After 10 or more years, the little ‘Beta Café’ re-opened in Chimanimani village at Christmas 2013. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the wall art and murals painted over a decade ago, were still in place. The new manager, Gladys was proud to show off the murals. Notable among these were the ‘Living in Harmony’ mural (see picture with Gladys) featuring dancing women, and in one corner, the sketch or diagram of an epic ’1993 Caving Expedition’
On their victorious return to Chimanimani village the team of cavers, led by expert speleologist JP LeRoux, celebrated their discoveries with an exuberant dinner at the Beta Café. They sketched a diagram in felt-tip pen of their epic descent of Mawenge Mwana on the café wall, where it can still be seen today.
Many village locals still remember the caving team – and their celebration. The team of cavers was from the South African Speleological Association was accompanied by National Parks staff from Chimanimani. The expedition’s claim to fame was reaching the bottom of the Mawenji Mawena cave in the Chimanimani National park at 305 metres, a record for a sandstone/quartzite cave in southern Africa. The record still stands today. It must have been an epic trip. JPK