I hope to visit Zimbabwe for the first time during July this year. At the start I will be on my own and visit Victoria Falls and then Bulawayo / Matopos using public transport. Next is the Great Zimbabwe ruins. I will probably pick up a small rental car in Harare to go to Great Zimbabwe ruins and back to Harare. But now I am playing with the idea of starting my trip 3 days earlier and using that time to drive from Masvingo to the Eastern Highlands before going back to Harare. I gather that people go to the Eastern parts mostly for hiking or birding, neither of which I'm very good at - I'm more interested in the landscapes/mountains/views and the vegetation/forests - the photos I saw of the area looked beautiful. I thought of spending 1 day in the Bvumba area, and one further North, going back to Harare via Juliusdale. I've gathered that Chimanimani is 4x4 and hiking territory and thus not for me ! Is the same true for Nyanga National Park ?
I have 2 questions :
- In the new edition of the Bradt guidebook they say that places like "Bvumba Botanical Gardens and Reserve" and "Bunga Botanical Reserve" have been neglected to such an extent that they are overgrown jungles and not worth visiting (except for birding). La Rochelle Hotel has closed - I don't know if their gardens will still be open. Question is , is it worth going East ?
- I realise that some parts are not suitable for smaller saloon cars. And I have read warnings about vehicles being broken into or stolen at some of the favourite parking spots (near Pungwe Falls and others). Question - Which parts (if any) of the Eastern Highlands will it be possible and safe to go to on my own, and get out of the car to take photos ?
Or should I forget about this?
I really hope people who knows the area will advise me. Thanks.