10 things you might otherwise never know about Matabeleland

1. The place we know as Matabeleland today is a region within Zimbabwe.

2. The area has significant gold deposits.

3. It was in Matabeleland that American adventurer Frederick Russell Burnham taught Englishman Robert Baden-Powell bush craft. Baden-Powell went on to set up the Scouting movement.

4. Matabeleland North’s Victoria Falls are among the world’s largest waterfalls and are thought by many to be one of the great wonders of the world.

5. The waterfalls were named after Britain’s Queen Victoria by Scottish explorer David Livingstone. But the falls are known as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ by the indigenous people, which means ‘the smoke that thunders’.

6. Hwange National Park, in Northern Matabeleland, has some of the largest game herds in Zimbabwe.

7. Matabeleland is mainly tropical grassland, or savanna.

8. The Ndebele people, who live in Matabeleland, grow maize and groundnuts, herd cattle and mine tin, coal and gold.

9. The elephant population of Hwange National Park is one of the largest in the world.

10. If you forget your toothbrush in Matabeleland you could try rubbing your teeth with a twig from the mopane tree – but watch out for the mopane worm (which is actually a caterpillar that feasts on the tree’s leaves). Unless you’d like to sample a local delicacy, which is roasted or dried mopane worm – very good for you but a bit earthy tasting.