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Travel Pictures - ZIMBABWE - 1999

All images Ron Miller

       I entered Zimbabwe at a time when the country was firmly in the grips of a dictator and about to implode from within due to rampant corruption, misguided government programs, and a population decimated by AIDS. Zimbabwe embodied most of the economic and social problems (other than outright civil war) that plagues much of Africa. However, a country in rapid decline can expose the dynamics that impede the growth of a nation, and Zimbabwe revealed to me the root cause for the rampant corruption that continues to stifle progress in sub-Saharan Africa.
       I began my travels at the spectacular Victoria Falls and visited several other parks including Hwange NP and Matobo NP as well as the ruins at Great Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's contrast in lifestyle was striking - from rural villages with stick huts amongst baobab trees to modern cities with glass and steel skyscrapers - a clear legacy of the two cultures that shaped this nation.

These thundering curtains drop 360 feet into a mile-wide cleft in the earth, which is the world's largest sheet of
falling water. The pre-colonial name of the falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya, means "the smoke that thunders"
and is the official name for the falls in bordering Zambia -
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The mist from the falls is thrown out of the chasm and, during the wet season, nearly a half mile toward the heavens!
The towering plume of mist creates vivid rainbows as well as an isolated pocket of dripping rainforest -
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
A view of the precipitous and winding Zambezi River Gorge just downstream from Victoria Falls. The gorge is an African playground for
daredevils with whitewater rafting and bungee jumping. This photo includes a party of rafts as well as a bungee jumper making the plunge from
the Victoria Falls Bridge (at left). As if the Zambezi River's class V rapids aren't enough, the river's pools are home to African crocodiles! -
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The aptly named World View and the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, a man known for his strong belief in British colonialism as well as
the scholarship program funded by his estate. The Rhodes scholarship enables students from territories currently or previously under
British rule (and Germany) to study at the University of Oxford. Regarding the photo, you might ask how such massive, rounded boulders
could find their way to the summit of a granite mountain? Well ... time, rain, wind, temperature change ... or ancient giants? -
Matobo N.P., Zimbabwe
The rock formation called "Mother and Child" - possibly carved by ancient giants? -
Matobo N.P., Zimbabwe
These endangered white rhinoceros are quite habituated to safari vehicles in this managed wildlife park -
Matobo N.P., Zimbabwe

The klipspringers are always seen in pairs since they mate for life. They are adapted to the rocky terrain, and they
always walk around on the toes of their hoofs like ballerinas (see the back hoofs of the klipspringer at right) -
Matobo N.P., Zimbabwe
A vista of the ruins of Great Zimbabwe - perhaps southern Africa's most significant ruin and the largest ancient structure south of the Sahara.
Zimbabwe, formerly called Southern Rhodesia in honor of Cecil Rhodes, was renamed in 1980 after these very ruins. The horrible irony
is that the political changes that came about in 1979 have led to the ruin of a country that was renamed after - ruins -
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Me posing at the Great Enclosure, the largest structure at Great Zimbabwe. The structures use no mortar and were built between the 11th and
15th centuries. The first Europeans to visit Great Zimbabwe were Portuguese traders in the 16th century. Determining exactly who constructed
the ruins has been controversial - with the archaeological evidence often overruled by the politics of the day. In colonial times, the ruins were
said to be the product of Arabs or Phoenicians because they could not have been built by black Africans. With the creation of the nation of
Zimbabwe (and all-race elections), the ruins became a great symbol of achievement for black Africans. However, as I write in my book,
people should not be defined by the culture of their ancestors, but by the culture they adopt -
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Inside the Great Enclosure is the Stone Tower whose purpose or symbolic meaning is unknown -
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
A smaller structure at Great Zimbabwe that is built beautifully into the natural terrain. Posing in front of the ruin is a Japanese traveler and our guide -
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
 A view up to the Great Enclosure amid crumbling rock walls and interesting flora -
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
These dancers performed on cue with the approach of any tourist. Again, just as in Zululand, I was uncomfortable
with the stereotype of blacks dancing for whites. However, I quickly realized that these Zimbabweans
were fortunate just to have employment in a land with limited opportunity -
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
This fantastic collection of carvings and pottery along with the associated peddlers,
created a souvenir gauntlet at the entrance to Great Zimbabwe -
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
The city park in what was formerly one of Africa's most appealing capitals (before Robert Mugabe). Zimbabwe, a nation
that was previously referred to as the "breadbasket of southern Africa" was transformed from a net food exporter to a
country requiring emergency shipments from the World Food Program just to avoid an impending famine -
Harare, Zimbabwe

This talented street performer's routine included juggling, fire breathing, and lifting a railroad tie with his teeth before he acrobatically moved
about on this steel wire as thin as a clothesline! After completing his routine, the Zimbabwean discriminated wisely - with the full attention of
the audience, he rushed up to the three whites in the crowd (me and two Icelandic travelers) to collect "donations" for his performance -
Harare, Zimbabwe
These impoverished youngsters gaze at the passing bus from their war-torn country. It is disheartening to contemplate their bleak
future in Mozambique verses the opportunities they would have if they had been born in a country like the United States -
northern Mozambique

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All images Ron Miller
For authorized use of these photos, please contact Ron Miller at TheHappyCannibal@gmail.com