The Eastern Highlands
The Eastern Highlands hug the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique and are the collective name for three mountain ranges which includes Zimbabwe’s highest peak – Inyangani. This region stands in great contrast to the rest of the country with a cool, wet climate and rich grassland, valleys and streams and is perfect for a spot of outdoor pursuits including trout fishing and mountain biking.
The Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe really don’t reflect a stereotypical image of Africa. Rather with the mountainous scenery, fertile valleys, mountain streams and pine forests it has been said to bear a closer resemblance to Scotland – there’s even trout fishing on offer! Activities in this region are not focused on traditional safaris but instead a broad range of outdoor pursuits including fishing, hiking, mountain biking and golf.
The northern reaches of the Eastern Highlands are perfect for keen walkers. Here there is the opportunity to scale Inyanganai in Nyanga National Park, which at 2,790m is Zimbabwe’s highest mountain. The park which was once part of Cecil Rhodes’ private estate doesn’t offer remarkable game viewing although you are likely to see zebra roaming, but is famed for its picture-perfect scenery with valleys and streams aplenty as well as some stunning waterfalls including Mutarazi Falls. The park also lends itself to birding with wonderful sunbird sightings.
The central area of the Eastern Highlands is home to the Bvumba Mountain which translated from Shona means ‘mountains of the mist’. The mountains are home to tea plantations with the climate providing ideal conditions. The scenery resembles the British countryside with orchards and plantations which in the early morning are shrouded in mist. A highlight of visiting this area are the Vumba Botanical Gardens which are considered to have one of the finest views in the country.
The southern-most corner of the Eastern Highlands is dedicated to Chimanimani National Park which is a highlight for hikers. Offering a wilderness experience, the craggy granite uplands are only accessible on foot, but walkers are rewarded by the chance to cool off in mountain streams and small pools.
Distances within the Eastern Highlands are relatively small and given the wonderful scenery, this is an area which is perfectly explored as part of a self-drive trip around Zimbabwe. With so many activities on offer, this is the ideal spot to spend a few days before progressing to a traditional safari in Hwange or Mana Pools.