Fall in love with the Pool of the Fallen: the Chinhoyi Caves

Published by in Travel, Zimbabwe on March 16th, 2012

Chinhoyi is a large provincial town in Zimbabwe where you can find the Chinhoyi Caves National Park, which is a major tourist attraction. Here visitors can explore the limestone caves, picnic and take photos. The park is 137km from Harare International Airport, which is the closest airport.

You can rent a car and take the longer road (at 176km) to Chinhoyi that goes past the Lake Manyame Recreational Park. This is an area reserved for game such as sable, warthog, kudu, bush pig, baboon, vervet monkey and water buck. Visitors can buy firewood at the main office if they want to cook food. Water skiing, yachting and boating are also options for fun activities. Guests can stay in one of the two lodges and there are camping facilities.

The Chinhoyi Caves is the largest cave system in Zimbabwe that is open to the public. The main feature of the caves is the Wonder Hole, which is in fact a large cavern with a collapsed roof. Around the Wonder Hole the walls drop down 45 meters to the Sleeping Pool. The Sleeping Pool is crystal clear and you can easily see 50m deep. Divers frequent these caves as they are between 22C and 24C year round with zero thermocline and great visibility. The caves are more than 120m deep at some spots.

The Sleeping Pool is sunlit, but the Dark Cave, as it name suggests, is not. There is artificial lighting, though, and visitors can access this Sleeping Pool from the main entrance with an inclined passage or via the Dark Cave. The latter is much more of a challenge as visitors have to navigate steep and narrow steps.

Another name for the Sleeping Pool is Chirorodzira, or Pool of the Fallen because the Angoni Tribe apparently flung people into the pool in the 1830s when they travelled past the caves.

The caves are very cold in winter (middle of May to July) and hot in summer. Visitors can stay at one of the hotels in Chinhoyi. The town is about 8km from the Chinhoyi Caves. The facilities are very basic, but clean and tourist friendly. Visitors can also stay at the Chinhoyi University Hotel which has luxury suites, satellite TV, a restaurant and a bar.

(Image by Roger, CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr)

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