Leopard Rock Hotel

P.O. Box 1322, Mutare, Zimbabwe
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More about Leopard Rock Hotel

Bvumba Mountains

by Bigs

"Prince Charles View"

Prince Charles View is at the beginning of the Bvumba Mountains. Coming from Mutare you can stop here to have a look over the (often) misty valley! The Bvumba Mountains have their own little miniclimate. It´s a mountainous and forested place.

"Inn on the Vumba"

We stayed at the "Inn on the Vumba", the partner hotel of the Pine Tree Inn in Nyanga! It was a good choice with nice rooms and great food...
Well the food always was good in Zimbabwe!! Everywhere! Monkeys are living in the backyard here!

"Map Of Bvumba"

By the way the in Bvumba is a silent one.....you don´t pronounce it!

"Castle Beacon"

One of the peaks is the Castle Beacon. It´s 1911 meters high! But it´s only a ten minutes climb from the street and you should make it! But don´t hurry, it´s a long 10 minutes walk! Up there the look outs are terrific! Have a look!

"Leopard Rock Hotel ****"

Leopard Rock is a very old fashioned, luxurious hotel as it seems! A very comfortable one! It makes you think, that you are arriving in another time zone! Well it´s really elegant! We were having a drink on the long umbrella-shaded patio, with this look over the golf course!

"African Playground"

There was this funny "Schaukelleopard", (I don´t know the English name for it, is it swinging horse or so...???) at the nursery!

"Bvumba Botanical Gardens"

If you are at Bvumba in springtime this must be a great place! When we were there in july nothing was blossom. It still was a nice park!
The serve lovely cakes at the cafe there!

"The lake"

Beautiful Africa

by cam.vdb

"Day 01"

(Sunday 27 September) ZAVENTEM- PARIS -HARARE
On Sunday 27 September 98 we take an Air France flight from Zaventem (21.45 Hr) to Paris (22.35 Hr), where we will take another Air France flight (23.00 Hr) with destination HARARE. We will make a stopover at Johannesburg (South Africa).

"Day 010"

(Tuesday 06 October) FATIMA -SINAMATELLA 216 Km
Just after GWAYI RIVER we visit DETE, a small village along the railway (not worth it, just good to post our cards).
Today we enter HWANGE Natl Park via Main Camp and we spend two nights in a small lodge in SINAMATELLA (broiling). The view over the valley is breathtaking; this is heaven on earth !

"Day 011"

(Wednesday 07 October) HWANGE N.P. 80 Km
In the surroundings of SINAMATELLA we drive along different pans (drinking places for animals, such as buffalos, hippos, lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, etc...) and we show hours and hours of patience just to be able to shoot the nicest pictures. Once more we are conviced that nature has its own rules and that one cannot command any animal. We enjoy magnificent sunsets at the Mandavu dam.

"Day 012"

(Thursday 08 October) SINAMATELLA -ROBINS CAMP 82 Km
Via gravel roads we drive further into this 14650 Km2 park, up to Robins Camp, where we spend the night in a small lodge.
The visit to this park leaves an unforgetable impression due to the presence of a large amount of wildlife. (Flat tire n̊ 1)

"Day 13"

(Friday 09 October) ROBINS CAMP -VIC FALLS 120 Km
When we leave HWANGE PARK and take the main road left behind MATETSI, we are only 50km away from one of the biggest attractions of Zimbabwe, the VICTORIA FALLS.
We first pay a visit to the town, the impressive Vic Falls hotel, the station and the bridge over the Zambezi.
A hike along the falls, via Danger Point, Boiling Pot and Devil's Cataract leads us to the statue of "Mr. Livingstone, I presume" !
In the evening we permit ourselves a dinner at the Jungle Junction restaurant of the Vic Falls hotel (chic and not expensive), but to overnight we choose for the cheaper Invathi Valley motel, just out of town.

"Day 14"

(Saturday 10 October) VIC FALLS -BINGA 314 Km
We start on a two days lasting hazardous adventure. We leave the “land of the livings” and we lay in a supply of food and beverage.
We spend the night on a campground at the river-banks of Lake Kariba, in BINGA.
Before leaving tomorrow we will have to check at the local ZRP if the road through the CHIZARIRA Forest Area is practicable.

"Day 15"

(Sunday 11 October) BINGA -KARIBA 531 Km
Today we cover the longest daytrip .... through real gravel-roads. On our way we pass a few Tonga villages (SIABUWA) where the denizens are very shy and reluctant (what we fully respect), but with our obstinacy and generosity we manage to loosen some tongues and their fear for white people slowly weakens a bit.
We lick a lot of dust, but we can praise ourselves lucky that we can complete the entire trip without mechanical problems. After more than 300 km of bad gravel-roads comes the paved road, as well as our second flat tire. We have to admit that we felt greatly relieved when we saw the main road A1 coming into sight, with a garage in the neighbourhood (Flat tire n̊ 2 ).
We are back in the land of the livings, and we follow the A1 up to MAKUTI. Afterwards we turn left to KARIBA.
We book a room in the Cutty Sark hotel (non-renovated room with airco !!) along the Lake Kariba.

