Masvingo, formerly Fort Victoria and Nyanda, lies in the south-eastern part of Zimbabwe, a capital of the Masvingo Province. The city, a commercial centre for agriculture, cattle ranching, gold and asbestos mining, is the oldest colonial settlement in Zimbabwe. It is home to the compelling and amazing Great Zimbabwe Monument from where the city derives its name.
One can drive to Masvingo from Harare, Mutare, Gweru, Bulawayo or Beitbridge. There are also coaches that are found in Harare at Mbare Musika, Mbudzi Round-about as well as luxury ones at the Roadport that go past Masvingo on the way to South Africa.
There are also commuter omnibuses from almost any city.
Most areas in the city center can be covered on foot and for areas one cannot walk to, there are commuter omnibuses as well as taxis.
There are several accommodation options for visitors in the Ancient City. The Lodge at the Ancient City, an exclusive hotel constructed around a granite outcrop in the same style as Great Zimbabwe, provides spectacular views across the valley of Msasa towards the Great Zimbabwe. The Lodge offers unique accommodation for guests, with furnishings that imitate the royal residences of African legends. All the 44 rooms a warm and give off an inviting atmosphere. Historical guides and detailed trips through the city are also provided by the Lodge as well as drives and walks around the nearby lake Mutirikwi, recreational park and into adjacent tribal areas.
Regency Hotel Chevron is located in the business district, an eleven minute walk from the Church of St Francis of Assisi, a 27 minute drive from the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, a 29 minute drive from the Great Zimbabwe Museum and a 54 minute drive from the Kyle Game Park. The hotel offers an onsite dining venue serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, an outdoor pool, and 2 bars/lounges. It also offers offer free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour room service and TVs with satellite channels in all its 43 rooms.
Another gem in Masvingo for visitors is Norma Jeane’s Lake View Resort, set in the granite hills and Msasa woodland overlooking Lake Mutirikwi and a 10 minute drive away from The Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The Resort offers fully furnished and equipped self catering lodges and well appointed hotel rooms and a dining room providing breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Visitors can also choose to stay at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel, the Regency Flamboyant Hotel, Masvingo Backpacker’s Rest, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins campsite, Masvingo Downtown Lodge, Muunze Lodge and more.
Apart from the hotel in-house restaurants, Masvingo also has other eateries dotted around the city catering to all culinary preferences.
There is the Reflections Restaurant on Industrial Road, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, Studio on Rhodene road with a relaxed atmosphere and great food, especially the famed pork chop and the signature oxtail dish and the Bluebird Cafe on Robertson Street , a charming historic establishment with an beautiful seating area in the small garden, decorated with colorful umbrellas.
There are shopping centers and shops found around the entire city for clothes and fresh produce.
There are a variety of tourist attractions within and around the city to keep visitors occupied and then fall in love with the Ancient City. Great Zimbabwe Monument is usually the first place visitors to Masvingo opt for. Located 27kms from the city center, the Monument is the biggest and most important ancient monument south of the Sahara, separated into three parts which are the Great Enclosure, the Hill Complex and the Valley Enclosures.
There is also the picturesque Kyle Recreational Park whose flourishing white rhino population draws visitors from everywhere and Lake Mutirikwi, Zimbabwe’s second largest inland lake, which offers an assortment of water sports and game view. The Masvingo Caravan Park is an ideal leisure spot for adults with a play area for kids.
Masvingo experiences two types of climates, the semi-arid climate and moderate climate. Generally, weather is usually hot and dry throughout the year with the exception of summers when the cooling rains fall. The highest average temperature in is 30°C in October and the lowest is 21°C in July.
Best times to visit
The best time to visit Masvingo for warm-weather activities are from late March to early June and from late July to mid October.