Matobo also known as Matopos in the southern region of Zimbabwe is an area of outstanding natural beauty, known for its imposing gravity-defying granite formations, balancing rock formations created by the gradual erosion of the area’s granite plateau. These formations form the Matobo National Hills a part of the Matobo National Park. The Matobo Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the area is recognised for the highest concentration of prehistoric rock paintings in Southern Africa. It is also the historical land of King Mzilikazi and his son Lobengula. For lovers of wildlife, the Matobo National Park is also home to significant populations of black eagles and black and white rhino. And it is in these picture-perfect surrounds located just outside the Park that you will find a home aptly called Khayelitshe, which is the Ndebele word for “house in stone”. Khayelitshe is the weekend home of Beks and Sophia Ndlovu and their three children. The family who live nearby in Zimbabwe’s second city Bulawayo escape to the Matobo Hills most weekends for a peaceful existence away from the demands of busy and digital lives. I came across the home on a feature in the South African design magazine VISI.
Beks is a safari tour operator, the CEO of African Bush Camps, which operates in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Botswana. He designed and built the house from scratch drawing on his love of the African bush and influences from various architectural styles and his travels marketing his business. Khayelitshe is a mix of North, East, West and Southern African styles, with a sprinkling of art and fixtures such as doors and windows sourced from India. The structure of the house mainly comprises wood and corrugated iron, with the addition of carefully carved and shaped local stones resembling those of the majestic and historically significant monument, Great Zimbabwe, which is in the region
“To me, a house must be unpretentious and built with an acute awareness of its surroundings. I think we have achieved this. It is organically built, a clean and uncluttered space that is honest to the environment in which it finds itself.” – Beks Ndlovu, VISI
For further information about Khayelitshe and Airbnb bookings visit: www.airbnb.co.uk
[Image credits: The images shown belong to from top, Beks Ndlovu; and the rest Dook for VISI. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]