heritage being valued and protected, it will become irrelevant and disappear.”

Taboroff, 2002.

State of Global Heritage NTO 2016

 

 

AND FROM OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe2 weeks ago
Some more comments from recent visitors to la Rochelle:-
"La Rochelle - Have friend who stayed there recently with some Art ladies they really enjoyed the weekend lovely gardens"
………….
"I used to go to La Rochelle when it was still in the Courtauld family...Lady Courtauld was still alive and we used to have tea on the verandah... those gardens were magnificent... i remember it as being so much bigger and so full of colour back then...I think the Manager is doing a remarkable job... it looks wonderful. Regards Rose"
………………
"This was the home of Lord and Lady Courtauld. There should be a statue there of her pet lemur and the round turret was for her stone collection. They had interesting visitors who signed the lounge window. They had so many antiques that Mr Holland refused to value the contents so a valuer was sent out from the UK. They also planted all different trees. Glad to hear it is running well"
National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe added 4 new photos.2 weeks ago
With thanks to Mike Garden of Bambazonke:-

Hi All, I decided to make the most of it and stay at La Rochelle – an up market, rambling, country style homestead 5 minutes down the Penhalonga rd just on the outskirts of Mutare. My first visit and I have been impressed by how well it is being run; the excellent dinners; and the relaxed feel about the place.

The main house had lots of long passageways and a large lounge as was the architecture favoured some 50 plus years ago. Saturday night in the main living room had several families playing games like scrabble and dominoes with their kids –pleasant music playing quietly in the background. There are bookshelves all over the place with books dating back to the early 20th century – I browsed through a few: “A Great Book of Humour” (1935) with short stories from about 30 authors including Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy; and then there was “Echoes of Old Country Life” (1892). I did, of course, have to glance through a more modern “Remarkable Gardens of SA!” (2012) lying on the coffee table

When the work was done I took off on my Bike for a ride along the backroads – all uphill to my dismay – I ended up traversing what seemed like the Stairways to Heaven – one of those where every corner brings yet another steep rise – still people living way up there with local ladies ascending the hill seemingly unaffected by the heavy buckets on their heads.

One of the lovely aspects of staying at a place like this is that you have a chance to chat to all sorts of interesting people. I had a drink with a very bright guy from Sterling in Scotland who was travelling around the country with a couple of mates.

La Rochelle is ideal for either a stopover on the way to or from Mozambique or for a week ago away from the Madding crowd. A pleasant drive just over 3 hours from Harare. Take time out soon Mike G.

A quote that caught my attention in the Humour Book “ Mrs Wright and Mr Bolt were sipping liqueurs and lingering over that inestimable stage of human companionship when acquaintance is drifting into something higher, wider, nobler, broader, deeper and fuller”! (F.E. Baily in “Look this Way Babe”). A little more subtle than the likes of “50 shades of Grey”!
National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe1 month ago
ORGANIC FIELD DAY to be held at LA ROCHELLE
National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe added 4 new photos.4 months ago
Photographs by Rob Burrett, from his very recent visit to WORLD'S VIEW, Nyanga. Rob's report to follow....
National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe5 months ago
SPIRIT OF PLACE STATEMENT
The Spirit of Place (SoP) concept was established at the Quebec conference of the International Council on Monuments and Sites in 2008. SoP is defined as “the tangible (buildings, sites, landscapes, routes, objects) and the intangible elements (memories, narratives, written documents, rituals, festivals, traditional knowledge, values, textures, colours, odours, etc.). It is the physical and the spiritual elements that give meaning, value, emotion and mystery to place. SoP is a critical tool for identifying conservation priorities for cultural heritage, but is also applicable for conserving natural sites which have a meaning to communities.
SoP is a short statement that expresses what is unique, distinctive and cherished about a particular place; and which guides all activities to improve the quality of everything that we do at that place. It is a statement of the tangible and intangible special qualities of a place, providing the NTZ with a framework for conservation and management

LA ROCHELLE
Experience both the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of a country estate, and feel the passion held by Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld to settle here and literally ‘put down roots’ as the saying goes. The house and grounds are what has made La Rochelle a lasting treasure to be enjoyed in perpetuity by the nation of Zimbabwe and its visitors. It will forever evoke images of a time in history when this very generous titled couple, who combined English ancestry and Italian and Hungarian ancestries as well, adopted not only this country, but also its people and took both to their hearts.
Their public-spirited generosity, and their enduring interest in promoting the various arts, music and culture, as well as a deep desire to improve the welfare of the lower echelons of the population, means that they will always be remembered for their generous largesse towards Zimbabwe even though these contributions were always made very quietly and modestly and never openly and flamboyantly.
Their foresight in donating La Rochelle to the National Trust now enables one to not only spend a weekend or more inside their very home, but also to walk the pathways so lovingly designed and created by Sir Stephen and his massive team of gardeners and planners, and to relax for a while in a haven of peace and beauty and marvel at the extensive collection of rare orchids.
Stop for a while in The Dell, close your eyes, drift away to the late 1950’s era and just pretend that you are one of Sir Stephen’s invited guests for the weekend, the way he would have wanted it to be. Breathe in the scents surrounding you through this beautiful garden and think of Lady Virginia and her kind and generous nature as she busied herself for the day with the local ladies and their knitting and crotchet projects that she funded. Picture in your mind the soft tunes drifting down from the house from piano and violin as the invited musicians ready their instruments for the evening.
Take the time to enjoy this very special home and garden remembering that the Courtauld’s former home is here for all future generations to be able to admire and enjoy.

