Nswatugi Cave

Nswatugi Cave is a national monument.The name Nswatugi means “the place of jumping” as it is believed that Mwari / Mwali (God) jumped from his home at Njelele Mountain over the top of Nswatugi Hill and landing on Khalanyoni Hill.

The Cave

Nswatugi Cave opens at the end of a steep gully, the entrance is only six metres across, but the cave extends fourteen metres into the hill and contains beautiful friezes of giraffes, elephants and kudu in a wide range of colours. Two large shaded polychrome giraffe dominate the frieze with below a camp scene of figures asleep in their karosses. Below are six large kudu and a mass of figures including a zebra, crouched humans with others carrying weapons and lines of running hunters. On the right side of the frieze there is another polychrome giraffe and a group of zebra. Below the main frieze are a number of ovoids in ochre and red with stippling and white caps. On the extreme right of the panel are outlines of a zebra and the head of a kudu cow and on the far left are two superb antelope. Further back in a recess are two ovoids, or formlings and a feline. At the front of the cave are a faded giraffe outline, four antelope and a sable head

Why Visit

If there is only time for one rock site in the Matobo National Park, this is probably the one to visit. Three iconic shaded polychrome giraffe are amongst the best in Zimbabwe. The paintings are amongst the most delightfully coloured in the Matobo National Park. There is a site Museum which is worth visiting at the base of the hill.

How to get there

From the National Park Reception head towards Maleme Dam, 1.7 KM turn left at the junction facing the Dam and cross the wall, 3.7 KM reach road junction and turn right to go north. The signpost says 7 km but it is better to stop at 1.6 KM where the signpost on the left indicates Nswatugi Cave and take the path rather than driving the long way around to the Site Museum. The climb is quite short and easy along a well-marked path marked on the granite with green arrows. Zimbabwe Caves And Rock Paintings