New: INTO ‘Passport to Places’ Scheme

The National Trust of Zimbabwe (NTZ) has been a member of the International National Trusts Organisation, (INTO) for a number of years now. INTO is the umbrella body for the worldwide family of heritage organisations, which come together to share experience, ideas and resources; to grow the capacity of existing trusts and establish new trusts in countries where they do not currently exist; and to be a global voice for matters of common concern. One of the ways, identified by the Board of Trustees, of strengthening what it means to be part of the INTO family, is reciprocal visiting.

Reciprocal visiting

INTO has been working with the world’s heritage trusts to make membership of the NTZ go much further!

The NTZ is proud to say that it is member of the recently launched ‘INTO Passport to Places’ scheme. We are super pleased to announce that you now have access to enter sites cared for by INTO members who have all agreed to extend reciprocal visiting privileges Your NTZ membership card is your ‘passport’ to free entry to some of the most amazing places around the world.

This map shows the many places where NTZ membership is currently welcomed:

You can check the local visiting arrangements and information by visiting the INTO website https://www.into.org/places/ where you can access an interactive map that links you directly you to all the Trust sites involved.

So, if you are an existing member of the NTZ  you can enjoy this wonderful and highly advantageous new member benefit  as soon as international travel opens once again.

Or if you live in Zimbabwe and would like to join the NTZ in order to enjoy this new benefit (along with any others) please complete the membership form under the Membership tab.

We look forward to welcoming you at one of sites soon: they are open. Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

The Beauty of Worlds View

We invite to you watch a few videos taken of the beautiful Worlds View site which is set high on a hill that affords stunning views of the surrounding landscape. From an altitude of 2000m the escarpment drops 600m to the plain below. Enjoy seeing the sweeping panoramic views, the majestic Mount Nyamatoro and the “Protea and Wild Flower Conservancy” established through a relationship with Kirstenbosch, the world famous botanical gardens in South Africa.

On top of the hill you will see that there is the large circular Astra Toposcope with numerous plaques of black granite around the perimeter with radiating lines indicating the direction and direct distance to thirty cities, towns and places of interest. Not far from the toposcope is the Art Gallery and the sculpture garden.

Come and visit the art gallery, climb Mount Nyamtoro, bird watch, bring a picnic and relax in front of on the best views in Zimbabwe, explore the unique Toposcope, wander around the protea and wild flower conservancy and investigate the built cultural heritage of the site. Check out the art and stone sculpture and take home special plants from the plants sales.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

 

Christmas Carols at World’s View, Nyanga, on Christmas Eve

 An enormous “Thank you” to our team at World’s View, Nyanga, Gill Honeyman and Guy Cary.

Guy led the singing of 11 well selected carols and gave a beautiful explanation of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ (one day at a time between each carol) – brilliant!

The Worlds View choir sang two Shona Christmas songs at the half time interlude.

The Steads grandchildren (playing sax, trumpet and flute) played background music from the toposcope before and after and while the mince pies were being handed out at the end.

  The very festive event was so well received by over 130 guests.

Wishing you all the very best for the festive season from everyone at World’s View.

We thank you very much for your kind support.

A Seat with a View: The Robertson Memorial Bench

Piero and Hillary Celebrating the Christening of  ‘The Roberston Bench’ at Worlds View

 

Dear Piero and Hillary,

On behalf of the National Trust of Zimbabwe, I would like to thank you for your most generous donation which has more than covered the cost of constructing the newly-completed ‘Robertson Bench’.

      Bench under construction     

 

                    Completed

                                                    View from behind plaque 

This is the first time we have been commissioned by an Architect to design and build anything, so it was a great relief and very rewarding when you revisited us last week and said it was better than anything you had expected.   You chose a beautiful location: afternoon sun, sheltered from the wind, and a breath-taking view. What a beautiful spot to sit and remember your parents.

It was a pleasure to meet you both and be able to christen the bench together and I’m sure you and your family will revisit and share many memorable moments there too.

Thank you again and I look forward to seeing you back up on the mountain one day soon.

Kind regards,

Gill Honeyman

Chair Worlds View

 

A Weekend of Celebrations: 60th Anniversary of the Trust at La Rochelle

     

As part of its on-going 60th Anniversary celebrations 3 National Trust representatives, namely Gill Honeyman, Guy Cary and Lin Goncalves attended a wonderful, and exceptionally well organised event held at La Rochelle Country House on Saturday 31ST October 2020.The documentary film, presented by Robbie Honey (see previous post), was projected on the tower wall on Friday evening, the 30th, with an almost full moon hanging in the clear sky behind the tower and a clear star-lit sky graced the evening.

Harvey and Debbie Leared have most certainly revived La Rochelle and breathed new life into every part of the property. We had a long and interesting walk around the botanical gardens and they are in pristine condition – lawns and pathways are manicured and immaculate and the old waterway is once again running through the gardens down to the dam, attracting birds and butterflies along the way.

