Chinhoyi Caves, Zimbabwe

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The Chinhoyi Caves are a group of caves in Zimbabwe.

Chinhoyi Caves Recreational Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Location Chinhoyi District, Zimbabwe
Nearest city Chinhoyi
Coordinates 17°21′0″S 30°07′30″E / 17.35000°S 30.12500°E / -17.35000; 30.12500Coordinates: 17°21′0″S 30°07′30″E / 17.35000°S 30.12500°E / -17.35000; 30.12500
Governing body

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority

Designated: January 3, 2013 [1]


Location[edit]

The caves are located in Makonde District, Mashonaland West Province, in central, northern Zimbabwe. They lie approximately 9 kilometres (5.6 mi), by road, northwest of Chinhoyi, the nearest large town, and the location of the district and provincial headquarters.[2] This location lies about 135 kilometres (84 mi), northwest of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe and the largest city in that country.[3] The caves lie on the main road, Highway A-1, between Harare and Chirundu, at the International border with the Republic of Zambia, about 250 kilometres (160 mi), further northwest of the caves.[4] The coordinates of Chinhoyi Caves are:17° 21' 0.00"S, 30° 7' 30.00"E (Latitude:-17.3500; Latitude:30.1250).

Overview[edit]

The cave system is composed of limestone and dolomite, and the descent to the main cave with its pool of cobalt blue water is very impressive. This pool is popularly called Sleeping Pool or Chirorodziva (Pool of the Fallen). Divers have discovered a submarine passage leading from the Bat Cave, a subchamber of the Dark Cave to another room known as the Blind Cave. Diving is possible in the caves all year round, with temperatures never beyond the 22 to 24 °C (72 to 75 °F) range with zero thermocline. Visibility is high, and 50 metres (160 ft) and above is not unusual. This site is often visited by diving expedition teams of technical divers that perform ultra deep diving. It is not uncommon for dives in excess of 100 metres (330 ft) to be made here by experienced technical divers. There is a campsite run by the National Parks Authority and Caves Motel, a quiet, private establishment is located on site.

History[edit]

The limestone caves were first described by Frederick Courtney Selous in 1888. The caves are named after a local chief who used them as a refuge from Ndebele raiders. These caves are the most extensive cave system in Zimbabwe that the public can access. The caves were designated a National Park in 1955 and as such are managed by the Zimbwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority

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