White Horse Inn, Bvumba Mountains, Zimbabwe
A Cosy Sojourn in the Mountains of the Mist
High in the Bvumba Mountains of northeast Zimbabwe, snuggled in a fold of the lush and verdant hillside, hides a country inn full of the comforts of home and hotel alike. What started out as a cottage and country home in the 1930’s, has blossomed into a cozy hotel in one of the most beautiful spots in Zimbabwe. A licensed hotel since 1964, the history of the White Horse Inn includes such enticing tales as the making of Rob Roy Jam, and the leopard that drank from the pool, if not an explanation for how it came to be named the White Horse Inn.
Over the decades, the cottage has matured into a sizeable inn of twelve rooms and suites, two lounges, pub, pool and terrace, as well as an exquisite garden boasting its own stream. The White Horse Inn accommodates everything from honeymooners to small conferences and the Cottage Suite offers a sitting room and plenty of space for families.
The dining room claims a reputation for five star cuisine on a two star economy, not to mention a comprehensive wine list, a tradition set by the original hoteliers and maintained by the current owner of some thirty years, David Graham. Popular with locals as well a favorite of winter guests, the warm fire in the pub beckons with a hot toddy and the promise of tall tales.
Twenty minutes south of Mutare, The White Horse Inn lies within easy reach of some of the most exquisite views in Zimbabwe. The Bvumba, ‘Mountains of the Mist’, overlook the plains of Mozambique to the east, and to the south, the view of Burma Valley with its coffee and banana plantations stretches to the Chimanimani Mountains.
From the Castle Beacon summit it is said that on a clear day, one can see all the way to the Indian Ocean, and enjoy the stunning sight of Birchenough Bridge spanning the Save River in soaring magnificence. The Nyanga Mountains are only a few hours drive away to the north, while even closer to home, a visitor may marvel at the exquisite vegetation of the Chirinda Forest.
While The White Horse Inn invites guests to enjoy the pool and croquet lawn, the Bvumba Mountains is a popular area for bird watching and hiking, and other activities abound within easy reach. Riding, golf, squash, tennis and bowls are all available within 25 kilometers of the inn, and the Mutare Museum exhibits a fine collection of cars going back as far as the beginning of the 20th century, as well as an aviary and art exhibitions. The Bvumba Botanical Gardens impress with 30 hectares of both indigenous and exotic plants, and if climbing Castle Beacon was not enough, there is the fifteen minute climb to Chinyankwaremba Summit. Then again, perhaps a day of relaxation watching the Samango monkeys back at the inn will suffice…
For a very different feel of Africa, the Bvumba Mountains invite with a cool escape into misty mornings, a lush landscape and vibrant forests that promise glimpses of rarely seen bird and wildlife, some of which are exclusive to the area.
The butterfly enthusiast may be richly rewarded by a walk in the Chirinda Forest where The Big Tree resides, a National Monument of 65 meters, and the tallest indigenous tree in Zimbabwe. Whatever adventures beckon over morning coffee, a guest at The White Horse Inn can as well look forward to the end of the day, for a fine meal with excellent wine in an inviting atmosphere awaits when on holiday with all the privileges of a hotel, and all the comforts of home.