WORLDS VIEW
Sit above the clouds and birds flying and gaze down from one of the highest points in the land of Zimbabwe (approx 2,300 metres), across the central plateau almost a kilometre below. The view is of a land of mystery, of peace and of extreme beauty and it seems endless. As you gaze across the landscape spreading out in all directions beneath you, imagine a time before time when no human being was here. Move on through history to think of the earliest inhabitants of our beautiful country, the ‘Bushmen’, living life off the abundance of nature in surely what must easily be one of the most beautiful landmarks of Zimbabwe.
Today the distant huts, hills and hamlets are bright and baked in the midday heat, then fade as the setting sun behind them throws its blue dusty shadows as it journeys to lands to the west when lights begin to twinkle and the chill of the highvelt evening, and the ever present wind sighing through the wattles and pines around you sound like the sea but you are in a land locked country.
Your eyes are overwhelmed by beauty at every turn, you tread on the land of forgotten peoples that possibly inhabited the area in the 14th and 15th centuries, you can feel their ancestors and see the cultural history in the forts, stone walls, pit structures and square kilometres of massive terraces: all beautifully crafted and utterly intriguing. Everywhere. But built by whom? How? For what: Agriculture? Slave enclosures? Livestock protection? Self defence? Mining?
All these have stood. And fallen. Only one thing is certain, and that is that these questions are not easily answered, and your favourite pet theory is as likely as any other.
As you climb down into the valley in the morning freshness, limbs quivering with exertion and great lungful’s of fresh mountain air drink from cooling streams, feel the cooling breeze dry the sweat on your back and feel the pulse of primal life quicken in your ears and veins.
MUBUKUWENE
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.
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.

MURAWAH’S HILL
One can almost hear the chattering of little children and the wisdom-filled murmuring of the elders as they sit beneath the trees and on the surrounding rocks in dappled sunlight sharing hunting stories and waiting for the night fires to light up before an evening under the stars; exchanging ancient traditional lore and planning the next day’s hunt.
This is an important place and is respected for the wealth of history it holds, albeit unwritten and perhaps mostly based on assumption and imagination, as there is no record remaining from when the Hill was inhabited by the Ziwa 200-400 A.D., apart from the pottery findings and other remnants from history.
Rich in birdlife and carrying an abundance of indigenous trees, as well as butterflies and other insects Murawah’s Hill is a small sanctuary and natural memorial to the tribe’s people now lost in history.
We owe it to their memory to preserve it and respect it as they would appreciate it.

SEBAKWE POORT
Meander through an area of natural and unspoiled woodland comprising a large number of species of indigenous trees, including many fine specimens of several different Acacia species and watch the Sebakwe River flowing through the Sebakwe Poort (gorge): it is an impressive sight.

RHODES NYANGA HISTORICAL EXHIBITION

Join the many people that visit the unique public display of ancient manuscripts, photographs and other exhibits of interest relating to Nyanga and persons and events connected with its history and development.
Connect with the past as you wander around the fascinating exhibits on show inside a historical building known as Rhodes Stables, once used for the stabling of horses and mules, part of Cecil John Rhodes’ Nyanga residence.
Enjoy the memorabilia depicting the life and times of early Zimbabwe, from the Stone Age to modern times together with the art, culture and traditions of this beautiful area.
Come and enjoy an insight into life as it was then.

FORT GOMO KADZAMU
Sit in a small stone fort located at the top of a gomo (hill in Shona) that is typical of the many fortifications in the eastern half of Zimbabwe. Part of the Nyanga Cultural Tradition these lowland forts were associated with the Shona Dynasties that postdate the Great Zimbabwe Culture. Be thrilled when you see the small wall enclosing the summit with a door with a stone lintel.
Walk over broken granite terrain and through wisps of Old Man’s Beard Lichen Usnea hanging from the branches of the Msasa trees Brachystegia spiciformis in the pristine Miombo woodland.
Marvel at the 360 degree views from the summit and enjoy your picnic under the cooling the tree cover and be in awe of the cultural heritage of the settlement that probably dates to the 17th to the 19th centuries A.D.
National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe5 months ago
“Nyanga’s unique history”
2 Presentations over the Easter weekend on
Understanding nyanga’s archaeological heritage
By archaeologist Robert burrett
Saturday 15th April, 3pm Rhodes Hall, National Park (near the Area Manager’s Office).
Monday 17th April, 10am Nyanga Community Library, Nyanga Village.
Entry – FREE ! Enquiries: O Bepe 0773050801;
W Dhlandhlara 0772252958; E Logan 0774 459 477

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