Zimbabwe is a popular tourists’ destination because of its Victoria Falls. However, the country also has some massive ancient sites, incredible ruins dating centuries that are worth a visit. Khami Ruins is one of them. If you are in Zimbabwe anytime, a day trip to this site will be worth a try.


Kharmi Ruins rarely pop up in people’s mind when they are on holiday in Zimbabwe and many tour guides even leave it out of their itinerary but that does not diminish its status as a World Heritage Site that is worth a visit. A 50 minutes flight from Harare to Bulawayo is your first step to Kharmi Ruins if you are coming from the capital city. The flight leaves as early at 7am (Air Zimbabwe) so it’ll be good if you got up early enough.


Kharmi Ruins lies just west of Bulawayo. The 35-hectare property was once the capital of one of the great pre-colonial Shona States. Though not as imposing as the Great Zimbabwe, Kharmi Ruins is no doubt more picturesque.

If you haven’t had breakfast before leaving Harare, trying out one of the restaurants in Bulawayo will be a good idea before going to the Ruins. You can spend the rest of your morning exploring Bulawayo, especially the Natural History Museum which contains many of the artefacts found at the Kharmi Ruins.

Khami Ruins National Monument

Khami Ruins National Monument


From Bulawayo, it’s a short drive to Kharmi Ruins. At Khami, it’s a different experience entirely. You are likely to find baboons before you get to the entrance, move on to the entrance and pay the required fee to gain access into the site.

Here at Kharmi, you’ll find a few freestanding walls like those at Great Zimbabwe, but the bulk of the ruins seem to be terraced walling. These walls were abundantly decorated, built into the hillside and they create step platforms. The actual houses were built of clay, poles and thatch.

It’s necessary to walk around the several components of the ruins for a good view of the essentials—thanks to the cleared path and short guidebook sold at the entrance, walking here has been made easier. Atop the hill is a Cross, speculated to have been affixed there by a Portuguese missionary in the mid-17th century.


While the chiefs and their family members lived on the Hill Ruins site, a majority of the people lived in the valley terrace. 

A picnic area for a bring-your-own lunch is located down the hill where you can rest and have your lunch. The concrete tables and benches there are under large shady trees which provide cool breeze.


Complete the tour with a visit to the Kharmi River. The river is not impressively maintained, but on the part to the Kharmi Dam is a great bird-spotting site.

Kharmi Ruins river



view of the sky at Kharma

You may explore the site for as long as you want but you’ll have to return home so as evening approaches, wrap up your tour and be ready to go home.


Should you need help about getting there, send us an email at [email protected].

Michael Alvin

Michael Alvin

Creative Writer
Michael Alvin is a lawyer and a UNESCO certified journalist. At Afro Tourism, he blends creativity with his training in telling moving stories about his personal experience on his various trips across Africa.
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin

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