Gandavaroyi Falls

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Gandavaroyi Falls is situated in Gokwe, Nembudziya in the Gumunyu area between Batanai, Bhashungwe of Hurungwe district in the Sanyati River. It is located about 100 km from Nembudziya Shops. The Gandavaroyi Falls were used to 'test' suspected witches, by throwing them into the estimated 50-metre deep gorge that is located near the falls. If they were a witch, they would be swallowed by the pool, never to be seen again. From this the Shona name “Gandavaroyi” emerged.


The falls are on the Sanyati River.
Gokwe District, Midlands Province. About 100 km from Nembudziya Shops. SW of Karoi.
Latitude: -17°16'59.99" Longitude: 29°7'59.98"
MGRS - 35KQA2677887846
Estimated elevation - 758 meters


The last recorded incident of a witch testing occurred in 1926, when Runyararo Mlambo, who was aged 20, was thrown in after the local community labelled her a witch.

It is widely believed that the spirits of the witches and wizards and those that perished at the falls in unexplained circumstances still roam the area. Very few locals dare venture near the falls.

In January 2015, a Hurungwe man mysteriously slipped and plunged down the deep gorge, and his body was never found.

In other cases, confirmed by Mr Martin Zimbeva, the local councillor, two local girls were recently attacked and killed by crocodiles near the falls. The villagers allege that in “normal” crocodile attacks, the skulls of the victims are usually retrieved since crocodiles do not consume human skulls. However, in the case of the two girls, nothing was recovered, further raising questions on what really happened to the girls.

Local traditional leaders said the falls are not “haunted” but “sacred.” “Originally, we are from Masvingo and we settled in this area in 1967. This place has been known to be sacred ever since. For close to 40 years, my elder brother was the guardian of the falls and traveled to the Matonjeni shrine at Matopo Hills to consult the spirit mediums on issues regarding the falls. ‘‘Please note that there is a difference between a haunted and a sacred place,” said 91-year-old Mr Enock Chihiya, the local headman. [1]

The Sanyati River flows into Lake Kariba, through Matusadonha National Park.

The succession of water falls are spectacular in the rainy season.

Further Reading

Stranger than FICTION: The ‘ghosts’ of Gandavaroyi Falls, Sunday Mail 26 July 2015. [1]
Gandavaroyi the Spectacular Falls, Givestar Kamuzonde, Bulawayo24, 9 Oct 2017 [2]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Stranger than FICTION: The ‘ghosts’ of Gandavaroyi Falls", "Sunday Mail", 26 July 2015, Retrieved 6 August 2019"
  2. [ "Gandavaroyi the Spectacular Falls"], "Bulawayo24", 9 Oct 2017, Retrieved: 6 Aug 2019"