Highlights: Mutare Vumba, Chimanimani Nature, Waterfalls, Mountains
Its exactly a year since Zimbabwe has been under lockdown and this has not only taken a toll on our emotional and physical wellbeing hence the need for a quick getaway.
I would be lying that just like you l wasn’t in need of therapy after days, weeks and months of being grounded. But realised therapy is not what l needed but a road trip with no destination. Just to let my imagination wonder again.
Feeling trapped and cranky l will say JUST GO, pack light and if you wondering where l invite you to follow my recent escapades yes l choose to call it just that because it was not scripted no notes but just the edge to travel.
One destination that never disappoints is the Eastern Highlands and an awe-inspiring road trip to the Eastern Highlands to spend time with nature is a must. Endowed with a variety of waterfalls and mountains, valleys and trails is exactly what your soul needs to heal.
When l think of the Eastern Highlands my preference are less explored areas. Just get me right l appreciate the promises of the well known spots but the wild in me thirsts for the less trodden path where you get to experience nature and less touristic stuff and over priced packages. Yes sometimes am just that thrifty. Vumba or Chimanimani and Chipinge this time ran out on me as my preferred destinations. Homes to many hidden gems!
If there is something I love more than exploring a new city or place, it’s exploring the place in a car, the ecstatic feeling of setting off on a road trip to discover a hidden corner or an offbeat gem is second to none. When I’m on a road trip, I feel free. I feel liberated. I feel alive. The rumbling sound of a roaring engine under the hood, contrasted with the quiet outside, rolling hills and mountains, passing through small towns, and farmland its therapy enough for me.
𝘿𝙖𝙮 1: 𝙃𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙤 𝙈𝙪𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙚!
There is something special about Mutare! I don’t like the city l love it. Wrapped by rolling mountains and cast in valley like l call the city LIL Cape Town. How can one fail to fall in love with the city, as u approach it through the famous Christmas Pass, u can stop to marvel at the rugged beauty as the road snakes through the mountains. As they say you just get that Mwauya/Welcome feeling, this the home of Wasu kumakomoyo, the mountainous place. What a place! A little bit tired from the drive from Harare l checked ini at The Homely Eastern Highlands Retreat a homely BnB in Murambi.
I fell in love with its warm ambience and their home hearty meals. A perfect place to stay when you are in Mutare for business or for leisure. The fatigue could not arrest my curious mind l just had the urge to explore the city a bit before sunset.
I decided to take a sunset scenic drive to the Prince of Wales that gives one of the most amazing views of the Forces Border Post and paths of Mozambique. The place is along the road to Vumba-Burma valley, less than 10 kilometers drive from Mutare. I got there just before sunset and it was a God moment for me, what a beauty.
The Prince of Wales is the Perfect spot to watch the sun go down. I felt like I had entered nature’s auditorium, the views of the hills rolling into each other so intimately and seamlessly enveloped into one spectacular sight is breathtaking.
Watching The sunset over the rugged beauty of the mountains with the sky turn into pretty colors blew the cobwebs off my brains and replenished my soul. This for me was the perfect tonic for a difficult year. As i stood in there in awe of the amazing scenery, I felt healthier happier and my instinct was just to meditate and to praise God for his marvelous creation, God is indeed a Great Artist! Going there is definitely a must-do while visiting Vumba.
𝘿𝙖𝙮 2 𝙃𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙤 𝙑𝙪𝙢𝙗𝙖!
Vumba is special, like really special! As you get into Vumba from Mutare, nature puts on a spectacular show. At every corner as the road winds and snakes through the Bunga Forest with breathtaking backdrops of panoramic lush green mountains and valleys. This nostalgic and scenic stretch is perfect for nature lovers. and if hiking is what gets you going, you’re in for a treat as
Vumba s hiking trails take you through lush forests, magnificent mountains, mountain streams and waterfalls
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐢𝐧 𝐕𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐚
– Vumba Botanical Garden
– Coffee plantation tour
– Game viewing on horseback
– Prince of Wales spectacular sunset views at the Prince of Wales
– Zonwe Dam,Castle Beacon, Bvumba Heights Mountain, Cross Kopje
– Waterfalls Fungudu Falls, Nyachowa Falls, Chinamate Falls
– Bungu Forest,
– Airguns Airsoft & Paintball Shooting
– Archery Slingshot
– oh and do Make sure to pass through Tony s café for the best cake and coffee
𝘿𝙖𝙮 3: 𝙃𝙚𝙮 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝘾𝙝𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙞!
Highlight: Tessa s Pool Bridal Veil Waterfalls
The following morning we headed out for Chimanimani. We left Mutare around 9 am and despite days of exploring our energies were still high. Yes one thing on road trips choose the right mates.
