Staying at Inn onRupurara in Zimbabwe puts the game drive in your backyard
If you’re looking for the most adventures available in oneplace, the Inn on Rupurara should be on your radar. Situated in an area ofZimbabwe known as the Eastern Highlands, the inn itself is a green jewel in anecklace of scenic mountains.  Passing throughthe big entrance gate, you sense you are in for a special experience and thenlooking at their activities board, you realize that you are going to need sometime to take in all that the inn has to offer.
We arrived late in the afternoon, which just gave us time toregister and quickly head down for the scheduled game drive. Piling into a 12passenger open safari vehicle, we drove down into a valley full of native florawith strange names and their beautiful blossoms. Heading up the steep climb onthe other side of the valley, it didn’t take long at all for the wildlife tocome into view.
Rounding the bend in the road at the top of the hill, wecame eye-to-eye with a herd of grazing zebra. Another 500 feet along the road,eland could be seen over the brush. Not much longer and impalas added theirnames to our checklist. Cecil, our guide, pointed out how to verify an impalafrom the markings on their rear ends.
Heading into a grassy plain, we brought our vehicle to aquick halt as two large wildebeest ambled across our dirt road. Seeming ambivalentto our presence, but somehow shy at the same time, they kept going until theywere safely out of sight in a clump of trees.
Animal sightings continued on a regular basis as we drovearound a good portion of this huge game preserve. Heading back for dinner,Cecil wanted to check out a special group of Acacia trees where some of theresident giraffes liked to hang out. Approaching the grove of trees, all wecould see were the legs and bellies of the giraffes. Cecil parked our vehicleand jumped out, heading into the Acacia grove.
With a little good-natured coaxing, the giraffes came outfor their photo session. Mom, dad and baby all made for great photo subjects inthe setting sunlight. After posing for maybe 5 minutes, they returned to theirfavorite food source and continued their dinner. It was dinner time for us as welland we returned to the inn.
Staying at Inn onRupurara in Zimbabwe keeps you comfortable during your adventures
Black eagles fly over the lodges at Inn on Rupurara
The Inn on Rupurara is cut into the side of one of the manyhills of the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. With such a dramatic setting, theowners were careful to utilize as many natural materials as possible in theconstruction of the lodge. Rugged stone walks and steps guide you to individuallodges overlooking the valley we had just driven through.
Staff from the hotel carried our heavier bags as thefrequent stone steps and wooden bridge made the long path to our room a bit ofchallenge in the fading light.  Insidethe cabin was a wonderfully furnished room overlooking the valley.  An outside deck with comfortable chairs andthe fresh evening air just begged to be utilized.
Eighteen lodges dot the hillside. Each lodge is spacious andthe beds are comfortable. Each is furnished with period wooden furnishings. Inaddition to the bed(s) there is a desk and chair as well as an overstuffed easychair.  The baths are large and have afull-sized soaking tub and a separate, tiled shower. The floor was a colorfultiled floral pattern.
The dining area back at the main lodge was located on thesecond floor and offered both inside and outside dining. Inside, the diningarea was a blend of warm wood tones and artwork. Food was plentiful and tasty,a perfect end for a fun filled afternoon.
Internet coverage is spotty in the wilds of Zimbabwe andthis was no different. From 7:30pm until 8:30pm we did get a good wirelesssignal in the lodge and we quickly checked emails before the signal and thelights started to fade by 10:00pm. By that time it was time to turn in for anearly morning hike the next day.
Staying at Inn onRupurara in Zimbabwe enables you to scale a mountain, no training needed
While on the game drive the night before, we had noticedthis large boulder-like mountain hovering in the distance. Turns out this was RupuraraRock, for which the inn had been named. In an otherwise level grassy plain,this monstrous 1,804 meter-tall rock juts up as though someone had slammed theirfist up through the earth’s crust from the nether world below.
As the saying goes, “If there’s a mountain, someone’s got toclimb it,” so a small group of journalists from around the world met at 6:00amto give it our best shot. We’re met again by Cecil, who has led this trek tothe top 904 times. He’s even got one of the scenic overlooks named after him.
Luckily for us, we get a ride to the base of the mountain onthe safari jeep. That saved an hour’s worth of hiking right there, not tomention not having to dodge the wildebeest and eland with their twisty horns.
From the shady western face of the mountain, we start ourascent. Much of the first portion is an easily traversed set of switchbackswith an occasional large boulder that must be vaulted up and over.
Occasionally we’d see some of the bashful, furry creaturesthat live amongst the rocks. They were too quick to photograph though. Later wefound a large millipede slithering across the ground which gave us reason topause for photographs. Actually, we’d have been just as happy to stop and photographdirt…we just needed to catch our breath. Cecil, at 70+ years old, was in far better shape than our traveling bandof writers and photographers.
Cecil paused at “Cecil’s Overlook” while we worked to catch our breath.
Pushing on, we eventually reached the tree line and weregreeted with unobstructed views of the distant hills and a couple pricelesshilltop homes. The ground at this point turned to 99% pure rock face. Only anoccasional plant sprouted up in a rock crack and some lichen could be foundgrowing on the surface.  From here it wasa constant smooth climb to the summit.
Reaching the peak, a 360 degree panorama revealed itselfwith breathtaking vistas in all directions. Directly below, dozens of animalscould be seen grazing on the grassy plains. In the distance, everywhere youlooked revealed more mountain peaks. To our right, the Inn on Rupurara’s cabinscould be seen dotting the hillside closest to us.
“We made it!”
Cecil had carried an antelope’s horn with us, all the way tothe top.  Upon reaching the summit, wediscovered why. With great ceremonial flourish, he aimed the horn toward theInn and began to blow. “That’ll let the cook know we’re coming in forbreakfast,” he said with a smile. “Better hold those eggs” we thought, as noneof us wanted to leave.
If you are looking for a place to rough it (limitedelectricity and Internet) without having to rough it (comfortable beds and warmshowers) or you’re looking for a place to enjoy good food with great views,you’ll want to consider Inn on Rupurara. Whether your idea of a good time is horseback riding up close andpersonal with the giraffes, or taking a hike to see ancient rock paintings, ortrout fishing or bird walks, the Inn is happy to accommodate.  
To see my images from the Inn of Rupurara, click here to see the full slideshow.
Contact them here:
P.O. Box 337
Ph:   +263 29 3021/2/3/4
Description:  +263 772215326
Fax: +263 293025
Or contact:
307 W. 38th Street, Suite 1701
New York, NY 10018
Ph:       +1646 515-7468