FORGET the traditional way of spending Easter, Christmas or any holiday for that matter – Try touring the Eastern Highlands to explore everything offered by that place they call “Little England”. The Sunday Mail and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority teams did just that.
The Eastern Highlands is the number six on the list of Zimbabwe’s own seven wonders — the “Mystic of the Eastern Highlands”. The other wonders include:
- Wonderful People and Culture
- Rich History and Heritage
- Majestic Victoria Falls
- Great Zimbabwe “the Medieval Palace”
- Pristine Wildlife and Nature
- Mythical Kariba
Chimanimani is a divine place nestled some 120km south of the Eastern Highlands’ capital of Mutare. The place is blessed with many natural wonders and a people so cheerful and hospitable — they make the experience unbelievable. It is a perfect escapade for any holiday season or vacation.
In Chimanimani, known as the home of fruits and vegetables in some circles, bananas and other fruits grow naturally due to abundant rains. Also, there is a dish synonymous with the area, which involves cooking and frying unripe bananas. The taste is amazing! It is a true culinary experience.
In the backyard of Chimanimani village is the scenic Bridal Veil Falls where you can enjoy a heavenly picnic and braai while plundering on the views of Pork Pie Mountain.
Haphazardly situated in Chimanimani are the Muhohwa, Haroni, Mukurupiri, Skeleton and Digby Falls where you can relax and get soul cleansing. Far-away from settlements and farms is Tessa’s Pool situated in the Outward Bound properties. Here you can swim all your troubles away in the rejuvenating natural pool.
Then there is the mountain range that is everything in the definition of beauty. The range lies on the eastern border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is home to the region’s highest mountain, Mount Kweza, which towers above 2220m. The mountain range is mostly dominated by sandstone and quartzite. The ridges are spectacular; every hiker or rock climber’s dream come true.
After a long day of hiking and adventure, there is Mountain Hut at 1360m above sea level, which can serve as a refuge or resting point with ablution facilities and self-catering services, courtesy of National Parks.
The lion hearted also have another choice of putting up in the disused mining shafts known as Terry and Peter’s caves.
In the highly situated Bundi plains one can spend hours walking, captivated by several species of butterflies, birds and even coming across the herbivores such as the duikers, sables and elands. Wilderness walks in the virgin, thick and opulent forests of Chimanimani is another activity one can partake on this festive season.
The region has some fancy rare endemic fauna and flora. The forests are one of the few untouched or lightly disturbed you can still find in Zimbabwe and hence satisfaction is guaranteed.
Then there are the myths associated with the area. An example is that of Musanditeera (do not follow my trail), which has been overrun by the illegal gold-panners as the area is believed to be rich in minerals. Legend has it that the area was so dangerous that when a person went there his or her chances of making it back ranged from slim to none, hence “if I go and do not show up, do not trace my trail”. Chatting with the local villagers could enlighten visitors more on such folktales.
Chimanimani is a place that everyone should tour. You will never return the same, you will become a better renewed, rejuvenated individual. Why not spend your holiday vacation in such an area?
It is a rare jewel, rich with minerals, a diverse people, beautiful scenery, rugged landscapes, a diversity of fauna and flora and a wealth of history. It is a place where adventure and a good time are inevitable.
Those that want comfort even in the middle of the jungle, will miss their “five-star” hotels; sleeping places are found in farm houses or else you can camp in designated areas. Adventurists, however, would find it more than comfortable. Villagers, self-proclaimed village tour guides and other raw jungle elements provide the finest experience for anyone who is not afraid of hiking.
From Chimanimani, there is Vumba then Mutare and finally Nyanga – More on the others in the follow-up articles!
Originally published by The Sunday Mail team.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is a corporate body responsible for tourism promotion, planning and development, research and the enforcement of standards and services. To this end, the organiation’s mission is to promote the sustainable growth and development of tourism in Zimbabwe for the social and economic benefit of the nation through setting and monitoring of standards, marketing activities.