By Norma Tsopo
Watching the sun break out above Chimanimani Mountains was magical. Only problem – it happened too fast. It’s one of those moments one would want to last forever.
But there just isn’t a better place to enjoy it than from Hilltop Lodge.
Perched high on Pork Pie Mountain, backing up against the Eland Sanctuary Park and overlooking the scenic Chimanimani valley wherein rests the little resort town or is it village as the locals often refer to it – the prevailing theory is that the settler community were spellbound by its beauty and wanted to reserve it as a retirement village so they deliberately underdeveloped.
Its infrastructural development is somewhat disappointing for an avowed urbanite but impressive for nature lovers who would rather do with the fresh air, clean water and quietness it offers.
Hilltop Lodge offers one of the finest spots for the breathtaking view of this town-in-a-forest to the right and scenic farms extending to the forests that lead up to the spectacular Chimanimani quartzite mountain range.
Having only opened in April 2017, the reputation of the self-catering lodge that lies only 500 metres from the town centre is well deserved – it’s a neat and compact homely and relaxing space.
The lodge has an exquisite and spacious lounge consistent with the finest modern home beautified with a coffee table with sand and sea shells under its glass top.
It has a separate dining room with two tables allowing for different groups to enjoy their meals separately.
The well-equipped kitchen may be one of the most impressive features with its central stove in an accessible layout. Its wooden built-in kitchen unit has quality utensils and to allow guests to prepare any meal of their choice without undue limitation.
There is both electricity and gas stove options in case of power outages.
It also has a dedicated ironing room for guests’ convenience.
While the main lodge has two common bathrooms – one with a shower and the other a tub and shower extension, it also has two ensuite bedrooms – a deluxe and an executive to add to the six bedrooms in the main building.
The cozy and spacious rooms can accommodate up to 16 guests at a time, depending on the gender mix on the guests.
Like all accommodation facilities in the resort town there is a reputable tour guide for interested in exploring either the splendour of Bridal Veil Falls, embark on a cultural tour or the beckoning adventure of the Chimanimani Mountains.
The Miombo forests also offer some insect, amphibian, bird and other indigenous plant species that has been attracting researchers from across the globe that visitors can also appreciate with the help of the local tour guides.
Because Chimanimani Mountains are a quartzite mountain they offer a unique mix of flora and fauna that the guides they work with will unravel to visitors’ satisfaction.