Welcome to this our 3rd Newsletter of this year.

We sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are as little affected as possible by the Covid pandemic which continues to wreak havoc on lives and livlihoods throughout the world.

Firstly, we are most grateful to a number of members and visitors who have very kindly responded to an appeal for financial help which has gone a long way in securing some funding for the wages and salaries of the loyal, harworking and dedicated staff at some of our active sites during this very quiet 'Covid pandemic time'. Of course visitor numbers are drastically down on 'normal' times and we hope that with time, our visitor numbers will increase again.

Acknowledgements and thanks for donations received to date include from the following kind donors:-
  • Carol and Rob Maunsell
  • Roy Turner Trust through John Legat
  • Brendan Reilly who is donating towards the living expenses of the curator for the foreseeable future if need be or at least until tourism comes back. Wow!
  • Chris Halse Bond
  • Anne Baille
  • Jenny Hunt
  • Dawn Siemers
The Trust is very grateful for all help in these trying times while we endeavour to maintain our properties and improve them at the same time so that our next wave of visitors can enjoy what we have to offer!

News from LA ROCHELLE:-

We are pleased to announce that a soft copy of the La Rochelle Signature book is now ready for sale! Huge thanks go to Heather White, Nina Bauer, Catherine Leonard and Bill Turner for all their hard work and valuable time to reach this point: the launch of the Trusts first e-book.
The cost of a PDF version of the Book is only USD 20.00 and it is available on our website, here is the link:
People can purchase an electronic PDF version of the book via our website provider: Change Canada Consultants Ltd. (aka Bill Turner). When the link is clicked they will be taken to their secure website where their sale will be processed and payment taken via credit card. When payment is processed a link to download the publication from their server will be given.
A printed hard, colour book will be available in Zimbabwe shortly.
All proceeds from the book sales go the NTZ.
Heather and Nina we are so very appreciative of your generosity.

Please do spread the news of the e-book to all your contacts.
Great teamwork in a collaboration between our Trust family in Australia, Canada, UK and Zimbabwe. Well done everyone.

Please find below a link to an article on the recent opening of the Tea Factory entitled ‘Historic Property and Novel Crops’. Please feel free to share.

Just in case you have not seen the articles in the local newspaper here are the links:
We have attached some photos from La Rochelle and the opening of the tea factory at the end of the newsletter.

Overview from the Annual Report - La Rochelle

It has been a challenging twelve months for La Rochelle Centre, with the Covid-19 Global pandemic leading to a low to zero occupancy for much of the first half of 2020. Our people have showed their resilience during these difficult times, celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the National Trust of Zimbabwe in true Courtauld fashion including the opening of the new NTZ succulent garden to commemorate this event. In addition, our team has worked hard on new projects, such as the organic vegetable garden and upgrading infrastructure including plumbing, roofing, staff accommodation and toilets and upgrading of the former ‘rondavel’. One of this year's most significant successes has been the launch of the Skillshare Programme aimed at skills training and creating income-generating opportunities for women from the local community.

Skillshare hub
The La Rochelle Centre, true to its vision and mission as a ‘nexus of education, culture, arts and agriculture, commits to the local community in which it operates and the sustainable development goals such as decent work and economic growth.
As part of this commitment, La Rochelle, continuing Lady Virginia’s legacy has recently launched a Skill-share programme to transfer skills generally to the community and to women particularly, creating sustainable incomes through projects such as embroidery, pottery, weaving, and beekeeping.

The activities include identifying and recruiting women and leading volunteers in skill, training, mentorship, and business skills. The projects cover design, development, production and marketing. In short the project will support women in the wider community developing their skills helping provide market access to sell their products and growing their enterprises.
If you are on LinkedIn please can you help to grow our audience/community and invite your contacts to follow our page. They will receive a personal invitation to follow.

Once again, we thank all our visitors for their continued support and generosity at the View. Even at the height of the Covid pandemic, we kept the View site open for those willing to tackle the harsh road ‘up the mountain’ to take in the fresh mountain air, enjoy the magnificent scenery, flora and birdlife. Most returning visitors now bring their picnic baskets and cooler boxes and make a real day of it, some stay well into the evening to witness the magnificent sunsets from the various vantage points and toposcope.
Early morning dew on Spiders Web by Tony Martin
Early morning dew on a spider's web - Photo Credit: Tony Martin
We have managed to complete a number of projects over the past year despite our downturrn in income. A new stairway down to the ‘bush walk’ has been built and now gives safe access to a short walk 'on the wild side'

A number of new stone benches have been built with some of the best views over the valley. They are being well used by visitors who really appreciate the extra facilities.
Just below the toposcope, an old staircase was discovered after removing some ground cover overgrowth. We tagged on another bench which now provides a pleasant shady spot for visitors to sit. It should take about a year for the grass and shrubs to established themselves, providing that the oncoming winter does not take its toll!

Another of our generous visitors, Mr and Mrs Alberti , donated funds for the construction of ‘The Robertson Bench, which has been built in a rocky outcrop just above the ‘bush walk’ We thank them most sincerely for sponsoring this bench and allowing us to ‘keep the change’ that was left over after completion.
Mr and Mrs Alberti returned to site to celebrate the completion of the Robertson Bench

Mr and Mrs Alberti returned to site to celebrate completion of he Robertson Bench

Our latest development to be completed is our new bird viewing platform, affectionately known as The Hide.
An enclosed, wind and rain proof little building, sunk into the cliff side. The most spectacular place to sit in comfort and wait and watch for the birds of prey to fly past below. The Hide has already become a favourite for people, even non-birders, to meet for sundowners to watch the changing colours of the evening sky.

