Hi All

I’m back…………

Let’s continue on our journey.

We left off last time with a fantastic breakfast of the Nesbitt Castle and me telling you that AJS is not a birder but he is passionate about the history of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe – a passion he has had since a boy.  We filled up with fuel and headed south, past Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, (whose founder Viv Wilson sadly died this week) through Esigodini and Gwanda.  About six kilometres later we turned right and our direction now became south-west.  After about eighty kilometres the tarred surface abruptly ended and an hour later we passed through the metropolis of Hwali !

Baobab Adansonia digitata

Adansonia digitata

We were now in the deep south-west of Zimbabwe and Baobab country. The nests are those of the Red-billed Buffalo Weaver.


Strange Cactus

It is very dry down there and there were plenty of these spiny beasts.  Anyone out there know what they are ?  I don’t !

After Hwali the road deteriorated quite quickly but we only had about 40 odd km left to go before we would arrive at our destination.

Shashi Wilderness Camp - Tuli Circle

Shashi Wilderness Camp

Shashi Wilderness Camp Tuli Circle

Lovely place

The Shashi Wilderness Camp is owned and operated by the Matabeleland Branch of Wildlife Environment Zimbabwe.  It is a fantastically restful and peaceful camp right in the riverine forests of the Shashi River adjacent to the Tuli Circle.  This strange border phenomenon is a semi-circle of land that belongs to Zimbabwe but is on the Botswana side of the river that demarcates the border.

http://www.madbookings.com/botswana/information/tuli-botswana.html I stole their map but can’t vouch for them as a business


Something to do with the old Fort Tuli where the BSAC Pioneers entered into Matabeleland late in the 19th century.


Shashi Widerness Camp

Lovely just sitting ……..

Yes – that is AJS.

Tuli Circle Shashi River

The Shashi River

…. and looking at the view.

The next morning we embarked on the real purpose for coming to this remote place.

National Parks Tuli Circle Safari Area

The Nat Parks sign

The Tuli Circle is managed by Zimbabwe National Parks as a safari area.

Pioneer Cemetery sign

Our destination revealed……………..

There is no real need for me to comment on the next four pictures.

Ernest Kays Prentice Fort Tuli

Ernest Kays Prentice

Captain Leslie Dewing Blackburn Fort Tuli
Captain Leslie Dewing Blackburn

George Hubert Hepper Headstone Fort Tuli

George Hubert Hepper that’s 1891

Patrick Brown Russel Headstone Fort Tuli

Patrick Brown Russell

We drove off to see an old Baobab and on the way back we climbed a small hillock.  Apart from the haze the view was great.

Tuli Circle Shashi Safari Area Giraffe

Can you see the distant giraffe?

That afternoon we went for a long walk up river from camp.  Brilliant riverine forest with fantastically sized trees.  We enjoyed that tremendously.  When I got up that morning at the respectable hour of 07h30 it was VERY chilly.

Cold Temperature Thermometer

It was very cold……..

But when we set out on our walk things had improved considerably……

Warm Temperature Thermometer

But warmed up nicely…………..

Riverine Forest Tuli Circle Shashi River

Big trees indeed !

After another chilly night in our little dormitory we packed up and returned to Bulawayo.  We were there by about lunch time and went straight to our ‘hotel’.

The Bulawayo Club

The Bulawayo Club !

The Bulawayo Club
The Bulawayo Club

The Bulawayo Club is one of those venerable old institutions known as a Gentleman’s  Club but in this day and age is much more tolerant of the fair sex.   It is lovely building and so reminiscent of its time.

The Bulawayo Club

The Bulawayo Club entrance Hall

The Bulawayo Club

Bedroom wing

The Bulawayo Club

The stairs and landing

The Bulawayo Club Atrium

The Atrium

The Bulawayo Club Dining Room Amalinda Group

The dining room

The Bulawayo Club Chief Lobengula
The Lobengula Room

We spent two nights at The Club because we needed to go shopping for supplies.  Beer, coffee, lots of travel snacks, meat etc.  The marathon journey was far from over.

We left Bulawayo with an extra body on board…………..

Greg on the Mazda Bongo

Not too uncomfortable………

We picked up GJW and headed north.  A long way north to Lupane where we took a right turn onto a dirt road then two lefts and now had 46 kilometres go and the road was pretty bad.  It took an hour…..