"Day 16"

(Monday 12 October) KARIBA
The dam and the Kariba Heights are the biggest points of interest. The local church of Santa Barbara is the burial-place of several Italians who died during the construction of the dam. We make a stroll on the dam where we first of all present ourselves at the “Immigration Post" for the cross-over to ZAMBIA.

"Day 17"

(Tuesday 13 October) KARIBA
We take a "day off". In the morning we pay a visit to a fishing company specialized in Kapenta fishing and in the afternoon we take a rest at the swimming pool of our hotel. When the evening falls we make a trip on the Lake Kariba and the sunset is beautiful. (Flat tire n̊ 3).

"Day 18"

(Wednesday 14 October) KARIBA -MANA POOLS 170 Km
We leave Lake Kariba and drive back to the A1.
In MAKUTI we take the direction of MARONGORA (don’t forget to register yourself before entering the park !), where we turn right and follow a gravel-road (very bad one !) up to MANA POOLS Natl Park (open from May till October). On our way we have to keep the windows of the car closed because of the tsetse-fly !!
Because of the unbearable heat and the noise made by a bus full of African schoolchildren, we decide to spend just one night on the riverbanks of the Zambezi, at Nyamepi camp.
There is a lo of game here, especially at the "Long Pools" (buffalos, hippos, elephants, impalas, kudus, apes …) .
At dinner time we get the company of stealing baboons who seem to like "sachet soup", and our night’s rest gets disturbed early by buffalos and hippo's who seems to experience our tent as a pleasant attraction.

"Day 19"

(Thursday 15 October) MANA POOLS -CHINHOYI 272 Km
We take the same way back to MARONGORA, then we take southwards to KAROI and CHINHOYI.
The only attraction in CHINHOYI, which is worth it, are the “Caves with the sleeping pool” (90 m deep cave).
We spend the night in CHINHOYI where we get the visit of thieves, but with an unbelievable luck we find everything back in the bushes : it seems that they didn’t find what they were really looking for, and hence they leave everything behind. “You don’t have to be nice, to be lucky”.

"Day 02"

(Monday 28 Septemher) HARARE
At arrival in HARARE (12.20 Hr) Marie-Jeanne will pick us up and we will make our first sight-seeing through the capital. In the late afternoon she takes us to our residence “Harcombe Hall” in Greendale, situated in the northern suburbs just out of the center, where we will stay for one night.
In HARARE we visit :
-Meikles (hotelbar)
-African Unity Square (flower market)
-Old city center with the "Edwardian Buildings'.

"Day 20"

(Friday 16 October) CHINHOYI- LAKE CHIVERO 420 Km
From CHINHOYI we follow the way to BANKET. We take gravel-roads to MVURWI, via the Mutorashanga Pass, where we pass along some tobacco plantations. North of MVURWI we visit "TENGENENGE" (thousands of sculptures ).
We take the same road back for a few miles and since the end is coming soon, we decide to stop at the first "hospital” in order to handover our unused medication.
Good roads are coming close and full of enthusiasm we talk about our enjoyable holiday and how much luck we’ve had, until, believe it or not, we have to make an emergency stop in GLENDALE and ask for the help of a group of inventive mechanics to fix some broken parts of the car.

"Day 21"

(Saturday 17 October) LAKE CHIVERO -HARARE 60 Km
We visit Lake Chivero Natl Park where our last hope to see Rhino's is miraculously fulfilled.

"Day 22 - 23 & 24"

(Sunday 18 October) HARARE 20 Km
After a trip of 5072 Km we bring back our car and we take a taxi to pay a last visit to the capital.
- Kopje (view over the city)
- Eastgate (shop-galery)
- Dendera Art gallery
- Mbare Musika Market

Day 23
(Monday 19 October) HARARE- PARIS -ZAVENTEM
Our last day in Africa. We do some shopping in HARARE.
In the afternoon we take a taxi to the airport and we’ll fly back to Europe at 1620 Hr, with a stopover in Johannesburg. Afterwards Air France flies us to PARIS.

Day 24
(Tuesday 20 October) ARRIVAL AT PARIS & ZAVENTEM
At 0620 Hr we land at Ch. De Gaulle, where we take a last flight to ZAVENTEM (1055 Hr).

"Day 03"

(Tuesday 29 September) HARARE- NYANGA 309 Km
In the morning we pick up our rented car, a Mazda DX 4-wheel drive and we leave HARARE. We drive eastwards to the NYANGA Natl Park, a journey that progresses smoothly. We follow the main roads A3 and A14, direction HEADLANDS where we stop for a few moments at "Halfway House".
In NYANGA we visit the former home of Cecil Rhodes, that has now been converted into a hotel.
We cross the NYANGA park eastwards and then southwards. Here we meet the first gravel roads, and we drive along the Mount Nyangani (2592 m).
South of the park we pass the Pungwe-valley with tea plantations, Honde Viewpoint and the 762 metres high Mtarali Falls (because of the mist in the valley we only heard them, but never saw them).
We spend the night in the NYANGA park itself, on a "campground".

