Lodge at the Ancient City, Zimbabwe
Will Ross, September 21, 2020
One of Zimbabwe’s authentic, post-colonial architectural projects has been Lodge at the Ancient City, completed in the 1990s to emulate the brickwork and dimensions of the nearby ruins, known as Great Zimbabwe. It’s after this settlement that the country is named – “city of stones” is the Shona translation for Zimbabwe.
The hotel is made of a cluster of a dozen lodges, each large enough for catering small families. Thatch roofs and round brickwork make up the basic but uncompromising structure.
A communal pool and dining area serves breakfast, lunches and dinner overlooking a valley of Msasa trees and the ancient city itself, less than half a mile away. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important archaeological sites in sub-Saharan Africa, the city was built by the Shona people between the 11th and 15th centuries. Estimates suggest that the city could have housed up to 18,000 people at its peak size.
The city is made up of a number of different areas, including the Great Enclosure, the Hill Complex, and the Valley Ruins. The Great Enclosure is the largest and most impressive structure in the city and is thought to have been the royal palace. The Hill Complex is home to a number of different temples and shrines, while the Valley Ruins contain the remains of houses, workshops, and other buildings.
From the hotel’s entrance, there is a tarmac road – not too busy compared with the main artery from South Africa. The surface is good enough to road bike on, or else navigate on foot to reach the dam wall to the East, or navigate the Great Zimbabwe ruins which are less than half a mile to the west.
There is a leisure pool at the hotel but not long enough to use for lengths.
Book Lodge at the Ancient City at lodgeattheancientcity.co.zw