Leopard Rock

Set high in the picturesque Bvumba mountains, overlooking neighbouring valleys and mountain ranges, Leopard Rock Hotel is one of Zimbabwe's most attractive resort destinations.

The hotel has a fine historical tradition, having been operational since 1948. It was extensively rebuilt and refurbished in the mid-1990s, since when it has played host to local and foreign visitors of all kinds, including holidaymakers, business travellers, conference delegates, gamblers and golfers, all of whom have something special to enjoy in and around the hotel.

Leopard Rock has been a name well known to travellers in Southern Africa since the early 1950s, when – soon after opening – it had the fortune to play host to two very important guests: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and her younger daughter, Princess Margaret. Both women loved the hotel and its setting and the Queen Mother said at the time there was “nowhere more beautiful in Africa.”

This fame spread and for most of the succeeding years the hotel has hosted many other guests, who have discovered and enjoyed all or some of the features that the Queen Mother so clearly found endearing.
The hotel can be found in the Bvumba mountains of Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands and is, in fact, one of the two highest-situated hotels in the country, nearly 2 000 metres above sea level. Bvumba is a word meaning ‘mountains of mist’ and this accurately describes the scene often found at the hotel and surrounding estate, especially during the rainy season and in the winter months.

Fungai Makani, general manager of the hotel, said guests were always most fascinated by the positioning of the hotel, adjacent to the Chinyakwaremba mountain, half of which thousands of years ago ‘fell down’ and created a perfect perch for the hotel now lying at its foot.

“They also enjoy our unique range of facilities and amenities, which provide them with enough to keep them busy and active for several days, making simple overnight stops less than fulfilling, in our view,” he said.
 The Leopard Rock of 2012 has 58 suites and bedrooms, three restaurants, a convivial bar and lounge, a casino, an 18-hole, championship-rated golf course and a venue for small or medium-sized conferences, delegates for which can be accommodated within the hotel and in neighbouring hotels and lodges. The construction of the hotel features a French Chateau style, with turrets and other features that make the buildings both attractive and in keeping with local surroundings.

Within the extensive grounds are a game park, as well as a large area covered with a unique Afro-montane forest, the last example of the type of forest that covered much of Southern Africa’s highlands thousands of years ago. Within the surrounding Bvumba and Mutare areas are a range of visitor attractions and activities that will keep guests enjoyably active for a number of days, gaining maximum benefit from the hotel’s positioning. Guests who will find the most enjoyment range from holidaymakers wanting a break to people holding weddings, conferences and special events, as well as golfers – who will experience a golf course hosting the most attractive views of any in Southern Africa – and people who enjoy gambling in the hotel’s own casino.

Refurbishment of the hotel has been a key focus during the past year or so, with more than $1,8 million being spent on it in 2010 and a further $500 000 during 2011. This activity has brought standards of rooms and public areas to those expected of a modern hotel by even the most discerning international travellers.

A new menu has been introduced in the hotel, devised by executive chef Gerald Tevera and his team, and includes popular dishes from the previous menu, along with a selection of new dishes that bring a fresh and exciting approach to the Leopard Rock dining experience.

Mid-week specials are run by the hotel to encourage visitors to come between Sundays and Thursdays, making the most of an area where much of the tourist traffic is weekend-based. During school holidays an entertainment director is engaged to oversee children’s activities, which range from games and use of the hotel pool to game viewing trips, walks through the ‘enchanted forest’ around the hotel and fun competitive events.

In 2011 and again in 2012 the hotel was named Zimbabwe’s Best Resort or Country Hotel by the Association of Zimbabwean Travel Agents, an honour that has stimulated the hotel staff to redouble their efforts to be one of the best hospitality operations in Southern Africa, according to Mr Makani.

“We look forward to building on these awards and on our ongoing refurbishment and standards enhancement to continue to maker this hotel and this area among the most attractive to local and foreign travellers in the region,” he said.