The National Heroes Acre
The National Heroes Acre is a burial ground and national monument in Harare. The fifty seven acre site is situated on a ridge seven kilometres from Harare towards Norton. Its stated purpose is to commemorate Patriotic Front guerrillas killed during the Rhodesian Bush War and contemporary Zimbabweans whose dedication or commitment to their country justify their interment to the shrine. Work was initiated on the National Heroes Acre in September 1981 a year after Zimbabwean Independence. Ten Zimbabweans and seven North Korean architects and artists were recruited to map the site’s map layout. About two hundred and fifty local workers were involved in the project at the height of its construction. Black granite used for the main structures was quarried from Mutoko. Near the entrance of the Heroes Acre there is a museum dedicated to the rise of African nationalism in Zimbabwe and the anti-colonial struggle showcasing artefacts, photographs, documents and other remains from the Chimurenga and shortly after the war.
The Kopje Area
This is an essential component of the history of Harare as it was the first site on which the Shona habitants under Chief Neharahwa well known as Chief Haarari settled. Chief Haarari is where the capital Harare derived its name in English the phrase simply means ‘the one who never sleeps.’ According to a source, Chief Haarari was named so after an illness made him unable to sleep while another source states that it was because the chief could never be attacked by his enemies. Control of the Kopje passed from Chief Neharahwa to Chief Mbare whose name was then adopted by the well-known Harare Township called Mbare. Chief Gutsa was the last Shona Chief controlling the Kopje until September 1890 saw the arrival the arrival of the British Settlers led by F. Johnson who took over the Kopje and then established the Union Jack and this marked the birth of the British settlement in Fort Salisbury which became the pre-independence name of the city of Harare.
Chaminuka Shrine and Pioneer Bridge
These must be mentioned together as they are interlocked historically. Chaminuka Shrine is located in Muda area 35 km from Harare and it is said to be the final resting place of the Shona spirit and leader, Chaminuka. The shrine is sacred and is visited by locals for ritualistic purposes such as praying for the rains, it is a new tourism site and is in constant development to have more tourist facilities for visitors. However the shrine has maintained its natural state and it is common to wildlife such as zebra and it is however encouraged to maintain and respect for sacred nature for the site. The Pioneer Bridge was well known as the Muda river bridge which provided entrance to the early White Settlers to move into Salisbury as they come north from South Africa. Around 1890 one of the settlers was sent in advance to explore the route they would use to cross the Fort Salisbury (Harare). The man then planted a lemon tree to mark the crossing point for the other settlers. A bridge was then built to allow for the party and their wagons to cross safely into Fort Salisbury to this day the bridge and the tree stand as remnants of the key point of the history of Zimbabwe. The link between these two is because Chaminuka is known famously for predicting the coming of the White Settlers. “Vasina mabvi vachauya chapungu mudenga nemhungu pasi” meaning people without knees will come with eagle in the air and a mamba snake on the ground this phrase describes the trouser wearing settlers coming with their planes and the railways.
Harare Pioneer Cemetery is a large town cemetery in which there are two separate plots both marked by a cross of sacrifice. The Pioneer Cemetery is located some few km away from the CBD along Simon Mazorodze road just after a flyover. Amongst the graves there are sixty six men of the Rhodesia Native Regiment, the BSA police and the Harare Cremation Memorial commemorating a single Royal Air Force casualty of the Second World War. The Harare Cemetery is open every day from 0600 to 1800. There are twenty seven Commonwealth burials of the 1914 to 1918 war and further two hundred and twenty four Commonwealth burials of the 1939 to 1945 war in thus cemetery.
About thirty kilometres drive away from Harare lays Domboshawa, a magnificent outcrop of rock formations, a place of major interest for archaeologists, historians and tourists. Domboshava include the Domboshava site Museum, the Domboshava cave featuring rock art paintings. Domboshava has lovely scenery featuring the Rambakurimwa forest and Chavaroyi Hill, picnic facilities are available on site for one to take a rest and admire the balancing rocks, nature surrounding the area. Domboshava is of cultural importance to the locals and is used for religious purposes.
Chiremba Balancing Rocks
The Chiremba balancing rocks are one of the world’s ten balancing rocks in the world. Chiremba Balancing Rocks was declared a national Monument in 1994 and is located 13 kilometres south east of Harare in Epworth. It is characterized by granite balancing rocks within a natural breath taking scenic environment. The Balancing rocks are a continuation of the awe-inspiring landscape, comprising among other manifestations like Domboramwari.
The Balancing Rocks symbolize peace and stability of the nation’s economy. During the colonial period the Balancing Rocks were adopted as one of the motifs appearing on the Rhodesian paper currency. This symbolic significance continues today as it has continued to be used on the post-colonial currency. The business community has reaffirmed the importance of the Balancing Rocks by using it in various commercial adverts.
The site offers camping and picnic activities for individuals, family and group functions. On-site, is a kiosk offering refreshments and souvenirs. It is an ideal environment for weddings, birthday parties, and fellowships.