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 of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) to conduct a rescue excavation of midden material (ashy village waste and domestic debris) that was being eroded by water channelling down one of the paths. The NMMZ team comprised of six museum curatorial staff namely: Ms Senzeni Khumalo, Mr Lonke Nyoni, Mrs Charity Nyathi, Mr Todini Runganga, Mr Obert Mangwana and Mr Maxwell Fumula.

Here is an extract from one of the first report backs:

“Today we did a one metre by one metre trench at 10cm intervals. The first ten centimetres we recovered 10 glass beads of various colours, pot sherds as well as bones. At 20cm we recovered 40 beads and bones and at 30cm the trench was sterile only two glass beads and a few pot sherds were recovered. A new trench will be dug tomorrow“.

This is great news indeed and many thanks go to and Mrs Khumalo her team for undertaking the very valuable rescue excavation work that was carried out as the archaeological materials were in danger of being lost/damaged further. This news greatly increases the interest of the NTZ site and confirmed that the property was the village of one of the Ndebele indunas (chiefs) in the precolonial era, probably dating to between 1870 and 1890. We eagerly await for the full report.


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 of INTO, warns that our intangible cultural heritage is under threat and that we must do all we can to encourage the next generation to protect, promote and pass it on.

World Heritage Day aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them.  INTO’s 70 member organisations are dedicated to promoting the conservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage of all nations for the benefit of people all over the world.  Last year a report by INTO highlighted apathy as a key threat to the future of our global heritage.

Today, Dame Fiona will speak about the importance of helping young people, living in an increasingly uncertain world, to embrace the future more positively and confidently by sharing the strengths of their cultural identity.

‘Trust Kids!’ is a list of 25 things young people can do to explore, celebrate, preserve and share their cultural heritage. From drawing your family tree to finding out how your town got its name; from learning a traditional dance to preparing a regional dish; discovering a local custom to interviewing an elder about community traditions, there are some great ideas for exploring heritage, learning new skills and trying new things.

The education resource aims to grow young people’s appreciation for their traditions and living culture, building greater solidarity and cultural respect, and increasing resilience in response to the threats to intangible heritage.

“Identity helps us to belong, to feel safe and to feel proud. Learning about our own identity will help us to better respect and tolerate each other. Cultural identity refers to the manner in which we express our uniqueness. This may be through the way we look or dress, the language we speak, the food we eat and other forms of expression. Identity is also expressed through values – what we consider as individuals, families or communities as positive.” (Trust Kids! 2017)

Dame Fiona will speak about the dangers to the survival of distinctive cultural expressions (dance, costume, music, poetry, storytelling, traditional games and handicrafts) posed by globalisation, social change, migration, apathy and manipulation and the work that the world’s biggest and broadest heritage group is doing to save it.

“The conservation of intangible heritage is no longer a fringe activity – it is a necessity. Preserving intangible heritage requires different measures to the ones used for conserving monuments and sites – it needs to be kept alive and relevant. It must be regularly practised and learned within communities and between generations. That is why engaging young people is essential to its survival.”

“In a world of increasing globalisation, intolerance and fake news, we can encourage young people to develop their own sense of cultural identity, based on the best bits of their heritage.  Our ‘Trust Kids!’ network will also build greater solidarity and cultural respect amongst young people, wherever they call home.” (Dame Fiona Reynolds)

Dame Fiona also called on governments, including here in Britain, to ratify the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

You can find out more about Trust Kids! on the INTO website

International Day for Monuments and Sites (or World Heritage Day) is celebrated on 18 April every year.  It aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites (not just those listed by UNESCO) and the efforts required to protect and conserve them.   This year’s theme is “Cultural Heritage & Sustainable Tourism” chosen in relation to 2017 being the UN year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.


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


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; W Dhlandhlara 0772252958;   E Logan 0774 459 477

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 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 of the tangible and intangible special qualities of a place. It will provide the NTZ with a framework for conservation and management and guide all activities to improve the quality of everything that we do at that site.

We have great pleasure in posting our SoP for each of the 7 properties (see each property page). We do hope that we have managed to encapsulate  what is unique, distinctive and cherished about a particular site.  We do hope that it will give you an insight of what you may experience and feel at each site.

Gala Movie Fundrasing Event

The National Trust of Zimbabwe will be holding a gala fund-raising event at the Ster-Kinekor cinemas at Sam Levy’s Village, Borrowdale, Harare please do join us and enjoy cheese and wine served before the film  where you will be given the chance to meet the Committee and to support the work of the NTZ.  There will be an opportunity to buy raffle tickets and win some great prizes including a weekend at the stunning La Rochelle country boutique hotel and gardens and at a lodge at the spectacular located Wild Geese Lodges, Ster Kinnekor movie tickets and lots more.  You will be also able to buy a copy of the recently published ‘Nyanga’s Rich Heritage’ publication plus the lovely newly produced NTZ bags.

