Must visit Destinations in Manicaland
Here’s my list of my best holiday destinations to visit in Manicaland. Do you know what strikes me about this list? The landscapes are all so varied from the rainforest at Chimanimani, Chirinda forests(Chipinge) to the rocky vistas at Chimanimani Plateau, to the misty hills of Nyanga, the skywalk at the breathtaking Mtarazi Falls. There’s too much to see in just one holiday.
You’d definitely want your name carved in a stone, making history by becoming one of the first people to undertake the skywalk at the breathtaking Mtarazi Falls.The new adventure product is nicely tucked away in the scenic Honde Valley in Manicaland. It’s a rare experience and what is more exciting is you have to conquer your fear of the heights. I absolutely have no doubts that on your next holiday this festive season you will definitely fall in love with this new adventure product.
With a fall of 762m which makes it the second highest waterfall in Africa after Tugela Falls in South Africa, Mutarazi Falls is there to be seen and not just to be told. The magnificent falls are tucked away in an uninhabited wilderness where fresh air wafts across the mountain range.Another beauty is that the Mutarazi Falls which is the latest tourism product on the market makes for interesting visiting and is a response to the call for operators to diversify their products so definitely the new offering is set to attract thousands of tourists to the Eastern Highlands. There is no doubt thousands of visitors are set to visit Manicaland for the natural wonder that is waiting to be explored.
You drive down into the Honde Valley, along with the floor of the valley, through the banana plantations and avocado trees which are the main source of income for the rural people of this valley.It still has the original wood floors, large verandahs and old-fashioned comfort but with new décor and comfortable furniture and bedrooms.You then climb out the other side of the valley, crossing several rivers that flow down from the surrounding mountains including the Pungwe River. The drive then takes you through the incredible rolling tea fields of the Eastern Highlands Tea Plantation in which Aberfoyle Lodge is nestled.
We have many extremely rare birds found only in the forests around Aberfoyle and surrounding areas with its unique flora that remain green all year round as a result of receiving some of the highest rainfall in Zimbabwe. We also have tea factories that are of great interest to visit as well as seeing the construction of a very large hydro plant utilizing the water coming off the mountains from the Nyamingura River. Our pepper gardens which are about a 30-minute walk along the Nyamkombe River are very unique and they are the only organic pepper gardens in Zimbabwe.
If you were teleported to Nyanga, I bet you’d be forgiven for assuming that you were in the highlands of Scotland. Swelling hills, pleasantly gurgling rivers, mountain waterfalls, and green valleys greet visitors: all this it’s barely three hours from Harare. Nyanga is the best place for snuggling next to a fire in a cozy cottage, walking along fern-lined mountain paths and going wild swimming in sparkling waterfalls. Your friends will never believe that your photos were taken in Africa late alone Manicaland. Be part of the movement on your next holiday that breaks narrow stereotypes.
This lush, mountainous forest is a complete contrast to the savannah ecosystems seen elsewhere in Zimbabwe, confronting many people’s preconceptions about typical African scenery. Vumba is a small but photogenic reserve, offering walking trails and mist hued views into the neighboring of Mozambique.It’s one of the few places in Zimbabwe where you can see forest-dwelling samango monkeys (as opposed to widespread vervet monkeys) and rare bird species such as the jackal buzzard all in a fairytale-like, Lord of the Rings-style location. There are a number of picturesque lodges and hotels in the area, as well as coffee plantations, an infamous coffee shop, a golf course and enchanting botanical gardens.
Bridal Veil Falls, Chimanimani
Tucked away at the base of high cliffs, where time seems to stop and all that’s to be heard are birds singing and the water trickling over rocks into a crystal clear pool.Bridal Veil Falls is an ideal picnic site within an easy walking distance from the Chimanimani Village.If you feel brave, take a swim in the icy waters where many thankful mountain walkers have dipped their tired feet.
Bridal Veil Falls picnic and camping site is actually located within the Eland Sanctuary which is a small National Park. A relatively easy 5km walk from the village, or a short drive and you arrive at the falls, which plunge 50 meters down a sheer rock face into an accessible, crystal clear pool.The small stream feeding the waterfall runs through the Eland Sanctuary, adjacent and to the north of the town and which includes the Martin Forest Reserve as well. There is a campsite with picnicking and braai facilities for visitors. Local people call the Falls Mutsarara, from the sound of the water falling, and it is reputedly the home of a Nzuzu (water nymph)
Chipinge Chirinda Forests(The Big Tree)
Local communities call this patch of forest Tshirinda or ‘Refuge’, and within its embrace, the world could be forgotten. The undergrowth is densely green, mosses and ferns flourish on the floor of the forest. Bracken grows wherever a clearing breaks the high canopy of the forest and sunlight can shine through. Butterflies and bees are busy among the flowers that unfurl their petals in the closed forest world. Great ropes of lianas make a tangle among the branches of the tall trees.The Big Tree of Chirinda Forest is a red mahogany.
It stands by itself in a little clearing within the forest. When first measured in 1920 by staff at the Mount Selinda Mission it was over 64 meters high. Mrs. Tawse Jollie in an article published in 1927 says it is 66.4 meters high (218 feet) but in 1939, it was measured at 59 meters tall; sadly some of the upper branches died off and it now stands at 54 meters high. The Big Tree blooms in November when the small white flowers open to the sun. The fruit, a large capsule full of winged seeds, does not ripen till the following September, when the capsule breaks and scatters/ its seeds through the forest.
Murahwa Hills Natural Reserve
On the outskirts of the western side of Mutare is the Murahwa’s Hill Nature Reserve where archaeological excavations have been carried out in the past. The Ziwa people (200-800 AD) were the first farmers in the area and items of pottery and items recovered from these excavations are displayed in the Mutare Museum. On the south-western part of the hill, there is an early Iron Age settlement of the Ziwa Period with a stone-walled settlement higher up that may be associated with the Rozvi Dynasty in its upper levels (Late 17th century).The hill is named after a Manyika village-head who was the last local occupant of the site and traditionally it has been protected in the past as a place of spirits.
Forest Hills Resort, Vumba
When you walk out of your exquisite room in the morning, the first thing that hits you is the visual explosion of beauty that is the valley all the way across to river across on the other side of the border, in Mozambique.Built in the 60s and run by its current owners as of the early 2000s Forest Hills Resort in the Vumba sits perfectly in a world that is quaint but not so detached from the rest of life that it feels like some time-warp excursion.Its biggest winning point is the quiet surroundings, the perfect place for bird watching and unrestrained deep introspection.