Chimanimani, Chipinge beckons

Birchenough Bridge


CHIMANIMANI and Chipinge may have suffered an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe when the category three tropical cyclone – Idai barreled through leaving over 400 people dead and destroying millions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure.

The landscape was torn up, with this mountainous region revealing yawning wounds of red soils where landslides occurred and water tables burst into new springs – some temporal and others still flowing two months later.

Nyanyadzi hotsprings

The winds were monstrous and the rains apocalyptic.

Accustomed to rains of between 1,000 and 2,000mm annually the locals couldn’t imagine they could be undone by excessive rain. The region took delivery of over 400 mm in under 24 hours at the back of over 200mm the previous day in a terrain that was already soaked in days of incessant rains.

And the earth gave in! The catastrophic effects are well documented. The psychological scars will not heal as easily as the underway rehabilitation efforts.

Although once completely cut off from the rest of the country, it is now accessible again.

As MaDzimbahwe Explorer we would like to encourage you to come and see the result of this violent storm – albeit with anything you can carry to support those who survived his horror.

Yes, the cyclone took lives but it did not take away its priced scenery – just scared some, and gave a makeover to others!

Birchenough Bridge, designed by Ralph Freeman who also did the Sydney Harbour Bridge, still spans Save River in all its grandeur; Nyanyadzi Hot Springs are still bubbling at boiling point; Matsororo Bridge, on Mvumvumvu River as you begin the climb into the escarpment, is still accessible; and, Skyline – that cliff-hugging meandering road that is way more impressive than Christmas Pass and Boterekwa still offers its magically scenic access to Chimanimani.

Here, endemic plants, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians await your discovery, and near endemic birds still offer their spell-binding songs to all in the village or in its enchanting montane and lowland forests to include in Haroni and Rusitu as well as further down in Chirinda.

Its riverine beauties – the bridal veil shaped water fall, the fall into Tessa’s pool, the bubbling springs up the mountain and the numerous falls and natural pools survived the storm.

And the jagged mountain still stands with its challenge for hiking trails, rock climbing and mountain hiking.

The people, despite going through hell, are still infectiously loving and caring.