Keeping your cool

By Jane Hill

My friends from Switzerland, Scotland and Bel-gium laugh at me struggling to inch my way into the “freezing” waters of Bridal Veil Falls, Mangowe, Corner or Tessa’s Pool. For “Northern” folk these waters are mildly chilly…never do they freeze over or languish beneath a drift of snow. But they are cold enough to stave off those dreaded foeslurkingbe-neath Zimbabwean waters…. bilharzia and crocodiles.

We always need to improve our circulation (around Zimbabwe as well as personally, biologically) so why not take the Chimanimani Waterfall Crawl….this is how

it goes, in any order you choose; Your only limits will be your vehicle and your sense of adventure. For a change your pocket will not be the deciding factor.

Mangowe Pool….drive to Outward Bound and after

a courtesy call to the Centre cross the river below Tes-sa’s Pool going due north along the path. This route is just outside the Chimanimani Mountains National Park Boundary so you will not be required to pay fees. The path takes you up and up through Uapacakirkiana woodland, Mahobohobo, among quartzite boulders along a clear running stream which falls off of PEZA. This is the mountain called Ben Nevis by those Scottish pioneers who created the village of Melsetter now re-named Chimanimani. You will want to stop every now and again to admire views and even take a dip in clear sun dappled pools in the wood. But keep on walking because before two hoursare up will hear rushing wa-ter and finally find the mysteriously deep pool above white waters cascade. You have reached Mangowe Falls. Introduce your wine bottle to the crisp waters….

From Mangowe to Tessas Pool – downhill all the way and into the Waterfall some say is the most picturesque of all. And here, with a mask and snorkel you can find some of the rarest tiny fishes and frogs in Southern Af-rica. Please don’t touch…just look and enjoy some of the natural wonders of Chimanimani.

So have you ever tried a waterfall crawl? Before you leave for the Eastern Highlands,make an unhurried trip to your favorite delicatessen. Pick out some spe-cial treats – good cheese, the right crackers, nibbles you and your family/friends adore. Make sure you have some light containers and a day pack per person. All serious waterfall crawlers need a back pack. A Chit-enge is better than a towel…lighter and handy in the unlikely event that your naked basking is interrupted. Given our perfect weather, your favorite wine (placed gently in the water the second you arrive at the water-fall) and cheerful company, I can safely anticipate that you will remember this day.

If you are lucky enough to drive a very strong 4×4 perhaps start your waterfall crawl at Corner. Take the Cashel road north out of Chimanimani village and Mar-tin Forest. Take a right off the Cashel road through Chikukwa and note the Perma culture center one our left as the road becomes a sea of quartzite boulders

– you are now in the Park. You crunch slowly, slowly over the rocks and this gives you the time to take a really close look at an alien world of stunted moun-tain acacia, marvelous aloes, epiphytes and lichens of every hue. Suddenly you are at the Corner camp site.

An easy walk to the first magnificent waterfall. Whether you choose to walk up stream or down, here is an en-tire week of waterfalls…..get the wine out!

No 4×4?  Don’t worry, a waterfall craw is still within your reach.  And it is an incredibly special one –  you walk to Bridal Veil Falls with your delectable picnic and friends who need not be super fit. Those who are (fit) can then walk upwards to the source and swim in a hidden pool half way up this iconic waterfall. Not feeling super energetic? Then wander downstream for as many km’s as you like staying in and on the river, dipping into still pools or sitting in bubbling rapids sipping that chilled bottle of Chardonnay…

5 hours drive from Harare

WHEN TO GO                                                                                       

All year round                                                                                        


For Zimbabwean                                                                                     Bridal

Veil Falls is $3.00 per

person and $3.00 per car.

For SADC it is $8.00 per person and

Overseas visitors $10.00 per person

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