We love Chimanimani, its skies, its peaks, its walking trails and its independent people.
You can do an unguided walk (3 hours) through Indigenous Msasa woodland down to the magnificent Bridal Veil Falls. This is an easy walk unless you choose to climb to the very top of the Falls, which needs an hour extra.
Alternatively you can do a light stroll into the small centre of Chimanimani, bustling with people doing their thing, with in the background the ever present peaks of the mountains.
The most welknown walk the guided or unguided walk from Base Camp to the Hut: first a 40 minute drive to the base of a massive mountain, from there, using sparsely marked trails, you go up, mostly through steep riverbeds, sometimes on all fours. It takes about 2 to 2.5 hours, to reach the top. The views are breath taking, and it is worthwhile all the efforts. The descent down takes also 2 to 2.5 hours. It is a heavy challenging walk.
When you are keen to get a taste of the quartzite mountain, you can drive to Outward Bound (about 30 minutes) with a packed lunch. From there you are guided to the Mangowe waterfalls. This is 3 hour walk, moderately strenuous. At the end of that walk you can take a cool dip in Tessa’s Pool and see the San paintings, before returning to the village.
We also designed a guided walk where you will meet local people, the Greenmont walk.
Along the ridge from above the Hotel, going west, you come down through Ngangu township and to the golf course, meeting with the proud, independent and welcoming Matsetso people and walking up through their village.
Accommodation: our most preferred choice is Frog and Fern, a well-equipped self-catering cottage which has a great atmosphere and great hosts Jane and Dee. They work with local communities and is they who designed the Greenmont walk with local guides.
Far and Wide in Mtarazi National Park – Juliasdale
In the early 90’s Bernie and Judy Cragg started to develop their outdoor activity and educational centre Far and Wide. It is based in the Mtarazi Falls National Park. They provide very comfortable self-catering lodges from where one can do excellent walks, including the famous multiple day Turaco Trail which ends at Aberfoyle Lodge.
Also shorter 1-day trails are available:
- The trail to the Mutarazi Falls takes participants from FAR and WIDE along the Mutarazi escarpment via the Honde View point, one of Zimbabwe’s most wonderful look outs with views down into the Honde Valley and on into Mozambique, through mountain forest and to the Falls themselves. The walk is of medium difficulty and takes about three to four hours.
- The Chirokorokoto trails is part of the Turaco Trail, an iconic hiking trail in Zimbabwe. This section of the trail is of medium difficulty and takes about five to six hours. It sees participants start out from FAR and WIDE and walk through wild primary mountain forest, mountain grassland, valleys and mountain ridges to the summit of Chikorokoto and back to FAR and WIDE. The summit ridge provides exquisite views of the Pungwe Gorge and Mt Inyangani, Zimbabwe’s highest mountain.
Accommodation: well-equipped self-catering lodges, there are options to book meals in advance.
Guiding: Far and Wide offers qualified guides, highly recommended. Experienced hikers can go around by themselves using detailed maps and GPS.
Deep into the Honde Valley near the tea estates lies Aberfoyle Lodge in a stunning area. The lodge offers many activities like golf, kayaking, birding, a visit to the tea estate and to carvers.
Great walks can be made here.
Aberfoyle Lodge and the surrounding area is steeped in history and folklore and the local guide Morgan, who was born here and has lived his whole life in the area, will fascinate you with tales and history of the region. He will lead you up to scale various mountains such as Domwe, Dzunzwa, Makhore and Tsongorera, pointing out various medicinal plants and other things of interest.
Musangano Lodge – Odzi area
Another great place for walkers and birders.
Enjoy the marked walking trails, ranging from a leisurely one hour afternoon stroll through the woodlands, to a more demanding three hour trek up the surrounding hills and through the local Aloe Route. The area is rich in indigenous tree species and also has an abundant birdlife, perfect for those interested in bird watching. No guide is needed. Musangano offers more: visit to local communities and to a commercial farm.
Nyanga National Park
The famous three: Mtarazi Falls, Honde View and Pungwe View. No guides are needed, but you need a 4 x 4 to reach these spots. Worlds view is a great place to go to as well as the characteristic Nyagombe Falls. It is possible to climb Mt Inyangani, the highest mountain in Zimbabwe. You need to go with a guide from National parks office near Rhodes Nyanga Hotel. This trip is a bit more demanding.
Accommodation: Nyanga and Juliasdale have a great variety of hotels and guesthouses. Our preferred accommodations: Pine Tree Inn, Inn on the Rupurara, Rhodes Nyanga Hotel, Troutbeck Inn Hotel and of Far and Wide, mentioned above.
The Vumba mountains is another walker’s paradise, with plenty of trails, which unfortunately are not signposted, and on you own you easily can get lost in the Misty Mountains. Recently, the Friends of the Vumba with National parks have started an initiative to make the trails more accessible. Bird walks are offered by Seldom Seem, with the famous guide Peter. For simple walks enquire at the place where you stay, our choices: Leopard Rock Golf Resort, Inn on the Vumba, White Horse Inn, Seldom Seen (self-catering), it is a small world (self-catering), but there are many others.
La Rochelle – Penhalonga (Mutare)
For those who like easy strolls, La Rochelle is the place to go to. Recently reopened it offers a unique classical atmosphere. Spend a quiet morning exploring the endless trails, which traverse the arboretum and beautiful gardens, or visit the nurseries where Sir Stephen’s Orchid collection continues to expand. No guide is needed.
In Masvingo we have partnered with a local group of people called Chesvingo. We have created with them a guided walk through the communal lands, full of rolling landscapes between the Zimbabwe ruins and lake Mutirikwi. This walk takes you to various villages. Great views! It gives you a unique insight of the day-to-day live in rural Zimbabwe.
The walk is fairly easy, with good paths, and minimal height differences. The final part (to the last cave) is quite steep, but short. The last part is not recommended for big people and people who have trouble with walking on steep climbs.
This walks takes about 4 hours and includes lunch. Guiding fees are USD 10 per person.
Our preferred accommodations in Masvingo are Lodge at the Ancient City, Norma Jeans and the Great Zimbabwe Hotels.