La Rochelle

HI All

Softrite still has quite a few loyal payroll customers in Manicaland so I drive down to Mutare from time to time to pay them a courtesy call to see if they need any enhancements to our software.

I always maintain that spring is the best time to be travelling anywhere in the Eastern Highlands: starting with Miombo woodlands covered with a dazzling array of ochre coloured Msasas in August; progressing to the verdant green-leafed deciduous trees in late September; then the lilac Jacarandas and cherry Flamboyants (non-indigenous / exotic) in October and November respectively.

La Rochelle Country House, situated in Penhalonga on the outskirts of Mutare is part of the National Trust of Zimbabwe and they are currently celebrating their 60th anniversary. So I decided to stay at La Rochelle for a couple of nights last week to check it out. The crisp mountain air along with that “Far from the madding crowd” feeling makes it the perfect place to relax either over a long weekend or at the end of a busy day in Mutare. La Rochelle has, arguably, the best aloe garden in the region and I woke up early on day 2 for a guided tour with the very competent and knowledgeable Peter. The botanical gardens have trees, aloes, cactuses and many other succulents from all over the world – and Peter knew both the English and Latin name for just about everyone.

Relaxing with a cup of tea and scones ion the afternoon of my arrival, I sat for a while on the long, frontal veranda and read my book – all the while glancing at the pristine rose garden with young buds urgent to come into seasonal bloom. I always throw my golf clubs in the boot of my car when I travel to Mutare as I know I can just pitch up a little before 3pm on Wednesday at the nearby Hillside golf club and join a few mates for 9 holes of golf. The golf club is just 10 minutes away from La Rochelle and the course is in such good nick at the moment – thanks to Kevin and Billy.

If you are looking for something to do with your COVID bored kids and are happy to take a couple of days off then I would recommend you book a couple of rooms at La Rochelle – lots of hiking trails and some of the best bird life in the country. Just a 3 hour trip from Harare on good tarred roads. Ciao Mike G.

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