ZIMBABWE SAFARIS AND MUTARE:
Mutare, formally Umtali, is the fourth largest city in Zimbabwe and is also the capital of the Manicaland Province. Mutare was founded as a fort in 1897 when gold was discovered in the Penhalonga Valley. This is the same area where the Mutare River flows and where gold panning began. The name ‘Mutare’ means ‘piece of metal’ and it is believed that this name refers to the Mutare River where gold was first found. However, Mutare was only renamed from Umtali to Mutare in 1982...
Mutare was founded as a fort and a city and, interestingly, it was relocated (the entire city and fort; houses, buildings and people) twice to be closer to the railway lines. This is one of the few cities in Africa that has actually relocated successfully twice. Nowadays, Mutare is situated 8 km away from the Mozambique border and is commonly known as the “Gateway to the Eastern Highlands”.
Mutare is located near the border railway station on the railway line running from Harare to Beira and even has a popular railways’ mechanical workshop that is visited by many travellers annually. This Zimbabwean area was the site for the Chief Mutasas Kraal and in 1890, A.R Coguhoun was given the concessionary rights and fort Mutare (it was fort Umtali then) was established between the Tsambe River and the Mutare River. In 1891 Mutare was moved to an area that is now known as the ‘Old Mutare’ region. This beautiful area is only 14 km away from the city centre. In 1896 the city was again moved, bringing it even closer to the railway station. This is where the Zimbabwean town is still located… In 1914 Mutare was proclaimed as a municipality and in 1971 Mutare was granted city status. This popular town in Zimbabwe includes some well-known places, such as; Vumba, Sakubva, Greenside, Morningside and Murambi.
Mutare is also known as the secret gem of Zimbabwe as it is located near many of Zimbabwe’s outstanding attractions and it is also the gateway to the Indian Ocean. The city is characterized by being a mountainous region and the city and fort are located on both sides of the Christmas Pass. The Mutare city contains wide streets, old shops and friendly people. Mutare also has three public parks for children and travellers to enjoy as well as an old museum that dates back to 1954, near the museum is an even older building – the Turner Memorial Library which dates back to 1902.
The history of Manicaland is concentrated around the Marahwa clan which was scattered over the Zimbabwean Province… The Marahwa clan specialised in agriculture, gold planning and the manufacturing of iron tools. The discovery of gold by this clan, coupled with the climate, lured the British and the Portuguese to this Zimbabwean area where the British then colonised it.
Mutare boasts a temperate climate with most days averaging around 19ºC. The temperature here is much lower than most areas with the same elevation but, the good climate, history and amazing sights make the Mutare area a popular Zimbabwean holiday destination.
Have a look at our Zimbabwe safaris below... and other Zimbabwe attractions that you might want to visit on your Zimbabwe safari.
More Safari Attractions in Zimbabwe
- Victoria Falls
- Eastern Highlands
- Great Zimbabwe
- Wild Dog Research Station
- Matusadona National Park
- Mtarazi Falls
- Pungwe Falls
- Save Valley Conservancy
- Rhodes Grave
- Bvumba Mountains
- Chimanimani Mountain
- Hwange National Park
- Lake at Great Zim Mutirikwi
- Matobo National Park & Matopos Hills
- Lower Zambezi National Park
- Mana Pools
- Lake Kariba
- Chizarira Area