Friday, August 30, 2013

This is just the pits!

On one of the days in Nyanga, we went to climb a small hill, and on the way there we stopped at the 'pit structures' - where an electronically-aged sign gives details as to the huts and the use of the pits.

Having seen these structures before, I think that the archaeologists have overlooked (probably intentionally so) the most likely use of the pits - and that is that they are a perfect place to keep your wife when she had to go to the 'naughty girl's corner' and stay there for some time.

Anyway - this is the interpretation they put out for the tourists...

The pit structures are basically holes dug into the ground, and the lined on the sides with stones. The various huts - as per the sign, all had different uses, and are built around the pit.

There is a subterranean path which leads into the pit, and this path passes under one of the huts. the hut has a hole on the floor, down which blocking logs could be pushed or raised, to control the movement of the animals below. Cattle, sheep and acting-the-goats were kept down there...

Here, then, a herd of wildebeest (which the Americans call gnus), in Nyanga. But the interesting thing about this photo is not so much animals or the crystal clear blue Zimbabwean winter sky, but rather the menacing and brooding presence to the left of the picture. Not a goblin, this time, but a mountain...

The peak you can see on the left is in fact Mount Inyangani - the highest point in Zimbabwe lies at the top of it, and minimum climbing time is 90 minutes. This is the start of the path up the mountain - and doesn't it look a gentle climb? Well... don't be fooled! This path merely leads to the base of the ascent, and from there it gets almost vertical in places. I was lured onto the start of the path - and began making my unsuspecting way up the mountain.

So the next blog will have pictures of our climb up Inyangani... and it wasn't easy. In fact, on the way up we found the skeleton of a previous climber - bones bleached in the sun, and left there as testament to the unforgiving nature of the mountain herself. But that will have to wait for another blog.

Have a great day!

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