IN the previous article we looked at what Chipinge West has in store for domestic tourism. We featured Birchenough Bridge, Chibasane Falls, Chipinge Safari Area and Rupise Hot Springs.
In this article, we are looking at what Chipinge South has on offer.
Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) is one of the initiatives that put Mahenye communal lands on the world. It was introduced in the mid 1980s and survives to this day.
CAMPFIRE helped Mahenye to protect natural resources found in the area that one can meet wildlife especially elephants on the way to Mahenye villages. The place is about 214km from Chipinge town.
Mahenye is adjacent to Zimbabwe’s second largest public wildlife reserve, Gonarezhou National Park. This explains why some wild animals can be found roaming in Mahenye.
Mahenye is ideal for educational or research tourism for those interested in species of flora. It is the areas where on endangered plant called The Sabi Star is still found. There is undisturbed nature even in the communities themselves.
A visitor to Mahenye should bring own fuel. Accommodation and food can be optional since there two safari lodges in the area.
There are two active safari lodges at Mahenye namely Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge and Khayalethu Safari Lodge.
Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge has been in existence for more than thirty years as Khayalethu Safari Lodge is less than five years old. Visitors to Gonarezhou National Park can utilise the two safari lodges.
MaChangana Festival is one of Chipinge’s cultural galas which unite Tsonga (also known as Shangani or Xangani) communities surrounding Zimbabwe’s second largest national wildlife ornament, the Gonarezhou National Park. It takes place in September every year.
Established in 2010 and funded by award winning conservationist, Clive Stockil of Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge in Mahenye, the inaugural MaChangana gala was held in Chiredzi South and in Chiredzi North in 2011. The third edition took place at Mahenye in Chipinge in 2012.
Due to general elections that were taking place that year, the 2013 commemoration was deferred to the following year. The 2014 event took place in Chief Gudo’s area in Chiredzi North. From 2015, the festival is now held in Chief Mahenye’s area in Chipinge South.
The MaChangana Festival showcases most of Tsonga cultural practices including cultural villages, traditional food, traditional dressing, traditional dances and traditional hunting ceremonies.
A traditional fishing ceremony known as Saila is the key feature of the festival.
Pace Arts International Cultural Exhibitions (PAICE)
Pace Arts International Cultural Exhibitions (PAICE) was established in April 2019 and takes place at Checheche Growth Point. Checheche is about 126km from Chipinge town.
PAICE is co-directed by tourism and media practitioner, Ten Munhazu and culturist, Irene Mlambo. PAICE held its inaugural gala on 28 September 2019 and another music gala on November 16 at Checheche.
On 22 December 2019 in collaboration with sungura artist, Somandla Ndebele and Chipinge businessman, Dzonzai, PAICE held a gala themed “Survivors” at Dzingire (Kopa) Business Centre in Chimanimani to remember victims of Tropical Cyclone Idai.
On 28 December 2019 in collaboration with Chimanimani Arts Festival, PAICE took “Survivors” to Ngangu in Chimanimani.
A visitor to PAICE should not worry about most logistics since fuel, food and accommodation are found at Checheche.
Mtetwa Wamuka Cultural Symposium
Mtetwa Wamuka Cultural Symposium came to life in 2011 and is coordinated by Charles Mhlahlayazi of Mabee Business Centre. Mabee is about 181 from Chipinge town.
The symposium reached greater heights in 2013 when it held two performances as well as a Mutshongoyo training workshop at Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA).
The symposium caters mainly for schools that are found in Garahwa cluster and changes venue year by year to cater for all the schools in the cluster. Mtetwa Wamuka focuses mainly of traditional dances.
A visitor to Garahwa cluster should bring fuel and food. Accommodation can be arranged at Checheche.
Pregnant with such galas, there is doubt that Chipinge South is the home of cultural tourism.
For feedback follow @ephraemsteve