Mt. Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Chimanimani Mountains in Black and White, Mozambique

Chimanimani Mountains in Black and White, Mozambique

After spending weeks around the busy oceanfront, it was time for some tranquility in the mountains. I read about the ‘Chimanimani Mountains’, lying in the western highlands that border Zimbabwe.

Endless green and blue, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Endless green and blue, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Chimanimani is local Shoni language and means ‘Im Gänsemarsch laufen’. Which means as much as walking in line like geese, due to narrow and steep tracks. Let’s see if we can find some of these geese.

Road trip with Svenja and Finja, Inchope, Mozambique

Road trip with Svenja and Finja, Inchope, Mozambique

We left Vilankulo not as early as hoped for, due to lack of sleep, caused by too much beer consumption. There was no bus going north today, so I gave Svenja and Finja a lift to Inchope, where the south/north highway meets the east/west highway. Driving the first 150 km’s was a slow affair. Infamous large potholes and increasingly careless, dangerous speeding bus drivers to meet their time schedule are a hazard to all.

Truck stop selfie, Inchope, Mozambique

Truckstop selfie, Inchope, Mozambique

Svenja took over the power and steering of Zimba for a while, to give me a rest. By then, road conditions had largely improved. We stayed overnight in Inchope at a very basic, but friendly motel, playing Yahtzee to the amusement of staff and ourselves.

Next door cutie, Inchope, Mozambique

Next door cutie, Inchope, Mozambique

I dropped them off at the bus stop next morning and wished them all the best on their journey. I was hoping for some information about the ‘Chimanimani Mountains’ in Chimoio, but that didn’t happen. I just have to push my luck, and myself and Zimba up the mountain.

Dirt track to the Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Dirt track to the Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

The dirt track leading towards this mountain range was surprisingly well maintained. Dreading deforestation from previous areas I been to, this area and mountains are still covered in native forest. Clear blue sunny skies added to an impressive picture.

Mossy high altitude Forrest, Chimanimani Mountains

Mossy high altitude Forrest, Chimanimani Mountains

Passing little communities and surprised but friendly faces, I reached the uphill track to Mt. Tsetserra.

Mossy high altitude Forrest, Chimanimani Mountains

Green Grassy valleys, Chimanimani Mountains

Climbing up the mountain track in 4 WD Mode gave spectacular views, Zimba was excited too.

Chief and zebra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Chief and zebra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

We met a ‘chief’ along the way, who jumped in for a ride.

Tricky track, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

The tricky track, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Steeper sections of the track were intensely washed out from rain waters, leaving deep holes and boulders exposed. They made this journey challenging for both of us, but nevertheless, we passed without issues. Zimba loves to explore and enjoys challenges, passing through different lush vegetations the higher we climbed.

We met another Toyota Bakkie, which was clearly struggling, as he said. He and his wife have a farm in Tete and are looking to relocate up these mountains. This was the reason he came up here and the reason my friendly ‘chief’ needed a lift.

Blood red and emerald green, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Blood red and emerald green, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Eventually, we arrived in alpine meadows, the ‘Tsetserra Plateau’, well over 2000 meters up.

Breathtaking in many ways, from Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Breathtaking in many ways, from Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

The air was thin, but the view was breathtaking. 

Warming campfire on Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Warming campfire on Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

I found a nice even camping area next to some ruins and set up camp. Making a fire was one of the first things to do, as the sun almost disappeared behind the mountains. Cooler air was replacing warm sun rays. With no wind, it was eerie quiet. I heard some baboons in the very distance, one could hear a needle drop.

Amazing clear starry nights made up for a cool night. I haven’t seen the Milky Way lined up with the ‘Southern Cross’ for a long time. Millions of stars covered dark skies. Wow. By 7 pm, temperatures dropped to 4 deg C. The fire kept me warm and entertained. 

-5 deg C on Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

-5 deg C on Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Overnight temperature sunk as low as -5 deg C. Zimba’s windscreen was covered in ice. 

Frozen ground on Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

The frozen ground on Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

The ground frost covered the whole meadow.

Warming sunrise on Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Warming sunrise on Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

It was still calm as the sun came up over the mountains, but clouds moved in shortly after.

Clouds bouncing of Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Clouds bouncing of Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

The clouds rising up and bumping of the plateau edge looked rather amazing.

Steaming reflections, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Steaming reflections, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

A hot cuppa coffee was needed.

Alpine flowers, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Alpine flowers, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

I opted for a walk around the plateau. The ecological diversity is impressive. The alpine grass gave way to lush, almost tropical mossy forests.

Grass green pine trees, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Grass green pine trees, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Deep green pine trees lined along sunnier areas.

Pretty, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Pretty, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

With purple flowered bushes adding colour.

Pine cone display, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Pine cone display, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Pine cones gave an interesting spectrum.

Peaceful waters, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Peaceful waters, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

A few creeks with freezing cold, clear waters gently flowing down the meadows. Climbing up a steep hill, I was able to see surroundings better. Unfortunately, clouds covered the view.

Alpine flower black and white, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Alpine flower black and white, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Another day, another opinion, typical for Africa. I had just finished lunch, as a delegation of 5 Black men and one white woman arrived. One black man was impressively dressed in Mozambique army clothes introduced himself as the ‘chief’ of the area. Another one?

Chief delegation, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Chief delegation, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

After back and forth, they demanded me to pack in, drive down the mountain to the first village, to introduce myself, and saying that I am camping up here. Then I could drive back up to go camping again? I was somewhat stunned, as the ‘chief’ yesterday had given me permission to camp up here. Besides, I did try to get info about staying here in Chimoio, but no one was able to help.

After gentle persuasion and translation, I was allowed to stay on. By the time I had packed up, drive down and up again, I would have run out of daylight.

I started the fire early again, as gusty winds chilled me to the bones.

Dramatic and chilly, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Dramatic and chilly, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Low clouds covered the plateau, no stars out tonight.

Mist rolling in, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Mist rolling in, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

It wasn’t as cold next morning, as mist covered the alpine meadows. The warm sun rays were welcoming, as they steamed off the clouds for another sunny day to be exposed.

Descending Mount Tsetserra. Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Descending Mount Tsetserra. Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Driving down the dirt track was just as impressive, with stunning views over valleys near and far.

Forrest track at Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Forrest track at Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Shadier pockets impressed with lush green vegetation. Clear blue skies added to the picture.

Milka cow?, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Milka cow?, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Cows with bells roamed grassy alpine meadows. One could think to be in the Alps. This one looked like the ‘Milka’ cow.?

View over the mountains over to lake Chicamba, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

View over the mountains over to lake Chicamba, Mount Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

‘Lake Chicamba’ was visible in the very distance. A few workers maintained the track, which just as tricky to pass at times. 

Extremely dusty dirt tracks leading to the Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Extremely dusty dirt tracks leading to the Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

I followed the dusty dirt track north, passing ‘Lake Chicamba’.

Looking from Lake Chicamba back to the Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

Looking from Lake Chicamba back to the Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

I felt refreshed for the new adventures to come.

2 thoughts on “Mt. Tsetserra, Chimanimani Mountains, Mozambique

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