Westbeech’s Legacy - Bulawayo to Victoria Falls
The George Westbeech Tour
We know relatively little about the background of George Westbeech, an Englishman, who was well known in this part of the interior for his exploits as a trader, confidant and appointed induna to both the Lozi and Ndebele kings. There were none to parallel his influence.
He took up residence in the 1870s, establishing his headquarters at Pandamatenga, where he employed over 400 hunters to hunt elephant for their ivory, the trade in which Westbeech soon controlled.
To service his interests he built a road from Tati, a gold mine near Francistown (Botswana) to the Zambezi river. This became known as the Westbeech or Pandamatenga Road.
A stereotypical “backwoodsman”; hard drinking, with many illegitimate children and surrounded by a band of dedicated but roguish employees, it was through Westbeech’s trade in ivory and animal skins to South Africa that this region was brought into the fold of Victorian commerce.
He died in July 1888 of the accumulated affects of malaria.
Born in Britain, Westbeech established himself in the region in the 1870s and became a firm favourite of local African leaders.
He is the only man to be honoured as an induna (councillor) to both King Lobengula of the Ndebele and his bitter rival Litunga Lewanika of the Lozi.
Westbeech established the main precolonial road into the interior, and acted as one of the first Safari Guides to Victoria Falls.
His trading store at the “kazungula tree” on the banks of the Zambezi River would, in time, become the meeting point of four countries:
The George Westbeech Tour - Bulawayo To Victoria Falls
Why not put together your own extended “heritage tours” through western Zimbabwe.
These can be tailor-made to suit your interests, a combination of social heritage and the standard safari experience.
We work with several well-established tourism operators and will be your host as we explore the area, once the hunting and trading grounds of the maverick precolonial settler, George Westbeech.
Let’s follow in his footsteps, starting in Bulawayo take in the city and its precolonial predecessor, home to King Lobengula of the Ndebele.
While here maybe visit the nearby rugged Matobo Hills with its unique rock art, battle sites, forts and graves.
Not directly associated with Westbeech, one loses much if you don’t get to see the magnificence of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and its many sites of heritage interest.
Proceed then on to Hwange National Park, one of the world’s great wildlife sanctuaries and once the hunting ground of Westbeech and his band of followers, said by some to number over 400 men of African and mixed race origin.
There is a variety of places to stay and we will be guided by your interests.
For those especially interested in stone ruins, we recommend those lodges in the north of the Park from which we will access the Bumbosi Ruins, once the capital of the Nambya state.
Victoria Falls is without question our next destination. Since it was first popularised in printed media in the mid Nineteenth century, it has become of of the must see destinations for countless generations of visitors. We never tire of seeing it in all its moods.
The aura of this UNESCO World Heritage Site hangs on the romantic phrases of the Scottish missionary, traveller and anti-slavery advocate, David Livingstone. Yet there is so much more to the waterfall and its immediate vicinity.
It is a sacred African space and has a long history of precolonial habitation. Indeed fights over the control of this space is nothing new.
While there, see not only the waterfall but join us on several heritage excursions that explore the African and colonial histories on both sides of the river.
The city of Livingstone on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River, is charming with a unique history. It was once the administrative capital of Northern Rhodesia before losing this position to the more centrally located settlement of Lusaka in 1935.
Many of its early buildings remain and it a great day can be spent exploring the old town.
While for most visitors this is enough, other clients have specifically requested additional days to:
You tell us what you want and we will get our partners to design something that suits your interests and budget.
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