On a recent trip to Nyanga in the Eastern Highlands of the country, we were struck by how different this area was to the usual “bush” area that we refer to when we talk about the African bush. It’s a very walking and mountain bike friendly area with no big game, except the odd cow wandering about, to pose any danger. Lions and Leopards have been sited here but they are not usual. So the area presents a stunning area for the energetic among you, with not much flat land about, and rolling hills being the norm! The climate is cooler than Harare and Vic Falls most of the year round and reminds us Zimbos of the UK or Scotland landscape. It has huge pine forests standing tall on the side of hills, with huge granite boulders perched in between, valleys holding lakes and rivers, with trout fishing being a popular pastime.
This area offers majestic views, especially if you are feeling energetic enough to climb Mt Inyangani , the highest mountain in Zimbabwe standing at 2,592 m (8,504 ft), located in the Nyanga National Park. The mist frequently envelops this mountain, so climbing it should be done with someone experienced enough not to get lost. As with many impressive things in Africa, it is swamped in superstition, and is said to be home to one of the Supreme Spirits that created life and influences human destiny. Locals advise you not to offend him by pointing at the mountain or stamping your feet in anger or making loud noises when you are climbing. If the thought of climbing to that height doesn’t appeal to you, then the next best place to get majestic views is Worlds View on the Nyanga Downs Plateau. This is only a half hours climb up but has a 600m (2000ft) drop to the plain below, allowing a view to the west, and on a clear day you can see places up to 70km away. A tower at the viewpoint bears a toposcope on which the direction and distance to thirty African localities are inscribed on slabs of black granite. The nicest thing is to take a picnic lunch and after your climb to the top and down again, settle on one of the picnic benches with a view either West down onto the plain below or East over the Connemara Lakes.
Nyanga also has rich cultural history, with numerous ruins on the tops of hills, lowland enclosures and some fascinating pit structures with a disputable background. There is also the Rhodes Museum which documents the colonial history of the area.
April is a beautiful time of year, as there isn’t too much rain but just enough to encourage the wild flowers, mushrooms and birds to show themselves before the cold winter arrives in May. The many tracks and trails are very accessible and are ideal for mountain biking or horse riding. Or a challenging golf course at one of the Hotels, provides hours of entertainment. Be sure to plan a trip here the next time you are in Zimbabwe, to see another area of our beautiful country.