|2003||Inscribed||Reasons for inscription|
|1984||Deferred||ICOMOS positive but dossier lacks justification - needs resubmission|Paul Tanner (UK):
The Matabo Hills are inscribed as a “Cultural Landscape” - A somewhat opaque concept which can mean everything or nothing but often seems to mean that no single structure or natural site is worth inscribing but that the whole in some way is greater than the sum of the parts in representing a way of life! Indeed the relatively small area of the Matabos does offer a variety of sights
a. Some quite striking (if nor outstanding) scenery characterised notably by “Kopjes” – strangely shaped weathered granite outcrops often in the form of “castles” or huge “marbles” balanced on top of each other
b. A game park area which is full of reintroduced animals and, in terms of the whole gamut of African wildlife parks, rather “tame”
c. At “World’s View” outcrop the “White Colonial” memorials of Rhodes Grave and the Shangani Patrol (in memory of a group of white soldiers wiped out by the Ndebele in 1893).
d. Shrine caves of the Mwari Cult which are taboo to visitors
e. A number of caves or overhangs which can be visited and contain Rock paintings whose age is still a matter of some conjecture but were done by Stone and/or Iron age hunter gatherers.
Somehow all these aspects (including the Colonial memorials!) are credited in the inscription. Given time to explore and/or access to appropriate wildlife expertise the area would no doubt repay more in-depth exploration than is possible during a quick “tourist visit”. Certainly a trip to Zimbabwe without visiting the area at all would be seriously incomplete. We gave it a full morning (we had our own vehicle) and nothing I have read since makes me regret not giving it more.
But what image should be used to capture the essence of the park? Looking back I think the paintings were the highlight (photo). These are no primitive “stick creatures” – these representations could almost walk off the wall so lifelike is the result of a few deft lines and simple colours.
Date posted: October 2005
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