Chimanimani National Park
The Chimanimani National Park is Zimbabwe’s finest mountain wilderness. It covers 171 square kilometers at the southern point of the Eastern Highlands, stretching some 50 Km along the border with Mozambique. It is a popular hiking destination with magnificent vista’s and many outstanding features which are unique to the area.
An area of rugged grandeur, it is distinguished by large peaks carved from a rifted quartzite block, regarded as an untouched and pristine wilderness which offers both day and multi-day hiking trails, with most of the park only accessible on foot. The park is riddled with caves and rock overhangs which provide a great “free” alternative to overnight in.
At the foot of the mountains, Base Camp is home to the Bridal Falls which is within the Eland Sanctuary and has spectacular views of the Porkpie Mountain Range.
The trails from Corner Camp in the Northern end of the park offer a less physical challenge to walkers and hikers, and the Muhohwa River (and its crocodile free pools) feed the Muhohwa Falls which is an ideal spot for a picnic.
148 km south of Mutare is the spectacular Chimanimani range of mountains that form the Chimanimani National Park. The mountains form the southern end of the Eastern Highlands and are shared as a border with Mozambique (that has the highest peak of the mountain range, Mount Binga at 2436 m). The National Park has been well-preserved and offers a pristine and untouched eco-system to the passionate hiker since it's one of the relatively unknown nature reserves in Africa. This presents a fascinating challenge to the truly adventurous on the mountainous wonder that's called Chimanimani. There are a lot of activities to do - hiking, rock-climbing, birding, camping in the caves and swimming in the natural sparkling pools. It is also a wonderful area for people interested in the world of plants and flowers.
About 70 km from Mutare is the turn-off for the Chimanimani village. After you hit the sign-post, you can only sit and marvel at the beauty of the mountain region. It is a pleasant drive to the village where there's a bank, grocery shop, curio shop and the old but active Chimanimani hotel. The Mutekeswane base camp (1250 km above sea level) is about 19 km from the village on a gravel path which might take about an hour. Visitors can spend the night at base camp if required.
The ranger on duty will advise on the best path through the mountains to the refuge hut at 1630 km above sea level where fully-equipped hikers can stay. The ablution and cooking facilities can cater for up to 20 visitors at a time. If you are a daring and adventurous visitor, Terry's and Peterhouse caves which are actual disused mine shafts can be used for the night. There are fireplaces and ablution facilities in the park but you have to carry a sleeping bag and cooking equipment and food to complete the stay.
Camping can be done anywhere withing the park but not at Base Camp. For the first-timers, consider taking about 2-3 hours on this hike. They are advised to take the Banana Grove route while experienced hikers can take the Bailly's Folly route.
There are numerous streams and pools to cool off after a hard day's work. Also are the nature's wonderful creations, the birds and the butterflies, that can be easily seen on the paths through cedar and yellowwood trees. If you are lucky, you might spot an eland, sable, bushbuck, blue duiker or a klipspringer and an occasional leopard but they are rarely seen in the thick forest.There are only footpaths through the National Park which adds to the beauty and unspoiled nature of the trek paths.
The Peterhouse cave is located near the gushing river Bundi. Downstream, the river tumbles down into a large deep pool. The falling water is named the Peterhouse Falls. It is a natural cliff jump and many a travelers have jumped into the scary wide and deep pool wanting to come back and do it again.
Around Chimanimani is one more tourist attraction. To the north of the village is a mountain called Nyamzune also called Pork Pie which houses the Eland Sanctuary. Also 4 km northwest of the Chimanimani are the Bridal Veil falls which plunge down 50 km into a base 10 km wide. At the base of the falls in the Eland sanctuary is a picnic spot.
With a diverse scenery
from ragged dry rock cliffs, to crystal waterfalls and rivers and tropical forests, Chimanimani is one of the most desirable places in Zimbabwe
. It is a place to rediscover yourself, your spirit and peace of mind
. We invite you to come and visit this awe-inspiring place that will leave you speechless and spellbound in a matter of hours!