Khami Ruins

Situated on the Old Khami road 22 kms West of Bulawayo

Khami Ruins is a national monument, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Khami was the capital of the Kingdom of Butua of the Torwa Dynasty for about 200 years from around 1450 and appears to have been founded at the time of the disappearance of the state at Great Zimbabwe. After that (the traditional date is 1683), it was ransacked by Changamire Dombo  who led an army of Rozvi rebels from the Mwenemutapa (“Monomotapa”) State.

Excavations seem to show that the site was not occupied after these Rozvi took over. The Rozvi made another Khami phase site Danamombe, (Dhlo-Dhlo), their new capital. In the 1830s Nguni speaking Ndebele raiders displaced them from Khami and many of the other sites they had established.

The site of Khami reveals seven built-up areas occupied by the royal family with open areas in the valley occupied by the commoners. The complex comprises circular, sometimes terraced, artificial platforms encased by dry stone walls.

The beautifully decorated 6m-high by 68m-long retaining wall of the precipice platform bears a checkerboard design along its entire length. The platforms, rising 2–7m above the ground, carried dhaka (clay) huts and courtyards where those of lower status lived.

The remnants of cattle kraals and huts for ordinary people can be seen below the Hill Complex. The ruins include a royal enclosure or Hill Complex, which had to be on higher ground than other buildings, stone walls and hut platforms and also a Christian cross  believed to have been placed by a contemporary missionary.

There are also ruins on the eastern side of the Khami River. Other platforms are believed to have been cattle kraals and a retaining wall with a chequered pattern. Recent excavations (2000–2006) have revealed that the walls of the western parts of the Hill Complex were all decorated in chequer, herringbone, cord, as well as variegated stone blocks

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Children US$1US$5

Dogs not permitted

Open all year round 9 am – 5 pm

Entrance fees correct at time of publication

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At A Glance



Khami Ruins is a National Monument and as such there is no accommodation on the 108 ha site however there are a number of hotels and B&Bs in nearby Bulawayo.

  • Nesbitt Castle 
  • The Bulawayo Club 
  • Sondela Guest Lodge 
  • Musketeers Lodge 
  • Churchill Arms 
  • Banff Lodge 
  • Holiday Inn 
  • Bulawayo Rainbow 
  • Hornung Park Lodge 
  • Southern Comfort Lodge 




Bulawayo Airport – Bulawayo 23 kms (14.4 miles)

Bulawayo – Khami Ruins 25.5 kms (16 miles)

Bulawayo – Matopas 35 kms (28.10 miles)

Bulawayo – Beitbridge 320 kms (200 miles)

Bulawayo –  Gweru 164 kms (102 miles)

Bulawayo – Hwange 337 kms (210.63 miles)

Bulawayo – Harare 440 kms (274 miles)

Bulawayo – Kariba 803 kms (502 miles)

Bulawayo – Masvingo 280 kms (174 miles)

Bulawayo – Mutare 578 kms   (359 miles)

Bulawayo – Nyanga  686 kms (429 miles)

Bulawayo – Victoria Falls 438 kms (274 miles)

Gweru – Masvingo  164 kms (102.5 miles)

Hwange – Victoria Falls 102 kms (63.75 miles)


Airport and Transfers

Bulawayo Airport (Joshua Nkomo International) is 23 kms from Bulawayo

There are daily direct flights from Harare and others three times a week from Victoria Falls

There are also daily direct flights  from Johannesburg and other centres. Check with your travel agent

Taxis and hire cars are available from the airport

Lodges can pre-arrange pick-ups for a fee.

Visitors can self-drive to Khami.

It is highly recommended  that visitors arrange a tour to Khami in order to get the most from the visit. 

Guides are available at the Park office.


Nearby Attractions

Matopos National Park (35 kms)

‘View of the World’ – Matopas

Cecil John Rhodes Grave – Matopas

Shangani Memorial – Matopas

San Bushmen painyings – Matopas

Khami Ruins (25.5 kms)

Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage (4.2 kms) 

Cyrene Mission (32 kms)

Naletale Ruins and Dhlo Dhlo Ruins (112 kms – Harare Road)

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Bulawayo Attractions


Railway Museum (7.9 kms)

Natural History Museum (4.9 kms)

Mabukuwene Nature Gardens (10 kms)

Tshabala Wildlife Sanctuary (8 kms)

Jairos Jiri Craft Shop (City)

Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre (7.5 kms)

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