Eastern Highland Parks of Zimbabwe
Nyanga National Park
lies at the northern end of Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands.
One of the first national parks to be declared in the country, it is administered jointly with the Mtarazi Falls National Park on its southern boundary.
Most of its terrain consists of rolling downland, sometimes lightly wooded, lying at altitudes between 1800 and 2593m areas where rolling green hills and perennial rivers transverse the 47 000 hectare park.
Stunning mountain views, waterfalls, varied activities and unique flora and fauna, ensure that Nyanga National Park will provide the visitor with an unforgettable holiday experience.
Mutarazi National Park where Africa’s second highest waterfall, Mutarazi Falls, can he seen.
Just twenty kilometres to the south of Mutare is a mountainous region called Bvumba
Apart from fantastic views into Mozambique there is a range of vegetation which varies from green lush pasture lands to deep montane forests
* Bunga forest in the Bunga Botanical Reserve
* Bumba Botanical gardens is known for it’s wooden bridges, streams, lakes, aloes and it’s spectacular views
Chimanimani National Park, one hundred and fifty kilometres south of Mutare, is a range of rugged mountain peaks reaching heights of 2400 metres, supporting mountain streams, sweeping valleys, stunning waterfalls and unspoiled vistas.
While some antelope species, like eland, klipspringer and sable are present, they are not common and the visitors’ experiences will be orientated towards hiking and the beautiful scenery.
Rare flowers and semi tropical plants add to the parks’ beauty.
Only hiking trails and footpaths traverse the park, with no access for vehicles.
One day to several day hikes can be organised with a guide, but please note all food and equipment is carried in by the hikers.
The circular drive (called the Burma Valley Road) through the Bvumba Mountains offers spectacular views and takes you through cloud, forest, protea and coffee farms and plantations growing bananas, mangoes, macadamia nuts and burley tobacco. The hills around Bvumba are alive with colourful trees and plants.
And then there is the Bvumba Botanical Gardens with its display of orchids, tree ferns, aloes, fuchias, hydrangeas, lily ponds, azaleas and other exotic plants. The gardens are landscaped harmoniously into the mountainside and the plants thrive on an annual rainfall higher than that of London
Paths meander through the shrubs and trees which are gathered from all over the world. The gardens are set around a central ornamental lake with waterlilies.
Adjoining the gardens, lies the Bvumba Rainforest Reserve which you can explore on marked paths and trails. Despite its modest appearance, the teahouse in the gardens has an excellent reputation and is highly recommended as a resting place after touring the grounds. The pecan pie and lemon cake both received top marks !
Gonarezhou game reserve in the Eastern lowlands
Gonarezhou is Zimbabwe’s second largest game reserve (after Hwange National Park),and forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Gonarezhou with the Kruger National Park in South Africa and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. Animals can move freely between the three sanctuaries.
The Gonarezhou National Park was formed in 1975, by uniting former hunting areas and tsetse fly control corridors. The park was closed to the public during the Rhodesian War but was re-opened in 1994.
Habitats change dramatically from forested floodplains to natural pans, riverine thicket to mopane scrub, sandveld forest to sandstone hills.
Herethe Mwenezi, Save and Runde rivers wind through the hot, semi-arid lowveld and support the rare suni antelope and striped king cheetah as well as some of the biggest and meanest elephants in the country.
Gonarezhou loosely translated means the sacred totem of the elephants.