Great Zimbabwe

Top choice archaeological site in The Midlands & Southeastern Zimbabwe

Image by Richard I'Anson Getty Images

The mysterious ruined city of Great Zimbabwe dates back to the 11th to 15th centuries AD and remains the emblem and heart of the nation. The Unesco World Heritage–listed site provides evidence that ancient Africa reached a level of civilisation not suspected by earlier scholars. The site is divided into several major ruins with three main areas – Hill Complex, the Valley and the Great Enclosure.

The site is easily explored by yourself, but for more info, maps and the best routes, duck into the information centre at the site's checkpoint to pick up one of the booklets.

If you want to delve even deeper, you can arrange a two-hour guided tour (about US$12 per person) at the checkpoint. The best time to explore (and beat the heat) is dawn and dusk when the sunrise, or sunset, enhances what is already a stunning site. Allow at least three hours to explore.


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