Sunday, 17 January 2010

Rhodesian Postcards: Leopard Rock

The under mentioned Postcards are believed to be from the period between the early 1950's to early 1960's

In second photograph the British Union Jack Flag is visible which then indicates it from Federal days, November 1952 to December 1963.

Leopard Rock was a Hotel situated in the Vumba Mountains, near Umtali in the Eastern Districts of Rhodesia and lay on the border with Mozambique, previously known as Portuguese East Africa (P.E.A.) and was subjected to terrorist attacks during the Rhodesian war.

Swimming Pool

Postcards made available from Trisha Norris. Thanks Trisha.



At 18 January 2010 at 06:13 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Bill Sykes Writes:-

What memories those Leopard Rock photos brought back ...

I was at Eagle School in the Vumba for six years, 1951-1956, and Leopard Rock was our favourite place to visit when the folks came up to visit, from Umvukwes. The circular swimming pool was not quite as nice as it looks, as it had a bottom made from rocks which were always slimy and you could hurt your feet. The beautiful waterfall in the other picture was also a bit of a disappointment because, when you climbed the rock you found it was just a galvanised pipe which was fed water from a stream further up the mountain - no magical Garden of Eden pool surrounded by ferns and palms.

The Seymor-Smith castle in the background had the most wonderful views of the valley and had huge 'picture' windows to create that exact effect.
It is used today as a five star exclusive hotel, maximum 8-10 people, with a gourmet menu.

The little dam in the foreground contained edible fish, my father once having to row back to shore because they were up to the gunwhales with the afternoon catch, which all went to the compound. All that area is now what must be in the top ten world golf courses for scenery, especially the 17th tee, from which you can see the most spectacular view of Burma Valley and Chicamba Real Dam. And it was on the old nine-hole course that Dawn Emsley and friend were struck by lightning on that fateful day in the 70s.

I wonder if anyone remembers the staff at the hotel - they were from the tribe that had lived there forever, and were so interbred that there were a number of them who, in these PC times, can best be described as simple. The mealtimes were frustrating as the waiters would often bring orders totally different from those requested.

The bar in the hotel had wood panelling and emminent visitors were allowed to scratch their names on it like school boys do to their desks. I forget whose names were there and I would like to know what happened to the panels when the hotel was upgraded. Someone must have them.

Happy times indeed ... until the war changed things.

At 18 January 2010 at 07:43 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Reg Catterall Writes:-

Last visited there in 1982 and it was just under the care of a Caretaker. As I was with an overseas visitor he took us round. It was like going through a Hotel in a horror Movie. Picture postcards on the reception desk and a register. Beer glasses on the bar . Everywhere else just deserted. The last time I stayed there it had been run by two chaps. I caught for a room next to the Bar and did not have a good nights sleep.

At 27 January 2010 at 11:00 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Marc Ongers Writes:-

My mother Muriel Ongers was the Director Of Publicity for the Umtali Region from the early 70’s as well as being the RBC (Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation) news correspondent for the area (you have no idea what it was like to see your mother climbing out of a helicopter at a base camp you were at to interview the troops). We as a family had to frequent the various hotels of the Region to keep her current with the standards and our favorites in the Vumba region were the Leopard Rock, The White Horse Inn and the little hotel just past the Leopard Rock turn off which name escapes me but I seem to remember it being burnt to the ground.

Christmas was a special time at Leopard Rock and us kids were treated to a grand time whilst the adults had a great Christmas party and New Years do which I seem to remember was always full and during the day there was a scavenger hunt done in cars for great prizes! I also remember a complete replica of the hotel in the kids playroom which was an indoor slide and of course to a child the reception area reminded one of a Medieval Castle with the fire that was always on to greet you.

In those days the golf course was a challenge and certainly not something an inexperienced golfer would attempt – we as kids generally lasted 3 holes or so after which we had no more balls, all claimed by the thick vegetation. It was easier to play on the croquet course which, if you could get the adults off, would keep us kids amused for hours!

The snooker room too held great promise for us kids and whenever the barmen weren’t around, (normally in the morning) we would sneak in and play until we were caught and hauled out. One Christmas eve I recall us kids sneaking a sip or two of the champagne on the Christmas Tables, eventually securing a bottle of TOKAI wine which leveled us…my mother found me unconscious on the snooker table at 3 in the morning and after a four day hangover, I have never touched wine since!!

Leopard Rock – such great memories!!

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