Shangani River

….to reach the Shangani River

And we still had a way to  go.  Eventually I saw it and we swung off the road for probably less than 100 metres and stopped.

AJS got out of the Bongo,  looked around and said “What is it ?”

Allan Wilson Memorial Shangani Patrol

AJS at the Allan Wilson Memorial

Remember the Shangani Patrol?  Where Major Allan Wilson and his men were caught on the wrong side of the Shangani River by Matabele warriors?  And all 34 were killed?  This was the site of the battle on the 4th of December 1893.

AJS was very pleased.

Shangani Patrol Allan Wilson Memorial

GJW at the Allan Wilson Memorial

GJW had not been there before either.  It was my third visit, the first being more than fifty years previously!  The beer drinking began!!

I drove back to Lupane, we filled up with fuel, swung right and continued north.  “North?”  I hear you say.

Yup it was not over yet……………

I will be back soon so we can continue with the journey.



  1. Reblogged this on Mr Bunny Chow and commented:

    for some reason Tuli and the Shangani Patrol keep coming back to me at the moment with references in novels etc now I find that my father has been on another adventure back to Matabeleland and these remote and unspoiled historical regions largely forgotten by the worlds tourists.

    If you’d like to visit Zimbabwe please do check out his blog http://www.birdingzimbabwe.com

  2. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. Your photographs are wonderful – the ones of the memorials are especially poignant. It’s good to see that the Bulawayo Club is still operating.

  3. rossanaf says:

    Africa of my dreams .. love it 🙂

  4. Steph Lombard says:

    A fantastic read! Please can you help with directions to Fort Tuli? I would love to take the family out there for a bit of a history lesson!!

  5. Hallo guys, very good read and love the colonial/Rhodesian aspects of your day. Good to see th eBulawayo Club is still in good nick and am very interested to find ou the gps location of the Wilson memorial on the shangani river. A lot of speculation as to where the last stand was and i am sure the site of this forgotten memorial would sort this out. Assistance would be greatly appreciated. Stay well

    • Hi Philip
      Sorry about the very late reply. Thanks for your comments.
      I don’t know if I am clever enough to extract the co-ords of the memorial from my GPS !? I’ll try.

  6. Chris Sheppard says:

    Hi Tony
    I read your blog on your Birdlife trip to The Shangani Patrol Memorial off the Lupane Road.
    My wife and I are visiting Vic Falls next week and I would like to see that site of possible.
    Would you have the GPS coordinates for it, or more detailed directions on how to get there?
    Any help much appreciated
    Chris Sheppard

  7. John McArthur says:

    Hi Folks,
    Found your discussion on the Memorial to those that lost their lives on the Shangani Patrol. Was wondering if anyone has the GPS location, or a Google Earth snapshot of the area?

    Yours sincerely,
    John McArthur

  8. Mike Tucker says:


    Your blog is very interesting to read. Like the others, I would appreciate a GPS location for the Allan Wilson Memorial. You also say you went from Lupane, so you must have gone north and crossed the Shangani River at some point. Although you did this in september before the rains, was this difficult or fairly easy?

    Kind regards

    Mike Tucker

    • Thanks Mike
      So sorry about the very late response. I have been travelling – again !

      Alan Wilson Memorial at the battle site is indeed north of Lupane and over the Shangani.

      S18.77300 E028.12358


  9. Alan Smith , Cornwall, UK says:

    Thank you for a great trip down memory lane,believe it or not ,I went that way in the late 1950s,
    turned right after the Bubi river ,it was most difficulty going through the sand road , I eventually met up with some locals heading to the Shangani river to get water with their ox drawn sleigh loaded my Lambretta scooter eventually meeting up with the fishing party ,my father Syd Smith, my brothers Stan and Denis,his brother Les Smith & family.and Les Wright , Rex and Nigel his sons ,I was only 16 yrs old then ,should have gone by car over the weir ,the turn off was several miles past Lupane .
    That was nearly sixty years ago.

  10. Annetta Holmes says:

    How wonderful. I had heard of the Allan Wilson memorial but had never seen it. Thank you for the wonderful photos’.

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