All this for only USD15 per ticket!

Then enjoy the film called ‘Me Before You’ a 2016 American-British romantic drama film directed by Thea Sharrock and adapted by Jojo Moyes from her 2012 novel of the same name. The film stars Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman, Charles Dance, Matthew Lewis, Ben Lloyd-Hughes and Janet McTeer.

Don’t miss out, please send a RSVP email to: with your name, telephone number and  the number of tickets that you would like in order to reserve your tickets.

Thank you.



Book Launch

Book Launch

On the 30th August 2016, the National Trust of Zimbabwe hosted a prestigious event to launch the publication of ‘Nyanga’s Rich Heritage’ a booklet by Rob Burrett and Edone Ann Logan. Rob and Ann worked tirelessly on compiling this valuable publication which will be a constant companion for those who hold this area of Zimbabwe near and dear to their hearts. Covering the early pre-colonial history as well as more recent subjects, it is a great addition to the enthusiast’s collection

Diplomatic Guests included the European Union Ambassador, Mr. Philippe van Damme, The Canadian Ambassador, Kumar Gupta and his wife Nadira, the Indonesian Ambassador and his wife, the South African Ambassador, as well as guests from DFID and the British Embassy. Also present were guests from some of Zimbabwe’s top corporates, businesses and local societies such as Delta, Safeguard, Standard Chartered Bank, BAT Zimbabwe, the History Society of Zimbabwe, the Pre-History Society, the National Gallery, Dairibord, the Thomas Meikle Trust, Inns of Zimbabwe and CBZ. Wine and snacks for the event were generously sponsored by Stables Winery and Supreme Butchery.

Rob and Edone are both well-known historians in Zimbabwe. Rob hails from Bulawayo and Edone is living in Nyanga and is Chair of the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition. Both have gathered an extensive knowledge of this beautiful area of Zimbabwe and published this new booklet for visitors and friends of Nyanga. Books were on sale at the event and Rob and Edone Ann were available to speak to guests and to personally sign copies of the booklet. The National Trust flagship property, La Rochelle was represented by Harvey Leared of Acumen Africa and Luke Ngwerume who is the La Rochelle Centre Chairman.

The event was held at the elegant residence of the British Ambassador, Catriona Laing, for which the Trust is most grateful. Entertainment was provided by the Embassy marimba band.

Here are some photographs of the event.

banner-and-guests   marilyn-n-rob

Guests arriving

guests    band

Guests enjoying the Marimba Band

ds-and-embassador     audience

David Scott, NTZ Chairman presenting Catriona Laing  the British Ambassador with a National Trust of Zimbabwe shopping bag and a signed copy of the booklet.


Rob Burrett and Edone Ann Logan talking about the background history leading up to the production of their booklet ‘Nyanga’s Rich Heritage’

luke  raphael-catrina-and-other

Luke Ngwerume La Rochelle Chairman        British Ambassador, Raphael Chikukwa National Gallery of Zimbabwe


National Trust Tribute to Mr Darrel Plowes


It is with the deepest regret that we note the passing of Darrel Plowes, in Mutare, on Wednesday 19th October 201 aged 91. Darrel has been an invaluable friend of the National Trust of Zimbabwe for a many, many years and a great source of information and of assistance through his long friendship with Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld of La Rochelle when he worked with them on many projects in the early years of La Rochelle.  His knowledge of the La Rochelle property was a great help to the Trust during the recent refurbishment programme and we will be eternally grateful for his precious input over the years.

Darrel’s long career before retirement was in agriculture, natural resource management and extension where his contributions were substantial. His extensive interests covered an incredibly wide range of subjects in the fields of natural history, agronomy, entomology, botany and ornithology, to name just a few. The Trust was truly honoured and fortunate to have as an active member, one of the greatest all-round naturalists of Zimbabwe.

Darrel was an authority on stapeliads, orchids, butterflies, birds and bird’s eggs. Several new species have been named in his honour; these include grasses, aloes, a butterfly, legless lizard, mole-rat and a new sub-species of birds.  His plant specimens at the National Herbarium are among the best preserved described and recorded. We are all richer for having known Darrel Plowes and we give thanks for the wonderfully inspiring life of this man and his love of all creation.  Even in the last few weeks of his life, when Darrel was in great pain while sitting at the computer he took the time to write to the Trust on matters which were of concern to him.

