July 15, 2024

Heaven in the Hills with Mbuso Travels

Chimanimani “to be squeezed together,” describes the narrow pass in the mountain range through which the Musapa River flows.

Hello Harare!  Welcome to our bi-monthly travel reviews. For the “Alone Time Traveller” or “Group Traveller” read on about the opportunities of discovering hidden gems, enjoying moments of serenity and savoring life at its best. Traveling is a healing antidote and a happiness antidote!

Our recommendation and a very popular base for solo travelers, budget travelers, backpackers, group travelers wishing to tour up the Chimanimani Mountain once referred to as the second most popular tourist destination in Zimbabwe after Victoria Falls is Haven Lodge. A special and splendid choice of excursion for a relaxed midyear getaway for a healing visit with nature, crystal mountains, numerous waterfalls, pools, clean mountain water, fresh air and endless space surrounded by many endemic species of birds far much from City Life! A great escape from the stress of modern life.

A bit more of history: Heaven Lodge

The lodge was built in 1993. The lodge went through a decline during the inevitable collapse of tourism in the hyperinflation years but now it’s back and rejuvenated. There is still a lot to do, but the current focus is on promoting Zimbabwe tourism having a wide selection of affordable accommodation. There are plans to build several free standings and self-catering units on the property, all with wonderful views of the mountain.

 “We plan to develop a large vegetable garden once we have our borehole operating. Then we will have food straight from the garden to the plate. We use local produce where we can and currently provide simple comfort food. We are also working on a small shop within the lodge where we will sell local curios, t-shirts, beanies and various mountain supplies such as dried foods.”- From James and his team, who told us about his goals

At Mbuso Travels, we admire the off-peak travel in winter to this lovely recommendation that provides warm breakfasts and Zimbabwean Tanganda tea. Enjoy watching the misty and warm views of the Chimanimani Mountains; the lodge offers such a surreal and mind-refreshing environment together with their great wood-fired pizzas with cold matured handmade dough.

Have you ever wondered? Facts about Chimanimani:

  • Originally named after Melsetter situated in Orkney Island – in winter there are times when the weather is very “Scottish”… cold and misty. It has some of the highest rainfall in Zimbabwe and the vegetation is usually lush and green year round.
  • The Chimanimani Mountain range is a massive ridge of pre-Cambrian quartzite (compressed sandstone), rearing up out of the earth on Zimbabwe’s eastern border. So, it’s basically one giant crystal!
  • Monte Binga is the highest mountain in Mozambique and the second highest mountain in Zimbabwe. It is located on the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the Chimanimani Transfrontier Park.
  • The deepest shaft cave system in southern Africa was discovered in these mountains and six caves were mapped in 1993. The Mawenge Mwena shaft, according to the Cape Peninsula Speleological Society, which organised and led the expedition, reached effective bottom at 305 metres below the surface. Its record still stands: the 7th deepest sandstone/quartzite cave in the world.
  • Big End Chasm is the world’s largest chamber in a sandstone/quartzite cave: it is a vast cavern at 90 metres high, 70 metres long and 15 metres wide.

Main Attractions

  • Hiking, birding and mountain climbing in outstanding natural beauty.
  • The Eland Sanctuary & Bridal Veil Falls is a breathtaking series of waterfalls. Hill walking for birders and hikers. This park is a green mountain above the village, often used as a high altitude training base for mountain bikers and endurance and adventure hillrunners.
  • Chimanimani Mountain National Park (CMNP) – 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. Discover a hikers’ paradise.
  • Tessa’s Pool – on the Outward Bound Centre’s grounds; accessible by road. Visitors welcome at one of the most lovely waterfalls and natural swimming pools in the country.
  • Special Interest: The CMNP is the ONLY quartzite mountain range in Zimbabwe. Its special ecosystem holds unique trees, aloes, orchids, ferns, fungi and proteas, which in turn support rare species of butterfly, dragonfly, amphibians, birds, etc.
  • Attractions for keen birders include the endangered Blue swallow as well as the Bronze Sunbird, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Miombo tit, Mashona hyliota and Miombo rock thrush. Pplenty of raptors too!

#staywithus Pack, go somewhere you’ve never been and immerse yourself in the culture and cooler weather excursions. Contact us for more info on this budget-friendly recommendation up in the Chimanimani Mountains. +263 738 567 586. mbusotravelszim@gmail.com

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