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Chimanimani National Park/Zimbabwe

Introducing Chimanimani National Park

With its pristine wilderness, Chimanimani National Park is a hiker's paradise. The northern end of the park, Corner, is still very wild and unspoiled, but the road there is not good. The park shares a border with Mozambique.

For hiking in Chimanimani National Park, 19km from Chimanimani village, you must sign in and pay park fees at Mutekeswane Base Camp. The road ends here and the park is then only accessible on foot. Mountain biking is also popular.

From base camp, Bailey’s Folly is the shortest and most popular route to the mountain hut (around three hours). Another option is the gentler Banana Grove Track. From the mountain hut, it’s an easy 40-minute walk to Skeleton Pass, a former guerrilla route between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Go in the late afternoon for an unsurpassed view into Wizard Valley in Mozambique.

The highest point in the Chimanimani Range is the 2437m-high Mt Binga on the Mozambican border, a stiff three-hour climb from the hut. Carry plenty of water.

Hadange River Track is a good but challenging exit route that emerges near the Outward Bound School and Tessa’s Pool, a lovely swimming hole. If you exit this way, you’ll need to walk back along the road to sign out at base camp. The Bundi Valley is riddled with caves and rock overhangs, ideal (free) campsites. The most accessible caves lie near the valley’s northern end. North Cave, a 30-minute walk north of the mountain hut, overlooks a waterfall and opens onto views of the highest peaks. Above the waterfall is a pool, perfect for a teeth-chattering dip if you need some refreshment. Red Wall Cave lies 10 minutes further on.

Camping is free in the park, but it's advised to camp at either Mutekeswane Base Camp or stay in the mountain hut, which at an elevation of 1630m is a long and steep half-day walk from the base camp. Bit grubby but has running water and cooking facilities.