General Information About Chimanimani Mountains
Chimanimani is the gateway to the wildest, most rugged National Park in Zimbabwe. Known for its peace and tranquility, it’s also the ideal location for the truly adventurous. Explore spectacular hiking trails, crystal waterfalls, an untouched eco-system, breathtaking landscapes and the deepest quartzite caves in Africa.
Chimanimani was founded by the brothers Thomas Moodie and Dunbar Moodie in 1892. In 1895 it was moved to its current site and was officially called Melsetter after Moodie’s family home in Orkney in Scotland. Following Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, the name of the town was changed to Mandidzudzure, in 1982. However, after consultation with the indigenous population, the name was changed to Chimanimani. An African music and arts festival, known as the Chimanimani Arts Festival is organised each year. The dates for the next Festival can be sourced through the Chimanimani Tourist Association.
Chimanimani is divided into 23 wards. Chimanimani west has 11 wards and its east counterpart has 12 wards. MAJOR places in chimanimani are Nyanyadzi, Gudyanga, Shinja, Mhakwe, Bechnough Bridge, Nhedziwa, Mutambara, Chikukwa, Chikwakwa, sky line, Outward bound, Copper, Ndima, Mutswangwa, Vhimba wilderness, Hode. Prominent people come from chimanimani include, Samuel Undenge, Munacho Mutezo, Arthur Mutambara, and Dr. Tafataona Mahoso.
Most of the inhabitants of Chimanimani are of Ndau origin. Ndau language is mostly spoken by the people at Chimanimani village, Rusitu valley. People dwelling on Biriri, Mhakwe, Shinja, Chayamiti, Nyanyadzi use a mixed language but closely related to Manyika dialects. The people dwelling under Chief Mutambara land commonly call themselves Vagarwe. They use indirect words to communicate commonly known as Chibende by the locals. Chimanimani district and Chipinge is commonly known as the Gazaland. The Ndau people living in these two provinces describe themselves as VaGaza. The current population of the area is not known but the population is above 35,000.
Excellent hikes lie within the Chimanimani National Park. It costs approximately $8/day for non-Zimbabweans (2013), and you will have the park nearly to yourself, as most people exclude this area from their tourist route. It is recommended that you hire a local guide, as the paths can get a little confusing. They know all the ins and outs. One of the best guides in all of Africa is a local man named Morgan. If you ask the locals about him, they will be able to put you in touch. He will give you a very affordable rate, below $10/day. He is extremely knowledgeable on the trails, has excellent stories from the area, and speaks perfect English.