Dombashawa Caves

Dombashawa Rocks and Painted Cave Site - Domboshava National Monument

Useful Information

Location: 32 km outside Harare.
(-17.607996, 31.168810)
Open: All year daily 8-17.
Fee: Adults USD 10.
Classification: SpeleologyErosional Cave ArchaeologyPainted Cave Granite Caves.
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Pascall Taruvinga (2002): Salvaging Vandalised Rock Art at Domboshava National Monument in North-eastern Zimbabwe, Heritage al Risk 20O1/2002, pp 217-219. pdf
Address: Domboshawa Caves, Domboshawa Rock Road, Zimbabwe, Tel: +263-78-485-2685.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1936 under the custodianship of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.


The Domboshowa Rocks and Painted Cave Site is one of the most substantive rock art sites in Zimbabwe. A huge granite outcrop is eroded and forms an erosional and wind cave, more or less large overhanging cliffs or shelters also called abri. The name Domboshawa derives from the Chishona words dombo (large stone or rock) and shawa (red). As there are many red rocks in the are, at least half a dozen sites in Mashonaland share this name.

The cave contains rock paintings, otherwise known as Bushmen or San paintings. It has an almost 100 m long panel of paintings which are well preserved. The paintings show human figures (male and female) and hunting scenes. The brown-colored cave paintings are about 13,000 years old, the black-colored paintings perhaps 2,000. The Stone Age occupation of the site is evidenced by numerous quartz chips found on the ground.

The site is a National Monument No.: 16 and has an Interpretive Centre.