About the Site:
Murahwa’s Hill has a unique combination of cultural heritage and indigenous flora and fauna given its location visa-vis the prevailing moisture-bearing winds. Over the years an extraordinary number list of trees and birds has been recorded.
There are traces of early hunter-gatherers at the site and on the south-western part of the hill there is an early Iron Age settlement of the Ziwa Period (200-400 AD) with a ruined stone-walled settlement higher up that may be associated with the Rozvi Dynasty in its upper levels (late 17th century). The hill is named after a Manyika village-head who was the last local occupant of the site. There are more recent villages of Headman Murahwa who lived here before relocating further south in the Save Valley.
The hill lies at the base of Christmas Pass on the western edge of Mutare. Traditionally it was protected in the past as a place of spirits, while latterly the ravages of seasonal fires have been prevented hence the maturity of the many indigenous trees and the unusual variety of micro-environments present.
Over the years an extraordinary list of trees and birds has been recorded. More than 132 species of trees have been recorded on the property – an exceptionally rich assemblage for such a small area. These comprise Eastern Highlands and Middleveld species, as well as broad range of vines, fungi, mosses and ferns. The diverse micro-habitats include closed canopy evergreen forest on the wetter eastern slopes to drier deciduous woodland on slopes facing Christmas Pass. The rocky exposed slopes, ravines, watercourses and granite outcrops all contribute to the diversity of habitats. It is estimated that the larger forest trees are at least 150 years old.
Bird species include the Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Trumpeter Hornbill, Livingstone’s and Purple-crested Louries (Turaco’s), Tambourine Dove, Golden-rumped Tinker-barbet, Yellow-fronted Tinker-barbet, Whyte’s Barbet, Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Red-capped (Natal) Robin-chat, and Jameson’s Firefinch.
Over 200 of Zimbabwe’s 500 species of butterfly are known from Murahwa’s Hill. In addition there are many moths, beetles and dragonflies and much observation and research remains to be done.
Spirit of Place Statement for Murawha’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.
An Educational and Interpretative/Educational centre is planned for site. The design of the centre is based on a traditional African meeting place, with open sides, thatched roof, timber poles and an open amphitheatre.
The display themes will include: Early history – Stone Age, the Stone Ruins, flora and fauna and the geology of the area.
Directions to Murahwa‘s Hill
At the fuel filling station as you enter the outskirts of Mutare City on the road from Harare, after crossing over Christmas Pass, turn right and after one kilometre, the entrance gate is signposted on your right just before the Mutare Agricultural Showground.
18° 57’ 17.73” S
32° 38’ 35.28” E
Murahwa’s Hill is open to the public every day.
Annual Report on Murawha’s Hill: 2017-March 2018
The property’s situation has not progressed, again. A lot of the property has been degraded by unauthorised
access and theft of wood etc. National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe are in the process of
declaring the property a “national monument” which should help towards better protecting the property. NTZ
can then progress the development of a small education centre there for the use of the schools of Mutare
and its district.
Annual Report on Murawha’s Hill: 2016
Murahwa’s Hill has been recognised as an important site that it is worthy of achieving heritage status by the
National Monuments and Musuem’s of Zimbabwe. The pending proclamation is very good news for the NTZ
and it will afford the property with further protection. The NTZ is in the process of seeking funding to realise
its vision for the site:
• To establish an interpretive education centre as toilet facilities. The design would be based on a traditional
African meeting place, with open sides, thatched roof, timber poles and an open amphitheatre. The
centre would be designed to blend into the site while enabling visitors to participate in the presentations
which are mounted around the circular amphitheatre. Display themes would include: Early history – Stone
Age, The Stone Ruins, the recent pre-colonial past, flora and fauna and the geology of the area.
The Hill is ideally centred close to the Mutare urban centre and to the highway linking Mutare to Harare
and the eastern Highlands. Access to the site is excellent.
• To use Murahwa’s Hill as a focal point in Mutare area and specifically to do so by the process of educating
the young by running educational programmes that highlight and bring to the attention of the public the
significant Cultural Heritage and History of the site.
The Hill is within a 100 km radius of some 800 000 children who are under the age of 16 years and
who represent the ‘interest group’ from schools in the radius which the NTZ wishes to develop the
education centre for.
With people visiting the site regularly this would lead to the sustainable protection of the flora, fauna,
archaeology and cultural resources that are currently being diminished. The revenue stream would ensure the
financial sustainability of the site. The new facility would contribute towards the promotion of cultural tourism
and raise local archaeological awareness through community outreach and involvement.
Annual Report on Murawha’s Hill: 2015
Unfortunately the property’ situation has not progressed, through lack of funding. A lot of the property has been degraded by unauthorised access and theft of wood etc. The plans for a small interpretative/cultural centre, aimed primarily as an educational facility, have been completed. This plan, in conjunction with the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe should secure the property for its long term well-being for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe. The NMMZ are currently in the process of declaring the property as a National Monument which should help towards protecting and them developing the property for the schools of Mutare and the district.
- A Seat with a View: The Robertson Memorial BenchPiero 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 RochelleAs 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 Historyhttps://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 RochelleThis 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 CrowdMike 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 videoWe 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 metresThe 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 ...
- The NTZ celebrates its 60th birthday today!https://youtu.be/yRa4kz8iBlg The NTZ is super proud to announce that it celebrates its 60th birthday today! The NTZ was established on the 26th August 1960, promulgated by an Act of Parliament, with the aim of protecting and managing properties for future generations to enjoy. We invite you to watch the first global screening ...
- 60th Celebrations: “Trust Memories” Birthday Competition: Be Part of History60th birthday Celebrations We are very proud to announce that the National Trust of Zimbabwe will be celebrating its 60th birthday this year! This is of course an amazing milestone. The Trust was established in 26th August 1960 and ever since that date we have been working hard to carry out the important job of protecting ...
- High above the Lakes and PlainsThis stunning photograph was recently taken by a Ms Gemma Flower a visitor to one of the Trusts sites aptly called ‘Worlds View’. It was taken on the summit of Mt. Nyamatoro. The view overlooks the three Connemara Lakes (on the left hand side) and the plains of Nyanga below through the mist cloud (on the right). Many ...
- New Plaque for La RochelleThe Trust is deeply indebted to Mr H Leared of the La Rochelle Centre for replacing the timeworn National Trust plaque. The new plaque, set on a copper plate, reflects the re-branded National Trust logo and colours (from green to blue). It looks perfectly placed on the court yard wall of La Rochelle Country House and Spa! The ...