Weekend in Chimanimani

Donald and Judith Walker (minister at Mutare Presbyterian church) were invited to a friend’s home in Chimanimani over the weekend, and I was invited to come along also. Our hosts were Simon, regional manager for Border Timbers, and his wife, Sally. It was a marvelous weekend. We arrived Friday evening. Saturday morning we all went to Doug and Tempe’s home (friends in the village) and loaded up our backpacks for a hike into the Chimanimani mountainous national park. We hiked up, down, and over mountain ridges, meadows and streams. We also stopped by some picturesque mountain falls and swam in the pools at the base of the falls. The water was cool and refreshing!

By 5 PM, we arrived at our destination – a big cave near the top of the mountain range – and proceeded to offload our packs for the night. After getting sleeping bags and foam “mattresses” laid out, Doug got the campfire going while Tempe and Sally began preparations for our supper. Later, we sat around the open ledge at the front of the cave and watched the stars light up the night sky as they do so beautifully in Africa. We were even treated to the pyrotechnics of meteorites falling through the night sky before a gorgeous moonrise began to lighten the sky and the mountain peaks around us. What an evening!

We woke up to a foggy outlook as the mountains were socked in by low-lying clouds. No problem! Doug started the morning campfire and cooked up a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs on rolls (with bacon for the others,) along with hot tea or coffee. The clouds lifted by 9 AM and the morning vista was gorgeous. We hiked back toward the ranger station on different trails, and saw some other waterfalls and pools. By noon, the sun was hot, and we thoroughly enjoyed a refreshing swim in a large deep pool at the base of one of the falls.

That evening we enjoyed another good supper at Simon and Sally’s home, and I slept like a rock that night. Monday morning we had an early breakfast, and were on the road back to Mutare by 6:30. It was a weekend that I’ll remember for a long time!