Ziwa National Monument

Photo by Roman Bruehwiler.

Ziwa National Monument is part of the Tentative list of Zimbabwe in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Ziwa National Monument contains the remains of a late Iron Age agricultural settlement dating to the 15th century, and includes archaeological evidence of human occupation from all major periods in Zimbabwe’s archaeological sequence, starting from the Stone Age. This approximately 3300 hectare site consists of a landscape marked by stone terraces and fields, hill forts, pit structures, stone enclosures, and iron smelting and forging furnaces. The settlement at Ziwa remained occupied until the early 18th century.

Map of Ziwa National Monument

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Wojciech Fedoruk

Poland - 29-Apr-24 -

Ziwa National Monument (T) by Wojciech Fedoruk

Site visited in April 2024. Ziwa is not a place often visited by tourists – when we came the last entry in the visitors' book was from 12 days ago, and there were only a dozen or so entries from 2024. The place is located a bit off the tourist trails, although you can get here from Harare in about 4.5 - 5 hours (the last 30-40 minutes on a dirt road, 4x4 is at least recommended, if not mandatory).

Despite the relative inaccessibility of the place, when I got there I was surprised to find a museum of decent quality and a competent guide who showed us around the complex. As the State Party describes, Ziwa is a late Iron Age agricultural settlement dating to the 15th century (there is also evidence of its inhabitance much earlier), which remained occupied until around 1800 AD. Ziwa was characterized by terraces reinforced with stone walls, significantly increasing the potential of agriculture in the mountainous terrain. The stone was also used to fence houses, the central point of which was a stone pen for farm animals. People lived in huts made of clay and reeds. According to the guide, there were 10,000 people at the peak in Ziwa. such houses (I doubt it a bit, it would mean that the Ziwa area was inhabited by at least 100,000 people).

While it is not the most spectacular place in Zimbabwe, it has the potential to be included on the World Heritage List in my opinion. I expected more ruins like Khami or Great Zimbabwe, but what I found was a place that well reflected the culture of ordinary people who lived in these lands for hundreds of years before European colonization.

Full Name
Ziwa National Monument
Archaeological site - Civilizations of Sub-Saharan Africa
1999 Deferred

Bureau- pending the completion of a comparative study of similar church complexes in the region.

1997 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: Ziwa National Monument

The site has 1 locations

Ziwa National Monument (T)


Community Members have visited.

WHS 1997-2024