Chinhoyi Cave

Chirorodziva - Pool of the Fall - Chinhoyi Sleeping Pool - Sinoia


Useful Information

Location: 100km northwest of Harare, near Chinhoyi. On the main road towards Kariba.
Open:  
Fee: Chinhoyi Cave Dive: per person $59.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave. Lower Proterozoic dolomite.
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=887m, D=-190m.
Guided tours:  
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: T. Truluck (1992): SASA (Cape) Expedition to Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, AUgust 1992, Reprot 38p, Cape Town, South African Speleologic Association.
Address: Zimbabwe Department of National Parks, Chinhoyi Caves National Park.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

16th century used by the local Shona tribes for storing grain and for refuge from invading tribes.
1830s the Nguni people used the cave as a place of execution.
1890s Chief Chinhoyi, from whom the area takes its name, used the caves as a refuge from raids by the Ndebele.
1920 first surveyed.
1955 proclaimed a National Park.
1969 divers from the South African Normalair Underwater Club reached -103m.
1975 redesignated a Recreational Park under the Parks and Wild Life Act.
1992 US Navy divers reached a depth of -135m.
1994 resurveyed by a SASA expedition.

Description

Chinhoyi Cave is the only show cave in Zimbabwe. Originally called Chirorodziva (Pool of the Fall), it is now named after the town of Chinhoyi. Probably a concessionto the foreign tourists, as the original name is rather difficult to probnounce for foreign tongues.

Chinhoyi Cave is the second longest cave and the fourth deepest. And it in not the only memorable cave in this area. The Chinhoyi dolomite karst is the largest karst area in Zimbabwe.

The cave has several fossil passages with noticeable speleothems. Several larger daylight windows are unique for this cave. But the extraordinary sight is an underground lake called Sleeping Pool, which is sounded to be 172m deep. US Navy divers reached a depth of 135m in the lake.

Despite its statistic features, the lake is also very nice. It is located below one of the daylight windows, under a steep cliff. This cliff was used in the 1830s for execution. The delinquents were simply thrown down the cliff.

Today the lake looks pretty innocent. The daylight from above and the high amount of soluted limestone gives the crystal-clear water a translucent aquamarine colour. The goldfish in the lake are a result of human intervention, they were freed here in order to keep mosquitoes at bay. Today several diving companies offer dives into the lake.

Nearby the cave are some prehistoric cave paintings to be found at Lake Chivero National Park.