Story by Jeffrey Murungweni
In our last edition, we began our adventure into the little town of Vumba, and how it is packed with so much tourism goodness! We shared a bit about the destinations you can come across as you head out of Mutare into the pristine lands of Upper Vumba. Today, we will unpack one gem well hidden within the Vumba forests: the Vumba Botanical Garden.
One writer said, “As modern-day humans, we might not have had the chance to set our eyes on the famous Garden of Eden in the Bible. However, I think the closest we can ever get to have a picture of what the Garden of Eden looked like is the Vumba Botanical Garden.” The garden is managed by the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority. It is well nested within the evergreen forests of the Vumba Mountains, heading towards Leopard Rock Hotel. From Mutare CBD, it is exactly 28 kilometers away from this botanical garden. As mentioned in the previous articles, the drive is worth every minute. Vumba is well known for its curvy roads with a stunning topology of trees and flowers beautifying the road. You will also catch a glimpse of some beautiful water bodies that are dotted across the valleys, with some spilling into Mozambique. The road is predominantly tarred, and you will just travel on gravel for less than a kilometer when you make the turn from the main Vumba circuit road to the botanical garden’s main entrance.
For each Zimbabwean adult, the entrance cost is just US$3, with the price rising for foreigners depending on nationality. If you happen to get the chance to go through their attendance records, you will be amazed at how people from all over the world are coming to this garden just to experience the tranquility and serene environment that the garden offers. Within this park, there is the main garden area which holds a plethora of diverse plants, a designated picnic area, caravan sites and lodges for overnight accommodation. Now, let’s take a look at each of these facilities at the park.
The main part of the park is the botanical garden, which is the star attraction. There are so many plants that are within the park, from colorful flowers to towering trees. At the very center of the garden is a small man-made water body that has a smaller island within it, connected with a small colorful bridge. The joy you derive from discovering how beautiful this garden is unexplainable. Before I got a chance to go there, I used to think the pictures on the internet did justice to show how beautiful the garden is. However, going there in person showed me that the pictures have not yet done much justice to truly depict the beauty that the garden has to offer. In broad daylight, you will see the beauty of the place in its entirety. If you look closely in the small pond there, you will see several fish just swimming about as a school. If you’re lucky, you will likely see the big fish that is if they are not at the very center of the pond. Some plants within the botanical garden are said to be endemic to Vumba, meaning that they are not found anywhere else in the world, except in Vumba. How exciting it is to know that the very plant you’re beholding is not found anywhere else but where you’re.
After the botanical garden, there are the picnic sites. Vumba Botanical Garden has some cute picnic sites that are well situated on the edge of one of the mountains. This gives a beautiful vantage point to take a glimpse into Mozambique and admire the green mountains of Vumba. You will also be able to spot some holiday homes well-covered by the tall trees. The picnic sites each have a tap with running water, a braai site and a bin for any rubbish. The few spots that I managed to visit had a good ground lawn cover, with a big pine tree providing shade. The park also has lodges that are reasonably priced and self-catering.
That is just a brief of what the botanical gardens have to offer. If you’re a person who loves to be surrounded by nature, admiring a diverse range of plants and enjoying the sweet melodies of birds, then Vumba Botanical Gardens is the place just right for you. It’s a low-cost destination to visit, and the good thing is any vehicle type, whether it’s a four-wheel drive or not, will comfortably get you there. That’s it for this week, folks.
If you would also like to share your reviews about some of the tourist destinations I have mentioned, please always feel free to share them with me on my email:
firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s create a travel community. Let’s explore the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe together, one destination at a time. This travel series is supported by a digital tourism information center on a WhatsApp tourism chatbot called Trafiki Africa. Whenever you would like to discover more about tourist destinations in Zimbabwe, you can simply send a hi to the chatbot at +263788935424 or follow the link https://wa.me/263788935424?text=Hi and interact with the bot.