The lovely wooden bench – tribute to The Curtain Foundation, Nick Roditi, Simon Goldberg (and others)  is well situated in a quiet and pretty spot overlooking one of the ponds. The Trust is humbled by the measure of generosity shown by Mr. Roditi to enable the NTZ to restore the orchid houses and the gardens, all of which are looking really beautiful and well tended by the long-standing senior member of the gardening staff, Nicholas and his team. There is also a memorial bench in appreciation of the work done by  Daryl Plowes for the NTZ.

 

 

Before the luncheon on Saturday the 31st, the invited guests were treated to a delightful programme in the formal lounge, of well-loved oldies spanning the past 6 decades, by the Phoenix Choir of Harare, whose voices belted out such favourites as “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”, “Fly me to the Moon”,  “Mr Sandman”, “Annie’s Song” and “Fiddler on the Roof” – to name a few, in the lounge, tastefully furnished and with blooming orchids to grace the tables.

                                            

The Phoenix Choir who entertained the guests before lunch

It is an amazing coincidence that, after a couple of botanical scares in the shade-house, the rare and beautiful Vanda lombokensis orchid named after Lady Virginia, IS BLOOMING for only the 3rd time in 60 years, right now….a fitting tribute to the philanthropist couple who collected the orchids and exotic plants which all still thrive in the gardens at La Rochelle today!

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                    Vanda lombokensis orchid

 

Nina Bauer’s many years of hard work and dedication was acknowledged on the occasion too, in the form of two, laminated and bound volumes of the glass signature panels with the biographies of MOST of the signatories. An enormous thank you to Nina and to Heather White, now in Australia, for their many hours, days, weeks, and now YEARS of work to get these volumes done in time for the 60th Anniversary of the Trust.  Nina Bauer inspecting her hard work in the 2 volumes of signatures off the glass window panels

 

Pre-lunch drinks served overlooking the gardens – fresh iced herbal teas, wines and sparkling wine,

with delicious snacks

Harvey Leared welcomed all the guests to La Rochelle and spoke of the National Trust and the developments over the past five years, which have been quite remarkable considering the ‘challenges’ one faces!

The luncheon beneath the trees in the gardens in the front of the house was a splendid menu with chicken liver pate followed by a sumptuous buffet with roast rolled beef, baked ham, pickled bream and a selection of tantalizing fresh salads and rolls, and baby potatoes in their jackets, with lashings of butter and fresh herbs from the kitchen garden

 

One can only imagine a content couple looking down on the event, perhaps from the tower window, and saying to one another how happy they were to see such a fitting tribute to their legacy being played out on the lawns below, under a rich cobalt blue and cloudless sky, in the gardens they both so lovingly engineered and nurtured.

Guy Cary, from the NTZ Nyanga Committee, who attended with Ms Gill Honeyman of World’s View, gave a great speech, likening the National Trust’s properties within Zimbabwe to a medieval crown, with it’s jewel-inlaid ermine and 3-pointed ‘crown’ of jewels, the most significant of which is the La Rochelle jewel in the crown of the NTZ!

Guy has been very familiar with the history of the National Trust and of the Eastern Districts area spanning a number of years and is a commendable speaker!  Guy spoke freely and easily of the history of La Rochelle and the generosity of the Courtaulds and of the eastern districts area in general. Being close to the Indian Ocean to the east, the area has a dynamic history dating back a few hundred years to the slave and gold and ivory traders plying the Indian Ocean up and down the east coast of Africa.

The gardens at this time of the year are looking superb, with many blooms to admire both in flower beds and on some of the trees.

A new succulent garden was officially opened to mark the occasion and a tree was planted to remember and commemorate the life of the late Gordon Addams who passed away very suddenly recently. Gordon was a long standing member of the Eastern Districts community having managed some of the top small hotels in the region for a number of years and lately, ‘Gordon’s’ in Mutare, until his death.

After lunch, the water-colour painting by Margi Grobelaar, which Margi had donated to the Trust some time ago, was auctioned with Des Becker ably filling the post of last-minute appointee of the position of auctioneer. Bidding was brisk with a more-than-expected and very generous winning bid from Gill Honeyman – a huge thanks to Gill!!!

Guided walks were arranged of the botanical gardens and orchid houses and also to the herb trials and the drying and packing shed.

On Sunday at lunchtime guests were treated to another, informal concert before lunch.

It is hoped that La Rochelle and the National Trust of Zimbabwe, will continue to welcome guests from near and far – and grow to develop the existing ties with INTO and INTO (Africa).

One of the many views one has of the tower from the front gardens

 

Compiled by Lin Goncalves

 

La Rochelle: Join Robbie Honey on a delightful journey around the Botanical Gardens and Learn about the Fascinating Courtauld History

The Trust is thrilled to share with you a video entitled: ‘La Rochelle: Robbie Honey’ that enjoyed its premier screening at the recent Trust’s 60th birthday celebrations held at La Rochelle where it was projected against the French style tower with a full moon behind.

Robbie, Floral Designer, Lecturer and Author of ‘The Accidental Botanist: The Structure of Plants Revealed’, passionately shares his botanical knowledge about the abundant flora growing in the grounds of La Rochelle.  He also explains the history of the estate and reveals some interesting old black and white photographs of the Courtauld’s taken in the UK and in Zimbabwe. The video shows magnificent sweeping aerial views of the house and estate made possible by drone footage.

