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Travel Guide To Eastern Highlands

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  • Zimbabwe
  • Eastern Highlands
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  • English and Shona

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.

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Inn on the Vumba
Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe

Perfectly situated near many of Bulawayo’s historical and cultural landmarks is the Cresta Churchill hotel – a mere 6.7km from the Railway Museum, 7km from the Natural History Museum, and a comfortable travelling distance from the Khami Ruins (within 32km) and the Matobo National Park (about 52km away).

avg/night$120.00

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.

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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.

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Musangano Lodge
Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe

Perfectly situated near many of Bulawayo’s historical and cultural landmarks is the Cresta Churchill hotel – a mere 6.7km from the Railway Museum, 7km from the Natural History Museum, and a comfortable travelling distance from the Khami Ruins (within 32km) and the Matobo National Park (about 52km away).

avg/night$0.00

Inn On Vumba
Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe

Perfectly situated near many of Bulawayo’s historical and cultural landmarks is the Cresta Churchill hotel – a mere 6.7km from the Railway Museum, 7km from the Natural History Museum, and a comfortable travelling distance from the Khami Ruins (within 32km) and the Matobo National Park (about 52km away).

avg/night$0.00

Amber Hotel Mutare
Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe

Perfectly situated near many of Bulawayo’s historical and cultural landmarks is the Cresta Churchill hotel – a mere 6.7km from the Railway Museum, 7km from the Natural History Museum, and a comfortable travelling distance from the Khami Ruins (within 32km) and the Matobo National Park (about 52km away).

avg/night$0.00

Inn on Rupurara
Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe

Perfectly situated near many of Bulawayo’s historical and cultural landmarks is the Cresta Churchill hotel – a mere 6.7km from the Railway Museum, 7km from the Natural History Museum, and a comfortable travelling distance from the Khami Ruins (within 32km) and the Matobo National Park (about 52km away).

avg/night$100.00

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.

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Pine Tree Inn
Eastern Highlands Zimbabwe

Perfectly situated near many of Bulawayo’s historical and cultural landmarks is the Cresta Churchill hotel – a mere 6.7km from the Railway Museum, 7km from the Natural History Museum, and a comfortable travelling distance from the Khami Ruins (within 32km) and the Matobo National Park (about 52km away).

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chimanimani-zimbabwe
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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.


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Mana Pools National Park


A UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, Mana Pools National Park is synonymous with the Zambezi River, elephants, lions, remoteness and wilderness. This unique park is a WORLD HERITAGE SITE, based on its wildness and beauty, together with the wide range of large mammals, over 350 bird species and aquatic wildlife. Mana Pools is one of Zimbabwe's most popular parks, and it is easy to see why it falls into this profile.


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Bridal Veil Falls


Bridal Veil Falls forms is an ideal picnic site within easy walking distance from the Chimanimani Village. The area is protected by National Parks of Zimbabwe and shows a small, nicely preserved area of evergreen vegetation, amidst a larger area of high-rainfall Brachystegia woodland.


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The Big Tree – Chirinda Forest


The big tree is one of the largest Red mahogany tree in southern Africa and the tallest native tree in Zimbabwe. It has a remarkable height of about 65m and and has a trunk diameter of about 4,5m at the base. Situated at the southern part of the 950 ha Chirinda Forest Botanical Reserve at a place called the Valley of Giants, The big tree is estimated to be more than 1,000 years old (some estimate 2,000 years).


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Chirinda Forest Botanical Reserve


The 950 ha Chirinda Forest Botanical Reserve is situated on the slopes of Mount Selinda ,32 km South out of Chipinge, that’s about 120 km out of Chiredzi and is administered by the Forestry Commission. The reserve is situated at between 900 and 1,200 metres in altitude, and receives some 1,370 mm to 1,466 mm worth of annual rainfall.


$28.00

The Turaco Trail


Turaco Trail is Zimbabwe’s most beautiful and challenging hiking trail. It takes hikers on a journey through a vast mountain wilderness of wild rivers and waterfalls, forests, montane grasslands, valleys, gorges and mountain peaks.


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Aberfoyle, Eastern Highlands


The seminal experience of Aberfoyle is to stand in the forest and look out across the Manica plateau, as the plain to the east of the escarptment is called. To hear the sounds of the forest canopy, of falling water, the far off samango, and to watch the brooding multicoloured valley in the changing light; or better still to watch dawn creep over the horizon when the summer has covered Mozambique with a silver cloud, and the mountains of Tawangwena, Gorongoza and Mpanda are black islands in a vapour sea, to watch the sea turn from silver to gold as the sun leaks into the sky; these are things not quickly forgotten.


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Tanganda Tea Estates


The Tanganda Tea Company has its origins in farming in the Chipinge district of Zimbabwe as far back as 1910,


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Mtarazi Falls


Until 2002, the Mutarazi Falls was thought to be the fifth highest waterfall in the world. In 2002 the Gocta Cataracts waterfall was discovered pushing the Mutarazi Falls to 6th position for the highest waterfall in the world. The longer of the two tiers drops for over 479 m and even though the waterfall may be the second highest in Africa, it is also one of the narrowest measuring only 15 m in width.


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Pungwe Falls


The Pungwe Falls is a tiered waterfall; many beautiful tiers and plunges make up the entire waterfall system… It winds its way through the mountain and shows off its strong water current between rocks and elevated ground. The waterfall is surrounded by rocks, open plains, trees, bushes and undeveloped land. Pungwe is located in the Nyanga area overlooking the Honde Valley.


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Nyangombe Falls


A beautiful series of cascading waterfalls located on the western edge of the National Parks, a 15 minute walk from the car park where myth and mystery has it that washing your face with the water retards the development of wrinkles.


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Nyanga National Park


Nyanga National Park is situated in one of the most scenic areas of Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands. Rolling green hills and perennial rivers transverse the 47 000 hectare Park. Altitudes between 1 800 and 2 593 meters provide cool weather and fresh mountain air, perfect for rest and relaxation. With its stunning mountainous views, numerous waterfalls, varied activities and unique flora and fauna, Nyanga National Park can provide the visitor with an unforgettable holiday experience. The park is located about 268 km from Harare along a well tarred highway.


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