It’s been 3 years since Cyclone Idai land falled and the scenery has changed so much from the time l was last there.
As you drive though some road construction sites a stark reminder of the devastation the cyclone cause and lives lost. I would like to light up a candle as a reminder of each and every soul we lost.
Perhaps Charity Tourism would be an awesome way to quickly get her back on her foot.
A great job is being done but the bridge leading to Chimanimani National Park needs to be rebuilt for easy access! National parks you hear me.?
As you approach Chimanimani the scenery becomes more dramatic with rolling hills and mountains spectacular with lush green valleys and rivers flowing and the air is just so pure.
It’s a scenic and winding drive as Chimanimani boasts absolutely exquisite and picturesque terrains, and the best way to explore this rugged beauty, is on foot, hiking.. Hiking in Chimanimani s phenomenal mountain ranges is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
We couldn’t drive across the river as the bridge leading to the camp was swept away by Cyclone Idai and manoeuvring would be a mammoth task.
So the journey had to finished on foot!
So we took off our sneakers and merrily crossed the shallow stream, and took a good hike!
You know how when you take a hike thinking you almost there and you end up hitting a 6km walk one way. Just when I thought I had won in cheating on my morning workout karma was waiting to serve me a whole 6km! and guess what? The hike was worth it! The landscape is so captivating, you would definitely want to go hiking there It was such a good feeling to escape the city and enjoy nature.
Chimanimani has beautiful trails ranging from short walks to half-day hikes, and even multi-day hikes for those looking for a challenge. So perfect for adventure-seekers and its all waiting for you.
We finally got to the camp and our tour guide Joe was waiting for us. Joe is that avid adventurer and always has a smile on his face. He made the whole experience fantastic. His intimate knowledge of Chimanimani just invites you into his world. We were all for some adventure and so we started with some abseiling. After abseiling we headed for Tessa’s pool, Tessa’s Pool As we walked down to the pool I was immediately taken aback by the beauty of the waterfall cascading down into the pool. This is a paradise a hidden gem and a must experience!
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐃𝐨 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐢
– Hiking, birding and mountain climbing in outstanding natural beauty. Hiking The Chimanimani Mountains are abundant with waterfalls, magical mountain streams, crisp pure mountain air and rolling hills that will stoke the fires of your soul! Hiking in the Chimanimani Mountains is truly a special experience. The many routes into the mountains are so remote that you literally have the mountains all to ourselves.
– The Eland Sanctuary & Bridal Veil Falls – a breathtaking series of waterfalls.
– Chimanimani Mountain National Park – a steep climb-walk in from Base Camp to the Mountain Hut, then paths to Mt. Binga and Digby’s Falls. This quartzite mountain range has over 80 endemic species of fauna and flora including wild orchids and is the only National Park in Zimbabwe with NO ROADS INSIDE. Just spectacular beauty. Camp, stay in a mountain hut or sleep in a cave!
– Corner Park in the northeast corner of Chimanimani National Park. Robust vehicles can drive in – then you walk. Gentler hikes, spectacular waterfalls.
– Tessa’s Pool – on the Outward Bound Centre’s grounds; accessible by road, one of the most lovely waterfalls and natural swimming pools in the country.
– If you are a keen birder the endangered Blue swallow as well as Bronze sunbird, Gurneys sugarbird, Miombo tit, Mashona hyliota and Miombo rock thrush
– Traditional Village at Matsetso next to the Chimanimani Country Club.
– San Bushman Paintings – The only paintings on Quartzite rock in Zimbabwe are found behind the Outward Bound School
– 15th Century stained glass: Chimanimani Anglican Church: The stained glass window in this little old stone church is said to be of superb quality, was shipped from London in 1960 and apparently is of French origin, circa 15th century.
– Golf at Chimanimani Country Club
– Mbira and Djembe at Chimanimani Country Club
Chimanimani and Vumba are classic destinations– all touristy and so full of true, natural wonder. I m going to miss the wild spectacular views, wild sunsets on unending horizons, the hikes, the delicious meals with a view, the pure air, times like this help us slow down, breathe deeper and think more clearly.
The Chimanimani and Vumba mountains are definitely something to look forward to . Camp stay in a mountain hut or sleep in a cave! Or stargaze and spot thousands of stars on a clear night and catch jaw-dropping views of the Milky Way.
When was the last time you felt like a reset, maybe its time you start thinking about planning one?After all, taking in awe-inspiring scenery along classic routes can help you unwind, recharge and boost your overall well-being and connectivity to the world at large.
So, if you’re ready to admire spectacular landscapes across the country, the Eastern Highlands is ready for you! I hope that this post helped you in building out your itinerary for any upcoming trips that you may have planned, and if you don’t have a trip planned, hopefully, this will inspire you to book a trip 😅.