There are great hikes either along the river itself, and along the mountain ridges that keep the Pungwe firmly on track with its final destination in the Indian Ocean just adjacent to Beira in Mozambique. In the photo above we see a geological feature on the southern side of the valley, called The Pinnacles. The mountains in the background form the common border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Ancient civilisations used to live in these parts and the high ground has many ruins long reclaimed by the relentless onslaught of tropical jungles. Exactly what these people used to do in these parts is largely a mystery, with some believing that they were purely agriculturists, growing crops on terraced mountain slopes and on raised bunds in the valleys and keeping cattle and sheep in strange below ground shelters. Others are adamant that the remains of these structures point to a more industrialised activity with the extraction of gold and the servicing of Far-Eastern markets being the the primary purpose. Today there is little evidence of readily found gold in these parts, so either they were very efficient, or the pastoral, cropping lifestyle is
the more likely explanation. The Honde Valley, through which the Pungwe flows, is a hive of human activity. Tea estates, coffee, bananas, avocados, papaya, mangoes,
macadamia nuts and every other imaginable crop thrive in the hot humid conditions. Water is drawn down by enterprising locals using gravity and through bright PVC pipes to irrigate the lower slopes. If nothing else, you can totally relax at these facilities, like these large round boulders, reflecting and listening to the hum of the hydro plants as they generate the energy to keep everything electrical fully-powered.
Pungwe B Campsite
Book through: Rob Goddard 0773 179 495
Directions: Turn left off the main Juliasdale to Mutare road at 30 km peg. Go 34 kilometres to Hauna and turn left and follow road to campsite. If coming from Mutare, turn right just after Mutasa township. There is a sce-nic shortcut through Bonda Mission on a good wide tar road when coming from Rusape to Juliasdale.
All proceeds from booking the campsite goes to a local community school.
Facilities include: Braai stands, dining hall with washbasins, communal toi-lets and showers, campsites either on grass or on concrete plinths- © NZiRA Travel Zimbabwe, Issue 14 http://www.nzira.co.zw