On behalf of our Executive Council and members of the Trust, we extend our deepest sympathy to all Darrel’s family and to his companion, Nina. We will ensure a suitable tribute is recorded for Darrel as an acknowledgement and appreciation for all he has done and achieved in his lifetime.

Here are some of our Executive Committee members’ comments:

Darrel will be sadly missed and leave a big void in our community. Darrel was an incredible font of knowledge in many areas scientific, historical, and archaeological, in fauna and flora and this list is by no means exhaustive. He was extremely passionate about Zimbabwe and the Trust and its activities and especially its Mutare properties and in particular the La Rochelle Estate, having known the Courtaulds personally. Our thoughts and prayers go to all his family and close friends at this difficult time.                           David Scott

He was one of Zimbabwe’s botanical giants and one of the most knowledgeable all-round naturalists I have ever had the pleasure and honour to meet. He may now have ended his never finishing work but will always keep on inspiring me and many others for the remainder of our lives. Whether professional scientist or amateur enthusiast we owe a great debt to his unrelenting search for knowledge and understanding of the natural world.                                                                      Rob Burrett

Darrel was also a key link between the present and past of La Rochelle both with the Courtauld Family and the botanicals, particularly the orchids. It was perhaps symbolic that the Lady Virginia Orchid which last flowered in 1973 just after Lady Virginia’s death, came out into flower just before Darrel passed away some 43 years later!  Fortunately Jannie Martin took the orchid up to show Darrel in hospital.                                    Harvey Leared

Darrel was an incredible man and a true gentleman, he was an inspiration to us all and he will sorely missed not least by myself.  I was so privileged to have spent time with him over the years and to have been part of the interview and video event that we undertook with Roger Fairlie a couple of years back at La Rochelle.  It is our intention to make a film on La Rochelle with Darrel’s interview included.  It will be a fitting tribute.                       Sharon Waterworth

Darrel, as David and Sharon have noted, had so many and varied talents and achievements some of which may not generally be known.  My brother in Australia wrote that he first knew Darrel as Head of Agricultural Extension for communal areas in Manicaland before he became senior in the Dept. of Agriculture in Mutare.  Later he rose to a senior level in the Ministry. When he went overseas to do a Masters in Ecology Darrel gave him a number of slides showing trials on soil and water conservation, and trials and demos in communal and commercial farming areas. These always impressed the viewers and I am reminded of the brilliant photographer he was.

Darrel told me how he taught the first groups of Nyanga Weavers the various plants to use for the natural dying of wool. We are all the richer for having known Darrel and give thanks that he was able to share his knowledge and love of this country and of nature to so many.                 Edone Ann Logan

We have been so honoured to have had Darrel as a friend and mentor; he was a man of many parts and always with the Trust at heart. So very sorry Nina for your loss.   We are all the poorer for his passing. My condolences to all his family and friends, he will be sorely missed                                Fira Bache

What terribly sad news. Darrel will be sorely missed and leave a deep void in the field of ornithology and botany, two of his many passions. What an amazing font of knowledge he was and such a highly respected expert in these fields he dedicated his life to.                        Lin Gonçalves

I write to convey my condolences to you, the family members, on the passing on of Darrel Plowes. I came to know him in person in 2014 and always kept in touch by email. On 8 April 2016 we sat at the same table at La Rochelle and touched on many issues including my request for him to bring back on the market an authoritative book on ‘Gardening in Zimbabwe.’ His response was in the affirmative.  God has his way of doing things!  Darrel will certainly be remembered and missed by the NTZ Community. May His Soul Rest in Peace.                                            Elliot Mugamu

The NTZ have happily accepted Darrel’s family request that a memorial bench be placed in the orchid area at La Rochelle. The bench will allow visitors to pause and reflect on the beauty of the orchids. The orchid area was a place that had special significance to Darrel since it was Sir Stephen who inspired Darrel’s fondness for orchids, and in turn Darrel has very kindly donated the balance of his small collection back to La Rochelle.  This is wonderful news for the NTZ and typifies Darrel’s love of La Rochelle and a sign will be erected to indicate the “Kind donation of these orchids by Darrel Plowes”.

The NTZ is also planning for a small memorial stone to be placed at La Rochelle as a specific tribute to highlight Darrell’s incredible commitment and contribution to the NTZ and especially to La Rochelle, not just lately but over many decades. The stone will be unveiled in December 2016.

For the benefit of future visitors to La Rochelle the NTZ will also compile a one page flyer outlining Darrel’s achievements and contributions to the NTZ, the document will be part of the long and varied history of this important property.