The video opens with Robbie sitting on the sunny veranda of the house, now a boutique hotel, talking about the history of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld who generously donated their estate to the Trust in 1972.   Robbie then walks around the formal lounge, courtyard and Lady Virginia’s private ‘Fantasy Room. He then invites you to take part in a delightful, guided journey around the 226 acre estate which was established with the professional help of the UK Horticulturist John Henry Mitchell, with exotic plants and trees gathered from all over the world.  Co-incidentally, Robbie is friendly with Henrietta Courtauld and Bridget Elsworthy who visited Zimbabwe in 2014 and redesigned the gardens.

As you will discover the estate has an exceptional botanical area and Dell that covers 20 acres of land both contain many fine specimens of exotic and indigenous species. Robbie’s tour includes the unique Orchid biome that is home to a large and diverse collection of exotic orchids that Sir Stephen collected from around the world including the Lady Virginia Orchid: the only in the world.

After the orchid collection Robbie moves on and chats to Kevin Martin who runs the commercial organic farming area consisting of 25 acres of trial beds of herbs being grown for teas including various mints, lemon balm and grass and thyme and petals such as sunflower and calendula and recently planted super grain foods like chia and quinoa.

We do hope that you enjoy watching this wonderful production by Media Matrix Productions, very kindly sponsored by Mr H. Leared for which the Trust is extremely grateful.

https:/vimeo.com/468854262

Exciting news: NTZ Auction on Saturday 31st October 2020 at La Rochelle

This very beautiful ORIGINAL watercolor painting of La Rochelle by Zimbabwe’s well-renowned Margi Grobelaar is going to be AUCTIONED on Saturday 31st October AT La Rochelle, during the 60th BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS.

This auction will help raise funds for the National Trust of Zimbabwe.

If you wish to take part in the auction from afar, we can help you out – we will have a WHATSAPP AUCTION GROUP set-up and will be happy to have your bids coming in LIVE during the auction.

Please send through your WHATSAPP NUMBER to the GROUP NUMBER which will be +263 772 359 087 and we will add you in.

Bidding for the painting will be during the course of the day on Saturday and the WHATSAPP group will be notified of the opening. Bids may commence when the auction starts.

RESERVE PRICE US$200 (two hundred dollars)

Please note that bids will be in US$

Good luck!

Far from the Madding Crowd

Mike Garden, of Softrite, recently visited La Rochelle Country House and we are pleased to share his feedback from his stay:

Hi All

Softrite still has quite a few loyal payroll customers in Manicaland so I drive down to Mutare from time to time to pay them a courtesy call to see if they need any enhancements to our software.

I always maintain that spring is the best time to be travelling anywhere in the Eastern Highlands: starting with Miombo woodlands covered with a dazzling array of ochre coloured Msasas in August; progressing to the verdant green-leafed deciduous trees in late September; then the lilac Jacarandas and cherry Flamboyants (non-indigenous / exotic) in October and November respectively.

La Rochelle Country House, situated in Penhalonga on the outskirts of Mutare is part of the National Trust of Zimbabwe and they are currently celebrating their 60th anniversary. So I decided to stay at La Rochelle for a couple of nights last week to check it out. The crisp mountain air along with that “Far from the madding crowd” feeling makes it the perfect place to relax either over a long weekend or at the end of a busy day in Mutare. La Rochelle have, arguably, the best orchid displays and aloe garden in the region and I woke up early on day 2 for a guided tour with the very competent and knowledgeable Peter. The botanical gardens have trees, aloes, cactuses and many other succulents from all over the world – and Peter knew both the English and Latin name for just about everyone.

 

Relaxing with a cup of tea and scones on the afternoon of my arrival, I sat for a while on the long, frontal veranda and read my book – all the while glancing at the pristine rose garden with young buds urgent to come into seasonal bloom. I always throw my golf clubs in the boot of my car when I travel to Mutare as I know I can just pitch up a little before 3pm on Wednesday at the nearby Hillside golf club and join a few mates for 9 holes of golf. The golf club is just 10 minutes away from La Rochelle and the course is in such good nick at the moment – thanks to Kevin and Billy.

If you are looking for something to do with your Covid bored kids and are happy to take a couple of days off then I would recommend you book a couple of rooms at La Rochelle – lots of hiking trails and some of the best bird life in the country. Just a 3 hour trip from Harare on good tarred roads. Ciao Mike Garden.

The Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu visits the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition.

It was a real honor for the Trust to host The Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry last week.

The Hon. Minister was attending a conference at the Rhodes Nyanga hotel and decided to visit the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition during his trip to the Eastern Highlands.

Mr Marshall Nyanhanda, the Curator of the exhibition, warmly welcomed the Hon. Minister and his entourage and said that he was very privileged to meet everyone and to show them around the permanent collection.

 

 

The Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu studying Cecil Rhodes Desk circa 1890.

 

We thank you very much for visiting the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition. It was our pleasure indeed.