Just 22km from Bulawayo, the Unesco World Heritage–listed Khami Ruins may not have the grandeur of Great Zimbabwe, but it's an impressive archaeological site nonetheless. The second largest stone monument built in Zimbabwe, Khami was developed between 1450 and 1650 as the capital of the Torwa dynasty, and abandoned in the 19th century with the arrival of Ndebele. It's spread over a 2km site in a peaceful natural setting overlooking the Khami Dam.
The complex series of walled structures generally follows the same aspects of Great Zimbabwe, but possesses its own features and expressions in the patterns and elaborate decorations. It has the longest decorated wall in the entire sub-region, while archaeological remains of Spanish and Ming porcelain found at the ruins provide evidence of a historic trade link; some of these remains are on display at Bulawayo’s Natural History Museum.
At its entrance is a small museum displaying artefacts, where you can also pick up a copy of the highly recommended booklet on the ruins (US$5) by Rod Barrett. It's especially handy given there's no signage at each site; hiring a guide is also recommended for this reason. Tour operators run day trips from Bulawayo, or take a taxi (US$20 one way).
Don't expect to be blown away by the site; instead it has a more relaxed, subtle and mysterious beauty about it.