Makurumure Falls a Wedza hidden gem. On a recently constructed dirty road, the groggy sound of the diesel engine changes in tempo and crescendo as the vehicle negotiates curves, depressions and rises, past rustic villages, grazing cattle and goats.
Long abandoned fields give way to miombo woodlands as one approaches a mountain slope, and suddenly, the vehicle rattles to a halt. That is how far the road can take the car. The rest of the journey has to be completed on foot.
From here one goes on a steep descent using a track overshadowed by riverine vegetation of tall trees and grass from where birds chirp and somersault, from one branch to another. Yellow and green butterflies dapple in figures mottled by sunlight and hover from one flower to another.
Suddenly, the chirping of the birds is drowned by the roaring sound of water and droplets waft from the plunge pool. Welcome to Makurumure Falls, Wedza’s hidden tourism gem. The waterfall forms into a lather at the base. It is as if a loom of liquid silver is pouring down the rocks.
Affectionately referred to by some local people as Bopoma, Makurumure Falls on Ruzave River is a sleeping tourism giant seldom visited and grossly under-marketed and yet, it can stand alone shoulder to shoulder with many tourist attractions in Zimbabwe and beyond.
A curtain veil of frothing water plunges some 40 metres down a chasm between two rock promontories over wrinkled granite rocks that usher the water with speed into the plunge pool below.
After gushing down angrily over the black rocks, the water leaves the plunge pool languidly and in uncharacteristic silence, albeit in a deep green colour, probably taking its hue from the shades of riverine vegetation. This is nature’s grandeur! Here nature shows its inexhaustible generosity.
Here, everything from the veil of frothing water and wild purple flowers is soothing. And yet, the smell of drying grass speaks to increased traffic to the falls in recent days. At the end, the feeling is eerie and profound. Soothing.
Each time you glance across, the rocks and the huge old trees, from where green lichens and moth grow on the bark, are indolent guards. Silent.
At the tail end of the waterfall, fronds of forest lush green plants wave goodbye to the tired water in gentle depths. The fresh green vegetation smiles at the pool and guards it jealously as the water disappears into two channels creating an island, for a convenient and graceful escape. Thereafter the water flows languidly downstream.
Situated some 50km from Wedza Centre along Goto-Makarara Road, Makurumure Falls are one of the potential tourism sites in Mashonaland East Province which have been lying idle for years and could be marketed together with other tourist attractions like Imire Game Park and Tsindi Ruins, the Bernard Mizeki Shrine, Marker Caves, Nyatana Conservancy and Mutemwa Mountain.
The falls are 120km from Marondera and about 200km from Harare and only 3km of the road is not tarred. After Chisasike business centre the road sinks low and before you blink on the subsequent rise, a turn off to Makurumure School invites you on the left. By the school one turns left into the dirty road that takes you to Ruzave River.
There is talk of other more spectacular waterfalls on Ruzave River and its tributaries that are yet to be brought to the limelight. If exposed, this site has a lot of potential to contribute meaningfully to the province’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
But there is still need to put structures such as a reception area, bathrooms for visitors, braai spots and other supporting amenities. There is plenty of space for lodges while activities such as fishing and mountain hiking are a possibility.
Besides being endowed with everything that supports agricultural production, Mash East province also has huge potential in tourism as witnessed by underdeveloped tourism sites scattered all over the province.
If these untapped tourism sites are exposed, it will decongest the traditional tourist facilities like Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Kariba. There is also the need to look at the construction of conference facilities in potential tourism sites so that tourists are provided with a whole package.
Recently, Government announced that it was working on promoting potential tourism sites in provinces to both domestic and international tourists. This could also form a firm foundation for the crafting of the Provincial Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy.
In August 2020, President Mnangagwa launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy, which envisaged a US$5 billion Tourism Industry by 2025. This ambitious target is of course achievable but there is need to harness the country’s full tourism potential and bring to life sleeping giants like Makurumure Falls.
Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu also said Government had however shifted from the traditional way of looking at tourism where main focus was on known major resorts like Victoria Falls.
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Source – The Herald
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