By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
HONDE VALLEY,situated in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe close to Mozambique is a plush valley that any travel enthusiast would like to visit.
Though well known for banana farming, Honde Valley in Manicaland province has also the potential to be the most visited place if the attractions it possesses are anything to go by. There is Mtarazi Falls which is a 762m tiered horsetail waterfall and is Zimbabwe’s highest waterfall, eclipsing even the mighty Victoria Falls and second highest in Africa. The fall which now boasts of adrenalin rush activities in the form of the skywalk consists of two bridges – the one 30m that take you over the lip of the Falls and the other 90m that is above the entire Falls.
Then there is the zip line where one can fly across the bridge at an estimated height of 500m and flying for 400m at 50-70km.
This writer caught up with Christopher Cragg who is general manager of Aberfoyle Lodge which offers exquisite accommodation in the Honde Valley area.
According to Cragg, the lodge has a lot to offer like nature walks and mountain hikes which a local villager is able to guide as he narrates the rich history of the region to visitors.
“Aberfoyle Lodge and the surrounding area are steeped in history and folklore and Morgan, who was born here and has lived his whole life in the area will fascinate you with tales and history of the region.
“ He will lead you up to scale various mountains such as Domwe, Dzunzwa, Makhore and Tsongorera, pointing out various medicinal plants and other things of interest,”says Cragg.
Another attraction is the Mermaids Pool and Waterfall where tourists can enjoy a swim in the cool natural pool.
Fishing enthusiasts can be in for treat at Nyawamba Dam as they dabble in a little fishing.
A local community developer Victoria Samushonga believes Honde Valley is a haven that has immense potential to be one of the tourism hubs of the country.
“I have been living in Diaspora for many years but when I came back to Zimbabwe I just thought of coming back to my rural home which has the splendour and the serene to be the most visited tourist destination in this country,” said Samushonga who also leads a Pentecostal church Brethren’s Keeper International Fellowship.
To her credit she has managed to host the first ever Honde Valley Gospel Festival which was graced by renowned artiste Mkhululi Bhebhe of Joyous Celebration who toured the area and was awed by the captivating scenery.
Also standing proudly are the beautiful Mahwemasimike mountain ranges which the locals believes are mystical .
Apart from generating income from small-scale banana farming the Honde Valley folk can realise a lot from the tourism activities in their area once a boon is precipitated.