Chinhoyi Caves
*Tourist Resort
  • Tourist Attraction
Sleeping Pool
The sleeping pool at Chinhoyi caves

Chinhoyi Caves is a tourist resort/attraction located just nort west of Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West Province. The place hosts local, regional and international tourists who visit the country to have a realistic grasp of the country's diverse and heartening natural environment. They are 8 km West of Chinhoyi. [1] [2]

Approaching the caves from ground level, the unsuspecting first-time visitor is rewarded with an unforgettable sight. fifty meters down a sheer drop lies a seemingly bottomless pool of the most vibrant, vivid azure, startlingly in its contrast against the ochre African earth:


See Wildlife, Zimbabwe.

Main Attractions

Most people visit the place to view the ancient "dark" caves and the "Sleeping Pool" known as Chirorodziva in the local Shona language.

Sleeping Pool

Also known as the silent pool, it's known for its clear blue water. The pools are in what is called the The Wonder Hole and are the main feature of the Caves The Caves consist of a system of tunnels and caverns. This system is a dying one (in geological time spans), in that they are slowly collapsing. These collapses can be noticed by the sink holes and depressions within the surrounding area.

The walls or sides of the Wonder Hole drop vertically down for 50 meters to the Sleeping Pool. Exploration by the Zimbabwe Sub-Aqua Spelaelogical Research Group has revealed that the depth of the water in the Sleeping Pool varies between 80 meters and 91 meters, although it may go much further, and no one has ever reached the bottom. This fluctuation in depths is attributable to the amount of rainfall received in a particular season. Several under water passages have been found leading from the Sleeping Pool, but all those so far explored lead back into the Pool.

Some visitors, mainly foreigners, dive into the pool to view and explore it. Local Shona people however mostly believe in superstitions and seldom venture near the water.


Chinhoyi Caves Clear Blue Water

It was believed that prior to that the Caves were being used as a stronghold by an outlaw called Nyamakwere who murdered many victims by throwing them into the Silent Pool. The notorious Nyamakwere was eventually defeated and killed by a Headman called Chinhoyi who became a Mashona Chief, hence the name Chinhoyi given to the nearby town. Chief Chinhoyi and his followers used the Caves as a refuge from raiding tribes such as the Matabele. Until a few years ago the remains of Chief Chinhoyi's grain bins could be seen in some of the underground passages.

The traditional name for the Caves is "Chirorodziva" which means the "Pool of the Fallen". The name was derived from an incident which took place in the 1830s when the Angoni Tribe, who were moving northwards surprised people living near the Caves and flung them into the pool.

Development of the caves area as a tourist attraction centre began in earnest from 1917. Construction work was carried out to make the caves accessible and safe to tourists. The Rhodesian government had steps cut leading into the Silent Pool and Dark Cave, erecting fences in several parts to serve as guardrails. 33 convicts were employed to cut steps leading to the Dark Cave and Sleeping Pool. [4]

The area close to the caves was first declared a National Monument and in 1957 it was declared a National Park with its existing boundaries (148 ha). It was then redesignated as a Recreational Park in 1975. As such it falls under Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority. [5]

There is the Chinhoyi Caves Motel near the caves. [1]


  1. [Mary Akers (ed.), Encyclopaedia Rhodesia] (The College Press, Salisbury, 1973) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
  2. [Vincent Leroux (Ed), Secret Southern Africa: Wonderful places you’ve probably never seem], Secret Southern Africa, (AA The Motorist Publications, Cape Town, 1994), Retrieved: 21 April 2021
  3. [Secret Southern Africa Measureless caverns on the road to Kariba], (AA The Motorist Publications, Cape Town, 1994) Retrieved:28 January 2022
  4. [Zimbabwe’s Chinhoyi Caves: 1845-1945], Vimbai C. Kwashirai, page 93.
  5. [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 25 July 2019