Death of Paradise at Inn On The Vumba

Death of Paradise at Inn On The Vumba


It's that epic feeling of hurt.

When Adam wanders back to where Eden used to be and his 'return To Eden' is not too pleasant at all. In fact, it is shocking. 


Past Glory...the Lounge at Inn On The Vumba in the days of paradise now long gone!

Inn On The Vumba was the jewel of the Vumba mountains. And so it is with confidence that I insisted to my two friends that it was the place to go for our two night visit to Zimbabwe's Eastern highlands.

This time of the year there would be the curtains of mist fog and showers of rain as the ghosts of the mountains beauty wept every morning while the brave birds sang songs of freedom in the midst of the palpable cold. And the best place to be perched was on this hotel which I had called home for over a decade after my first visit in 2005.

The horror that awaited me can hardly be put into words. But as a god of prose I well and truly will make the attempt. The first sign that something was amiss is how room four smelt like a soggy carpet. wet. Unwashed. Uncared for. As if this was the epic motel room in a Tess Gerritsen book. I thought I would see a rat race across the smelly floor. i didn't....yet!

In a main bedroom area with three light only ONE was functioning or even had a light bulb at all. The other two were shells with the bulbs removed and not replaced. My heart sank. How would i explain the death of this paradise to friends i had dragged up this mountain?

As it was a late check in there was precious little i could do about the light bulbs. Room 3 was a lot better.

And now there are TV's in the rooms so perhaps watching the news could help me recovered from the shock as I saw worse catastrophe than my room and feel better that at least I wasn't in Syria. Not a chance! The TV was down and so it was in room four where my mates were! Brilliant.

And so I had to force myself to sleep.

The linen wasn't as crisp as my mind remembered. Neither were the beds any comfortable.

Add to that, the meal we had pre-ordered for a whopping $20 was two small tayders and some T-Bone steak whacked on a thick greasy paste. I had had an almost similar meal in the past on late check in and although it would have gone cold, it seemed best enjoyed as such. But not this time. Something was definitely wrong.

And then as i tried to force myself to sleep, the rats in the ceiling started to light their Olympic torch and did they just enjoy their games?

Come early morning and there i was in the breakfast room for breaky. Soiled napkins on the table and a less than convincing full house what i had to deal with. The sausage tasted like roadkill stuffed in a sheath of thin latex.

The girls decided against eating it. And so we left for the day's work wondering what had hit us. We had to rush down the mountain because as there was no network on the hill, we were cut out from communication. Usually we log onto the WiFi. But like everything else at the Inn, there was no WiFi anymore. It probably hadn't been paid for. And so everything had to be done in Mutare city. Beautiful.

Until day two when we were about to check out as fast as we possibly could did we know the cause.

An unhappy team of workers were whingeing about how the new owner did not care about listening to complaints that the rooms weren't in tip top shape. And how he wasn't paying people on time. And how he was all thumbs about the business of hospitality. And that the rats had nibbled on the TV cables. And that the old owner, one Gordon Addams, had left the business. And that the Inn On The Vumba was NO LONGER part of the Inns Of Zimbabwe franchise. Apparently it is being run by one Gift Mdhlayo who, excuse the pun, has no GIFT running hotels if anything. Sad!

Now that was the cause! And with the Addams chap left the standards. It was a mess. It probably still is.

Mercy asked us on check out whether we would come back again. Fat chance!

If there was room at the Inn On The Vumba when Jesus Mary and Joseph were stranded in Bethlehem, chances are they would have preferred to stick it out with the cows, sheep and fresh smell of dung in the stable than get a free room at Inn On The Vumba. At least it smells better than damp carpet!

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