General Information About The Eastern Highlands
Stretching for 300km down the eastern side of Zimbabwe, bordering Mozambique, are the Eastern Highlands – the combined name for three ranges of hills and mountains – the rolling countryside and tea plantations of the Nyanga range; the granite peaks of the Chimanimani Mountains; and the green meadows and the coffee plantations of the Bvumba range.
These areas are sparsely populated, making it a peaceful place to visit. It enjoys a cool, wet climate providing relief from the higher temperatures of the lower lands. Hidden within the rolling landscape are great little places to stay, beautiful scenic drives, fantastic walking trails and magnificent sights. Distances here are small, but differences in landscapes are great.
To the north of the Eastern Highlands, the hills are covered in rolling heath-land. This reminded the first European settlers of Scotland, so they created lakes, planted forests of fir trees, and introduced trout to the streams. Now known as the Nyanga National Park, much of this area was the private estate of Cecil Rhodes. The Nyanga range is home to Mount Nyangani, the highest mountain in Zimbabwe (2595m). It is a good area for walking, with plenty of mountain trails, varying from gentle strolls to challenging hiking routes. Some lead to deep gorges and tumbling waterfalls (including Mtarazi Falls, which at 725m is one of Africa's highest), others lead up mountains or to spectacular vistas. There are even serene lakes where you can relax with a picnic or hire a boat.
South of Nyanga National Park, the botanical gardens at La Rochelle are en route to Mutare, the region's centre, just off the spectacular Christmas Pass. South of the town are the luxuriant cloud-forests of the Bvumba Mountains, which have views into Mozambique. Here the Bvumba Botanical Gardens are a very special attraction, commanding ethereal views over rolling mists (Bvumba means mist in the Manyika language), and the start for gentle walks into the surrounding valleys. This Bvumba area is also known for its boutique soft cheeses and fine coffee, so the delicious food found here is no surprise.
Continuing south, the scenically diverse Chimanimani Mountains are a destination for dedicated hikers. The granite spikes can be climbed and the fresh streams and pools are ideal for cooling off after a hard day's hiking exploring the rivers and valleys. The area is also home to many species of flower, making it popular with botanists.
Amber Hotel Mutare Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe
Inn on Rupurara Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe
Rhodes Nyanga Hotel Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe
Built as a holiday cottage in the 1800's by Cecil John Rhodes and converted into a hotel in 1933, the Rhodes Nyanga Hotel is a 24 roomed resort that offers a truly African experience. Set in manicured gardens with breathtaking views from a veranda overlooking the lake, the hotel is furnished in true colonial fashion and boasts rondevals which are westernised versions of the traditional African hut - a style popularised during the turn of the century.
Pine Tree Inn Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe
Inn on the Vumba Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe
Aberfoyle Lodge Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe
After driving through the beautiful Honde Valley and the Eastern Highlands Tea plantations you arrive at what has to be one of the best kept secrets in the world. Aberfoyle Lodge is situated in a very special part of Zimbabwe. With rolling tea plantations, riparian forests and the Nyamkombe river surrounding the lodge, you feel as though you are in an oasis of true serenity.
Leopard Rock Hotel Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe
The Leopard Rock Hotel and Estate is situated 30 kilometers south-east of the city of Mutare, the capital city of Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province, and can be reached by tar road out of Mutare through a spectacular route up into the Bvumba Mountains. Leopard Rock is more than a hotel; it is a welcoming and diverse holiday resort for travellers of all ages and backgrounds, as well as a superb conference and celebration venue, a golfers’ dream course and a nature lovers’ haven.