Chinhoyi Caves

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Chinhoyi Caves Recreational Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Chinhoyi caves, Zimbabwe.JPG
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]

The Chinhoyi Caves are a group of limestone and dolomite caves in north central Zimbabwe. Since 1955 they are designated as National Park and managed by the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority.


The caves are located in Makonde District, Mashonaland West Province, in north central 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.[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 cave system is composed of limestone and dolomite. The main cave contains a pool of cobalt blue water, which 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. A campsite, run by the National Parks Authority, and a motel are located on-site.


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 Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority.

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