Construction was slow but steady, using funds as they became available. Our grateful thanks to Mike Hoggard for his generous donation which allowed us to complete the project earlier than expected.

And … a big cheers to everyone involved in
the construction, and to all those visitors who
will have many happy times at The Hide.
Luke, our caretaker assisting Stephen the builder on one of the benches
Luke, our caretaker assisting Stephen the builder on one of the benches
Matrina at work on the steps
Matrina at work on the steps
One of the beautiful proteas in all its magnificence at Worlds View
Shamiso Mapara, co-founder and executive director of Eco Buddies Zimbabwe and Annabel Chitambwe
Shamiso Mapara, co-founder and executive director of Eco Buddies Zimbabwe and Annabel Chitambwe
Shamiso Mapara, co-founder and executive director of Eco Buddies Zimbabwe and Annabel Chitambwe communications manager, paid us a visit in October 2020. EBZ is a non-profit organisation working in both rural and urban communities in Zimbabwe. The organisation was founded in 2013 by three young people from Zimbabwe because of their concern for the sad state of the rural communities’ environment. They saw the need to establish community-based afforestation and reforestation projects in rural areas following massive deforestation over the last number of years. Deforestation has deprived many of their livelihoods, which are traditionally centred on forest reserves. They feel that to combat environmental degradation in the future requires strong leadership and innovative ideas from young people, so EBZ pride themselves in empowering young Zimbabweans to have the capacity to initiate sustainable development driven initiatives.

Zimbabwe loses more than three hundred hectares of forest yearly (Forestry Commission, 2008)
The Woodland family
The Woodland family
For one of the earlier events, the Woodland family returned, for a third time, to entertain the ‘crowd’ when the 2020 Christmas carols were sang at Worlds View: Peter on trumpet, Andrew on saxophone and Victoria on flute (pictured above), played from the toposcope during interval. They received huge applause from a very appreciative audience and we thank them most sincerely for their wonderful and unfailing support of the National Trust. We look forward to many more Woodland recitals at the View.
The National Trust 'team' at Worlds View, very ably and passionately led by Gill Honeyman, have truly done us proud in their dedication and commitment and the transformations and improvements that take place at the site are for all to enjoy.
The National Trust of Zimbabwe is so proud and happy to have provided such a perfect and beautiful venue for the happy couple, Tendai and his beautiful bride, Trishie, who chose our World's View site for their wedding ceremony and cake cutting, with 50 guests. Congratulations and may you share a lifetime of happiness together, Mr and Mrs Mutunduwe!! Please check out our FACEBOOK PAGE for the lovely photo's.

Unfortunately visitor numbers have been very low due to the Covid restrictions. We would urge member and visitors to take the time to pop in and have a look at the collections which have been expertly arranged together with the historical information on the area over time.
The visitor numbers to our sites have decreased due to COVID-19. Especially at the museum, for three of the months during this past year it has not received a single visitor. Overall numbers came to few more than we have sometimes welcomed previously in a few days: 226 adults and 37 children. Under normal circumstances there could be two busloads of schoolchildren and their teachers – up to 200 visitors – descending on the Museum in a single day.

This sudden loss of income has had a profound effect on the Museum’s ability to operate – even to pay the modest salary of our loyal and able curator, Marshall Nyanhanda. We are grateful to those who stepped in to help fill this breach. Day in and day out, Marshall has kept the doors open – helped on occasions by two very useful assistants, Ruvarashe Makanza and Catherine Chinetezvi whose efforts are also much appreciated.

Marshall is currently working on a 'Heritage Project' for the Exhibition, which we hope will be ready in December. So many of our visitors have asked for details and records of the peoples who were resident in the area prior to, and during the pre-colonial times that it merits more time and a detailed study.

The late Geoff Priestley's considerable collection of books has been donatd to the RNHE and we thank Mr. Charles Castelin of the History Society of Zimbabwe for very kindly taking charge of transporting the collection to Nyanga on our behalf. Also thanks to Robin Taylor for the support given to the NTZ through their own HSZ Newsletters.

We are also most grateful to those members of the History Society of Zimbabwe who have kindly donated funding which will go towards our Curator's salary.
The museum now has its own water-supply to the (for the first time since the stables were built 130 years ago) garden which has now been fully extended and we are able to water the entire garden (soon to be redeveloped with bushbuck-proof plants). Plans are underway to repair the damaged veranda roof after a leaping baboon (bearing in mind that our Museum is situated within a game-park) crashed through the veranda roof before making a startled departure.
On a more positive note the Museum continues to display a collection of wood-carvings and stone sculptures by the late Jonathan Matimba, an artist whose family still lives in Nyanga district and whose widow recently died. From time to time the Museum has been a happy recipient of assorted items for display, and once again we are indebted to Aubrey and Edone-Ann Logan for all that they left with us prior to their move to Harare. Adjacent to the Museum is a small shop offering various artefacts, as well as second-hand books, and we are grateful to all those who have either donated or supplied stocks for sale.


Fira and Kevin and Deputy Minister and Gill
Delegates and NTZ
Photos from the recent official opening of the herbal tea plant at La Rochelle - please click on the above links to get the full stories and photos