Nyanga National Park lies in the north of Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands and contains the highest land in Zimbabwe, with green hills and perennial rivers. Most of its terrain consists of rolling downland, sometimes lightly wooded, lying at altitudes between 1,800–2,593 meters. Mount Nyangani, the highest point in Zimbabwe, lies in the centre of the park and Mutarazi Falls, Zimbabwe's highest waterfall, is in the south of the park. Nyanga National park incorporates the former Mutarazi Falls National Park on its southern boundary. The vegetation of Nyanga is part of the Eastern Zimbabwe montane forest-grassland mosaic, within the montane grasslands and shrub lands eco region. The rainforest is found mainly on the eastern slopes, as well as in the steeper valleys on west-facing slopes. It is dominated by Syzygium. Copses of Mulanje cypress survive in areas that are safe from fire. Tree ferns are a very noticeable part of the Nyanga flora, with the common tree fern occurring on the moorlands and the forest tree fern in the rainforests. The Nyanga aloe, Aloe inyangensis, is found on higher ground. A wildlife checklist compiled over several years reveals a remarkable diversity of mammals, including occasional sightings of species such as buffalo and lion that stray into the region from the Mozambique lowlands. Visitors are likely to see kudu, reedbuck, klipspringer and several other antelope; predators, including leopard and hyena, are also present. The African clawless otter is common in the upper Kairezi River, in the north-east of the park. The park is best known among wildlife conservationists for its populations of blue duiker and samango monkeys. Neither animal is found outside the Eastern Highlands. The Inyangani River Frog is an endangered amphibian found in rocky, fast-flowing streams in the montane grassland.
Lake Gulliver and the Mare, Udu, Purdon and Rhodes Dams have been stocked with trout from hatcheries maintained by the Department of National Parks. The rainbow trout is most widespread within the park's dams and streams but brown trout and American brook trout are also present. The park is dominated by Mount Nyangani which lies in the centre and is the highest mountain in Zimbabwe. The park is well watered by numerous streams and rivers. The central and eastern parts of the park form part of the Zambezi Basin. The Nyangombe River, whose tributaries include the Mare River and the Nyamuziwa River, and the Kayirezi River both flow north out of the park, ultimately to join the Mazowe River. The Pungwe River rises at the foot of Nyangani and flows southwards through the park before dropping 787 feet into the densely wooded Pungwe Gorge. The Mutarazi Falls have a 2,499 foot drop and are Zimbabwe's highest waterfall; they drop in two stages over granite cliffs into the Honde River valley, which lies outside the park and is a major tea-planting area.
Five dams have been constructed for recreation and tourist water supply: Rhodes Dam and Mare Dam on the Mare River, Lake Gulliver and Purdon Dams on tributaries of the Mare River and Udu Dam on a tributary of the Nyangombe River. Most of Nyanga National Park is underlain by granite. The highest mountains are composed of Umkondo Group dolerite and sandstone, with the harder dolerite forming cliffs and ridges and the granite-dolerite contact often forming waterfalls. The Troutbeck dolerite sill, shown in the distance in the photograph of Kwaraguza above, was dated at 1099 Ma. Nyanga is a great all year holiday destination. However, most parts of Nyanga should be tackled on a safari or an organized tour. If you are interested in kayaking and river rafting down some of the most magnificent rivers in Zimbabwe, then the best months to visit Nyanga are between August and December when the water levels are lower. If you are interested in general scenery and plant life then the best times to travel to Zimbabwe are between December and May.
How to get there
Nyanga National Park is located 260 kilometers east of Harare. Visitors may take the Harare – Mutare Road east for 170 kilometres to Rusape and turn left. Follow the Nyanga road for 90 kilometres and turn right at the Main Park entrance. From Mutare, visitors should take the Harare – Mutare Road west for 11 kilometres and turn right at the Juliasdale road. Follow this road for 85 kilometres to the end and turn toward Nyanga Village. Turn right at the Main Park entrance, 13 kilometres further.
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