The Eastern Highlands

In 1962 several anti-colonial political groups in Mozambique formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule in September 1964. After 10 years of sporadic warfare in Mozambique and the major political changes in Portugal due to the military coup of 1974, Mozambique became independent on June 25, 1975.

In Southern Rhodesia, anti-government guerilla activity which began in the late 1960s, increased dramatically after 1972, causing destruction, economic dislocation, casualties, and a slump in white morale. In 1974, the major African nationalists groups, ZANU and ZAPU united to form the Patriotic Front. The situation in Mozambique helped them in many ways.

The Patriotic Fronts’ strategy was based mostly on classic Maoist guerrilla warfare, but was tempered by the realities of local conditions and experiences, and enhanced with guidance from Mozambique’s FRELIMO veterans. Mozambique was part of the Front Line States, an alliance started by Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda in the late 1950’s aimed at decolonising and ending minority regimes in the former Rhodesia, South West Africa and South Africa.

Mozambique threw their full support behind Zimbabwe’s liberation movements, offering bases and sanctuary, vehicle and arms support, military training and political support at international forums.

The Eastern Highlands, as they are known, are a narrow belt of mountains and high plateaux which forms almost the entire border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This became one of the four fronts on which Southern Rhodesia fought the ‘bush war’. ZANU guerrilla forces crossed the mountain range border raiding small farms, cutting railway lines and caused terror throughout the rural areas in an effort to ‘win’ hearts and minds of the rural population.

The Eastern Highlands are made up of the Inyanga, Vumba and Chimanimani mountain ranges. Nyanga, with its jagged peaks; the Vumba, with its veil of mist; and Chimanimani, a secret world. Mountaineers love to climb Mount Nyangani, the country's highest peak and the surrounding region. The ‘World's View’ at this point offers a panoramic view across northern Zimbabwe which pictures cannot describe.

The scenery is striking in its variety, with deep valleys, gorges, bare granite peaks, pine-forested slopes and bubbling trout streams rolling down steep cliffs. The early morning mists and the crisp mountain air creates almost a world apart from the rest of Zimbabwe.


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