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  • 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          ...
  • 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 ...
  • La Rochelle: Join Robbie Honey on a delightful journey around the Botanical Gardens and Learn about the Fascinating Courtauld History
    https://vimeo.com/468854262 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • The Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition featured in this Tourism Lookout video
    We have much pleasure in sharing a video produced by ‘The Tourist Lookout’ that featured the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition whist they were travelling around and highlighting the best ‘hidden tourist gems’ of the Eastern Highlands. The video shows Marshall Nyanhanda, the Curator showing the team around and being interviewed. Please Enjoy and share.
  • Birthday Celebrations at 2,100 metres
    The National Trust of Zimbabwe (NTZ) celebrated its 60th birthday on 26th August 2020 in a very special place called ‘Worlds View ‘(a NTZ site) located on the western edge of the Nyanga escarpment right next to the magnificent Mount Nyamatoro. It is one of the most spectacular destinations for domestic and international tourists in ...

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 Zimbabwe
NATIONAL TRUST OF ZIMBABWE
60th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
LA ROCHELLE
SATURDAY 31ST OCTOBER 2020

This wonderful, and exceptionally well organised event was attended by 3 National Trust representatives, namely Gill Honeyman, Guy Cary and myself, Lin Goncalves.
The documentary film, presented by Robbie Honey, 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 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.

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!


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, 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 National Trust of Zimbabwe.

Pre-lunch drinks were served overlooking the gardens - fresh iced herbal teas, wines and sparkling wine, with delicious snacks and
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!
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, a long-standing Mutare-ite and friend of the National Trust, 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!!!

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.

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).

Lin Goncalves, October 2020
National Trust of Zimbabwe
La Rochelle with Robbie Honey
This is "La Rochelle with Robbie Honey" by MMX Productions on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.
vimeo.com
National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe
This very beautiful ORIGINAL water-colour painting 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$
National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe
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 ion 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.
National Trust of Zimbabwe
National Trust of Zimbabwe
The Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition and the Curator, Marshall Nyanhanda, were proud and honoured to receive The Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism & Hospitality Industry during his recent visit to the area.

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