Chinhoyi Caves – Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe - Atlas Obscura

Chinhoyi Caves

Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe

The stunningly blue waters of these beautiful caves also have a violent past.  

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Chinhoyi Caves National Park is a hidden gem not far from Zimbabwe’s capital Harare. Visitors to the park will find stunningly blue pools inside preserved limestone and dolomite caves. Inside the caves, the air becomes cool and damp and silence descends as one walks down to the water. Holes in the roof of the cave usher in sunlight that illuminates its depths.

One of the best parts of visiting the caves is that you’re likely to have them to yourself to enjoy in subterranean silence. 

What visitors can see is only the tip of the iceberg. The caves continue incredibly far underground in a complex limestone formation. The water is so clear and constant in temperature that scuba teams have descended to depths of more than 300 feet (100 meters). They have discovered subterranean passages linking the various pools. How deep these caves venture is still a mystery. 

Although serene, there is a bit of violent history surrounding the caves. In the early 1800s, as the story goes, an aggressive tribe swept into the region and murdered many local people. Their bodies were then tossed into the cave. The traditional name of the caves, Chirorodziva or “Pool of the Fallen” commemorates this event.

Know Before You Go

Camping is possible in the small national park, but if you are a day visitor, note that you will only be allowed in during daylight hours (about 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). The entrance fee was about 8 U.S. dollars in 2018. Going to the deepest part of each cave is highly recommended, as each has a different feel.

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