British tourist survives Nyanga Mountain ordeal

via British tourist survives Nyanga Mountain ordeal – Nehanda Radio 30 August 2014 by Liberty Dube

NYANGA – A dream expedition to Zimbabwe after winning a Travel Award from Oxford University in the United Kingdom turned into a nightmare for 20-year-old British tourist who nearly became a victim of Nyanga Mountain’s mystery happenings recently.

Thomas Gaisford, a second-year Human Science student, chose to come to Zimbabwe after winning the award — Wallace Watson Award Lectures — which encourages and assists undergraduate and graduate members of the college to undertake expeditions or travels of a challenging nature, in a mountainous or remote area.

In an interview on Monday, he chronicled his crunching experience at the apex of the sacred Nyanga Mountain after he had gone hiking alone.

Gaisford had climbed to the summit of the mountain as part of the award’s objective to “gain a greater ability and self-confidence in handling physical and mental adversity and a better appreciation of other cultures and ways of life”.

He said heavy fog engulfed him from around 3pm. He subsequently lost his way down the mountain and so pitched up a tent. He slept in fear, confusion and anxiety under heavy rains. He met several snakes and nocturnal animals that he never dared disturb.

“I had heard lots of strange stories about the mountain, but I never believed them,” said Gaisford.
“I climbed to the summit of the mountain. It was very difficult, but I endured up to the top. I was caught in a mist as soon as I reached there. I started getting uncomfortable and scared after heavy rains started falling. The fog engulfed the whole place I was and surprisingly it was in the afternoon, around 3pm. I could not see anything. I was confused. I lost my way down and pitched tent.

“I prayed and slept there for 10 hours. Several scary snakes approached me. I never disturbed them. They came in numbers, but I stood still. Various animals frequented the place and I could see shining red eyes of several animals staring at me. My character was tested. I remained steadfast. I woke up the following morning after the fog had cleared. I climbed down before I proceeded to Leopard Rock on foot,” he said.

Gaisford said before he climbed up the mountain, villagers in surrounding areas in Nyanga had warned him against the idea since an Indian (Zayd Dada) had disappeared after embarking on a similar task.

Concerned villagers had also advised him about other strange and unusual things that took place in the past.

“I tried to put that (past mysteries) at the back of my mind. I never consulted traditional leaders before I embarked on the expedition, but I later realised that I should have done that. I am happy to be alive. There is more to experience. I have learnt a lot about Zimbabwe and about myself,” said Gaisford.

The tourist who said he had lost a lot of weight proceeded to Leopard Rock on foot before he went to Chimanimani.

“It was an exciting, but difficult expedition. I walked extensively and saw areas like Penhalonga, Cashel Valley, Burma Valley and Outward Bound in Chimanimani. I got the chance to attend Chimanimani Arts Festival and I was delighted to witness Oliver Mtukudzi’s performance. I was excited because Oliver is very popular in the UK,” he said. Manica Post

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 15
  • comment-avatar
    The Mind Boggles 8 years ago

    “Several scary snakes approached me” and ” I could see shining red eyes” me thinks this boy had puffed on some exceptionally good mountain cabbage!!!!

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    Angela Wigmore 8 years ago

    Ignore local folklore at your peril! Mt.Nyangani has long been revered as a sacred and mysterious place with many people lost in those sudden swirling mists, never to be seen again. Can anyone recall any of those tales? (I’ll check if there’s anything on the Web.)

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    The Mind Boggles 8 years ago

    It’s simply called disorientation Angela , lost cold and confused , no mambo jambo I’m afraid.

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    avenger/revenger 8 years ago

    Naive gullible pommie like his Whitehall cretins at f.c.o.

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    All the years I slept in the bush never had any snakes approach me at night or day. A good story to tell the folks back home that wouldn’t know any different.

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    Angela Wigmore 8 years ago

    Agreed Dino. I think there’s an old saying that if you’re afraid of snakes you’ll trip over them but, if not, you wont ever see them. I’ve had a few close encounters with other wildlife but none I would consider life-threatening. One was lions walking through our plot, but I was safely tucked-up indoors. The other was hippos around my tent on an island in Kariba. I felt sorry for our ”boat-hand” who was sleeping outside the tent! As for any others – I don’t know – I was asleep!

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    Mlimo 8 years ago

    What grass was this fool smoking. Eastern district grass is well known for its strength. I am sure many snakes approached him huddled in his tent on a mountain high with smoke from the weed obscuring his vision. What a load of baloney.

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    How do you get down to Leopard Rock from nyangani over a hundred kilometers away ? Confused story …

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    henry 8 years ago

    One rainy night in a tent? How is this news?

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    deltanile 8 years ago

    I would appreciate it if someone would actually research this as from my research there no such a person that exists. Apparently Oxford University have never heard of the prize and they have no such person. Please research. This article is false

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    Nyamhute Zuwarabuda 8 years ago

    If I remember correctly, it must be the same mountain where the two teenage daughters of Dr. Tichaendepi Masaya, who is from the same area, disappeared during the early ’80s. Dr Masaya, if I remember correctly, was once a minister in the Zimbabwean government (when it was still a respectable government).

    As I recall, the army and airforce launched an intensive search for the girls, but, sadly, they were never found.There must be something mysterious up those misty-shrouded mountains.

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    Mlimo 8 years ago

    That Thomas who went to Oxford was born in 1779. Bit old to be wandering around eastern districts. Not sure how he got from his grave but then Mugabe is a walking corpse

  • comment-avatar

    i bought him weed he was high

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    Sam Ganyata 6 years ago

    the problem letting people in cities comment on forest happenings in primitive settings like Zimbabwean rural areas is they apply their unfortunately limited experiences and logic.l do have theories of my own though.These areas have exceptional energy and to me are natural portal zones where the inhabitant creatures have somewhat heightened levels of awareness and intelligence. The locals in their limited means of explaining the strange occurances in these mountains conclude they are inhabited by ghosts and or spirits.I think if you give inter dimensional interference a chance there are no better places for this to occur than the sacred mountains of zim.If you want to experience the feeling of loss of time visit these mountains (and they are many in Zimbabwe)and don’t forget to carry a compass but my best advice is visit the local spiritual leaders first and get permission. This way you won’t endup a missing statistic but l guarantee you will get your fair share of losing time and being misled by your compass.