The Vumba Mountains Zimbabwe
The Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe has a curious history. It formed a bastion between Portuguese and British ambitions during the colonial period, and has a geographic distinction that tends to cast it in shades of Avalon rather than the central heartland of Africa.
It is a beautiful region of green forests, rolling hills and occasional rugged mountain peaks. It has in the past attracted a more genteel class of colonist Â the Bengal Chancers as they were once known Â and there are still clear shades of old-world gentility evident all over the Vumba Mountains of Zimbabwe.
The Vumba is a small part of the long chain of mountains that define the eastern border of Zimbabwe. It is situated on the edges of the Manicaland provincial capital of Mutare, and is a favorite getaway for the Harare business and political elite, and is a mixture of gorgeous scenery, casino hotels, golf courses and tucked away country lodges and hotels with a distinctly non-African flavor.
This is the surface impression however, for in fact the Vumba is a quintessential African highland environment, with large expanses of open moor and grassland punctuated here and there by dense forests and thickly wooded gullies and water courses. The resemblance to the English countryside is superficial, and on closer examination the proliferation of tropical birdlife, the striking color infusions of wildflowers, blue skies and verdant green all speak undeniably of the tropics. This is one of the most scenic quarters of southern Africa, and justly deserves its reputation as the most beautiful and best kept secret in the region.
The Vumba is most famous for its variety of hotels and hospitality establishments. These range form the Leopard Rock Resort Hotel, featuring what is reputed to be Tiger WoodsÂ favorite golf course, and this is easy to understand considering the ever-changing vistas of mountains, plains and valleys, to the deeply traditional White Horse Inn offering haute cuisine and a sense of old world colonial charm.
The Vumba Botanical Gardens is a showcase of Zimbabwean garden horticulture, and is definitely a highlight of any trip to the Vumba.
Potential activities beyond the obligatory scenic drives through arguably one of the loveliest landscapes in the world, include horse-riding, fly-fishing, golf, hiking, birdwatching and relaxation when possible
This is the ÂotherÂ Africa, the antithesis of the open plains and the thundering hooves, and is actually in some ways a more authentic image of modern Africa. In small protected highland regions from the slopes of Mount Kenya, to the Ngorongoro Highlands, the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe and the beautiful Lesotho Highlands, it is here where most of the population is concentrated, and images of hillside cultivation, fringe forests, banana groves, avocados and mangos all blend into a colorful picture of a continent that offers a great deal more than dry bushveld and wild animals.