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Far and Wide Zimbabwe Eastern Highlands Outdoor Adventure Hub

Far and Wide Activities
Since its establishment in 1989 by Bernie and Julie Cragg, the organisation has experienced steady growth. Although centrally focused on providing premium wilderness outdoor team and leadership courses, personal development opportunities and conservation programmes, it has expanded through a tourism company to encompass a wide range of tourism services.
Their vast range of outdoor activities enables participants to step out of their comfort zone, and familiar frames of reference and embrace the challenges. The programmes foster personal growth and promote team dynamics, offering valuable lessons in leadership and creating an environment that inspires personal growth.
The Turaco Trail, Zimbabwe’s most beautiful and challenging hiking trail, is a 170-kilometre multiday
experience established by Far and Wide. It takes hikers through some of the most remote and hidden wilderness areas of the Nyanga National Park. With a carefully handcrafted design and strict sustainability measures in place, this single-track mountain trail offers an unforgettable adventure for guests who can choose to spend anywhere from 1 to 7 nights hiking in the pristine wilderness of the park on the Turaco Trail.
Since its inception by Far and Wide in 2014, SkyRun Zim, Zimbabwe’s inaugural Ultra-Trail Marathon, represents an extreme endurance event and personal challenge to participants. Starting at Far and Wide participants navigate the tough mountainous terrain for up to 35 hours, including a full unsupported night for those taking on the longest route – The GOAT 100km, the event has experienced significant growth since its inception and is loved by many who take on the challenge annually.
SkyRun is limited to a sought-after 300 participants, primarily consisting of locals but also including 11
national representatives. This event has become a catalyst in Zimbabwe for trail running. It takes place every December, typically during the second week.
Every year in March/April, the Mountain and Rivers Festival takes place over a full weekend in the mountains, with live music, whitewater sports and more. Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting and kayaking expeditions on the Pungwe River, offering an exciting alternative to the well-known Zambezi trips at Victoria Falls.
Additional activities offered at Far and Wide include their new international standard high ropes courses consisting of blue, green, and black routes, with the newest continuous auto-belay technology from Switzerland, the first of its kind in Africa.
“We constantly aim to innovate in leading our industry whilst focusing on upholding the highest standards of sustainability, quality and safety within our mountain craft space. We place a great deal of importance on safety and source our equipment from the global leading manufacturers that comply with international standards,” said Joshua Cragg, Far and Wide Director.
Far and Wide, through its innovations, has been a major driving force behind the revival of interest in the Eastern Highlands and Zimbabwe’s tourism industry, drawing attention to the region’s numerous attractions.
They aim to have a soft touch upon the earth with minimal environmental impact and a strong CSR approach to sustainability. As part of a number of community and conservation service initiatives, SkyRun, The Turaco Trail, and Far and Wide, provide significant employment to local community members in the Honde Valley. Their outreach initiatives include constructing Chikaka Primary School and Humble Honie (a bee-keeping initiative providing hives to community members who harvest and sell almost 5 tons of honey annually). In addition, they provide conservation support to Nyanga National Park and road maintenance.
“We have to meaningfully demonstrate that there are significant benefits derived from the natural environment when we sincerely and collectively work to protect it” said Cragg.
SkyWalk and SkyLine
In 2014 Far and Wide demonstrated inventiveness in conceptualising the SkyWalk that would boost the Eastern Highlands and Nyanga National Park’s tourism industry.
“During that period a number of businesses, including bed and breakfasts, hotels, lodges and inns, were closing as a result of financial difficulties. It was difficult to keep things running at such a time. The idea of the Mutarazi Falls SkyWalk and SkyLine was our answer,” said the director.

After a year of construction, the SkyWalk and SkyLine were finally completed and opened to the public in December 2017.
“According to our understanding, the SkyWalk and SkyLine are the tallest zipline and cable-suspended footbridge in the world, respectively, over the second-highest waterfall in Africa at 762 meters high,” he said.
The SkyWalk and SkyLine were constructed to international standards and in some aspects set new benchmarks, meeting all civil engineering requirements and going through a rigorous engineering, ZimParks, ecological and community sign-off process. It was constructed with the utmost consideration for the environment under National Park’s guidance.
Cragg is enthusiastic about SkyWalk and SkyLine’s popularity as a driving force behind the Eastern Highlands’ economic transformation. Since it was established, Zimbabwe’s tourist sector has benefited from its success and is destined for increased growth.
“Post the development of the SkyWalk there have been numerous
re-openings of different hospitality businesses in the area. The Eastern Highlands had become a forgotten destination until the building of the SkyWalk and SkyLine, but Nyanga’s tourism has been reinvigorated; we are grateful to be part of this positive upturn” said Cragg.
SkyDeck Mountain Retreat:
The first five-star lodge in the Eastern Highlands is called The SkyDeck Mountain Retreat. Exclusivity is on another level with a max of ten guests, this bespoke boutique mountain lodge with its dramatic unobstructed views of the Nyanga National Park, is one of a kind.
A rejuvenating peace is tangible as the lodge immerses you into the magnificent Mount Nyangani, Pungwe Gorge and Honde Valley surrounds. It opened in 2020 primarily as an exclusive high-end destination.
“Zimbabwe’s first ultra-luxury boutique mountain resort has been a major accomplishment”.
There is no doubt that such innovations by Far and Wide over the years have had a significant effect on the positive development of the Eastern Highlands and tourism in Zimbabwe in general, as evidenced by Far and Wide being awarded “Tourism Business of the Year” and “Tourism Innovation” (Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe – 2017).

Text by Martin Chemhere from
DESTINATION ZW EDITION 8

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