"Day 04"

(Wednesday 30 September) NYANGA- BVUMBA 165 Km
When leaving the park we follow the A15 direction MUTARE, where we visit Sakuvba Market and the Mutare heights (view over the city).
Afterwards we drive to BVUMBA, where we stay in the White Horse Inn.
In BVUMBA we drive through the BVUMBA FOREST & MOUNTAINS and visit the Botanical Gardens and the Leopard Rock Hotel.

"Day 05"

(Thursday 01 October) BVUMBA- CHIREDZI 523 Km
We leave this area through the same way and just before MUTARE we will turn left on the A9 to continue southwards until the junction with the A10 to CHIMANIMANI Natl Park. We drive through a wonderful region and meet several locals.
In the park we visit the Bridal Veil Falls and a small village just before entering the park.
We leave CHIMANIMANI and drive southwards (A10) where we visit the town of CHIPINGE (coffee plantations in the neighbourhood).
At the junction with the A16, we take northwards direction Birchenough Bridge.
Back on the A10 we continue southwards to CHIREDZI, north of GONAREZHOU.
After a lot of efforts and in the pitch-dark we finally find a place to set up our tent in Hippo Valley, an improvised campsite near a football-ground.

"Day 06"

(Friday 02 October) CHIREDZI- GONAREZHOU 104 Km
Via gravel-roads we drive to the GONAREZHOU Natl Park.
We spend the night in CHIPINDA POOLS on a campground near the Runde river (it’s sweltering), where we enjoy our first acquaintance with "wildlife", elephants, hippo's (roaring lions at night).

"Day 07"

(Saturday 03 October) GONAREZHOU -LAKE MUTIRIKWI 300 Km
From CHIREDZI we drive to TRIANGLE, and then northwards to MASVINGO, our destination for today. On our way, just before MASVINGO, we take a gravel road through the LAKE MUTIRIKWI Rec. Park to the famous GREAT ZIMBABWE Natl Monument (12th century).
We spend the night on a campground near LAKE MUTIRIKWI (near Kyle View hotel).

"Day 08"

(Sunday 04 October) LAKE MUTIRIKWI -BULAWAYO 511 Km
Today we visit the "Chapel of St Francis" (built by Italian prisoners of world war II) and the "Serima Mission" north of MASVINGO. We’re lucky, it’s sunday and there’s a service going on : we’re welcome and it is a unique experience. We are allowed to enter a few classes where very concentrated students have lessons (yeah, yeah, even on sundays !), until they see some white faces, and then things were at sixes and sevens !
Today the main road A9 leads us to BULAWAYO, "straight away". We drive through a savannah-landscape with some Ndebele-huts.
Just before BULAWAYO we visit the Chipangali Wildlife orphanage (a research center for sick and abandoned animals).
At night we stay in a motel at the entrance of MATOPOS Natl Park, where we are regaled with a few hours of African music, performed by a band from Tanzania.

"Day 09"

(Monday 05 October) BULAWAYO -FATIMA 352 Km
Today we visit MATOPOS Natl Park, a place of massive, immensely ancient granite formations. Not to miss is the grave of Cecil Rhodes, World's View and the cave paintings in Matopos hills.
Back to BULAWAYO. Before leaving this second town of Zimbabwe we visit the railway museum (it was "closed on monday" but "open" for us) and the center of town.
Afterwards we drive westwards (A8) direction HWANGE Natl Park, and spend the night at Halfway House in FATIMA (very good, highly recommended) .
We meet an English couple who is making a “short” trip through Africa since April; they need to be back home by ... the end of the year. Jezus !


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Travel Tips for Mutare

Get fuel before going to Vumba no petrol stations

by Bunting

Lots of lovely walks in the Vumba,especially in the Bunga forest and also the beautiful National Parks Gardens they really are worth visiting,also Lepoard Rock Hotel but its is far and very windy road so don't go after dark if you do not know the area.

The Vumba mountains

by lichinga

The Vumba mountains include the highest peak in Zimbabwe, as well as the most humid areas. Their position is peculiar, as they represent the geological limit of the African plateau. From the Vumba you may look all the way to the Indian Ocean, as the ground disappears under your feet, creating a real step which divides hilly Zimbabwe from the flat land of Mozambique.

The Tea estates

by lichinga

In such a cold and humid climate, there's room enough for the only tea estate in Zimbabwe. Its tea, traded under the "Four Roses" brand name, is widely consumed all over the country, as the habit of drinking tea remained after the English colonial rule.


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