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Mystery over disappearance of tourist in Nyanga deepens

MYSTERY surrounding the disappearance of a Zimbabwean tourist, Zayd Dada who went missing in the Inyangani Mountains eight days ago, has deepened, with no clue yet as to what could have transpired.


The search party comprising up to 80 people is facing difficult weather conditions and the complexity of the terrain has hampered rescue efforts. Zayd’s family is now pleading for local and international professional trackers, mountain climbers and hikers to come forward and assist.

“We are appealing for anyone who can help us to come forward. Time is of the essence and we are getting desperate. We need to find Zayd,” said Zayd’s elder brother Rayaaz.

“We know Zayd is somewhere out there. He is lost and probably exhausted and injured. We need to find and bring him home soon.  We are begging for anyone who can help us to please come forward.”
Thirty-one-year-old Zayd mysteriously disappeared in Mt Nyangani (formerly Inyangani), sparking off renewed public debate on myths surrounding the revered mountain range.

The mountain is the highest range in Zimbabwe and standing at a majestic 2,592 metres (8,504 ft), is surrounded by lush green forest. However the deceptive beauty masks dangerous steep edges of the plateau, fast weather changes from clear blue skies to thick fogs and a whole lot of mysterious events that allegedly take place deep in the bowels of the mountain.

For over a century, the mountain has been said to be sacred. Following the disappearance of more than five people including two children of former minister of finance Tichaendepi Masaya in the 1980s, the mountain has remained one of the conundrums of all times.

Zayd becomes the latest victim to be swallowed up in the enigmatic mountain which has once again become the centre of attraction in the otherwise quiet and serene area of Nyanga.

Police and Wildlife Management Authority officials said on Saturday January 4, Zayd who was in the company of his wife Neelam and another couple attempted to climb the mountain in the morning.

However half way up, the team got tired and decided to take a break but Zayd proceeded on his own. That was the last time he was to be seen as he failed to pitch up for hours.

According to the Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo, it takes about two hours to get to the top of the mountain and another hour to climb down but by 4pm Zayd had not returned prompting a rescue team to be dispatched into the mountain.

A reaction team painstakingly combed the commonly used path to the peak of the mountain. The following day it searched the mountain top and back down again the same path but did not find Zayd.

Since the fateful day, efforts to locate Zayd have proved fruitless and even a search by an Airforce of Zimbabwe helicopter has yielded nothing.

Some traditional healers converged at the mountain and carried out rituals, hoping to appease the spirits of the revered mountains.

It is commonly believed that if a place is sacred there are certain rules that are supposed to be followed and if these are broken, serious consequences are expected. According to folk stories, if one strayed into a scared place they would lose their sense of direction and wander aimlessly for days until some form of appeasement is conducted on their behalf by their family.

The story which has generated much interest has seen many people responding on various social media platforms.

One comment reads:  “I know some people think that the issue of “nzvimbo inoyera” (sacred place) is nothing but superstitious nonsense but I think this is what is at play here.”

Others are sending prayer messages and wishing a safe return for Zayd.

In a bid to drum up more support for the missing tourist, his family and friends have started a Facebook page titled, Let’s Find Zayd providing updates and details of the search.

24 Responses to Mystery over disappearance of tourist in Nyanga deepens

  1. Mzoli January 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    What else could one expect in ZanuLand? This is a travel advisory warning.

    • Proud Zimbabwean January 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Show a bit of respect. Nothing to do with ZANU. The mountain is treacherous. I was there with my wife in November, and we were caught in a full-blown storm on the summit. It was, frankly, terrifying. Luckily, I know the mountain reasonably well having climbed it several time. One has to give it the respect it deserves. If you do not know the route well, it would be very easy to get lost in mist or rain.

    • Soko January 12, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

      Come on! What’s that got to do with party politics.

    • muvengwa munondivengerei January 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

      Mzoli this is disgusting. You are a disgrace. Getting lost in the mist has nothing to do with politics. Grow up.

    • Shumba ye chirimuhanzu January 15, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Zidofo romunhu, does it have anything to do with ZANU PF, dzokera kuchikoro

  2. Musuri January 12, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    Lets get a few facts right.
    a) Visibility is and will always be impaired in thick fog, and in all situations where visibility is poor, accidents can and will happen.
    b) Nyanga mountains is not mysterious, let alone sacred. It is a challenging(if not dangerous) physical landscape .
    c) No appeasement of any shape or form is required. To whom? By whom? What is appeasement anyway in this context?
    d) Zimbabwe lacks basic civic protection personnel, equipment and tools even in larger cities such as Harare and Bulawayo ; Need I remind all how long it took the fire service to drive 30 odd kilometers from central Harare to Beatrice, only to arrive without the basic of basics – water to quench flames.
    Having known the mountain range to be such a hazard, yet attractive as a tourist spot, what measures have we(collectively) as Zimbabweans put in place to mitigate risk? None that I know of. For those that care, here is a few simple things we can start doing:
    1. Establish a procedure whereby, all tourists are taken on a guided trail by local climbers that know the terrain very well and all tourists and guides are mandated to wear reflective jackets locally available.
    2. Climbers or their guides must have simple tools such as a whistle/bell -yes you heard me right – to raise alert if need be.
    3. Try to set up a well know common trail to make search and rescue operations easier by limiting them to a smaller geographic area. Such a trail can be paved by local granite along the way, even if we paved only 10 metres a year, eventually we will get to the top. If we had started in 1980, we would have done 330 metres(1100 feet) by now. And this does not require any financial investment at all. Each visitor can be encouraged to collect a single boulder and place it on the trail on each visit. This idea sounds ridiculous and crazy, well find out a little about the great wall of China.

    I am sure the other 12 999 999 Zimbabweans have much better and cheaper ideas than mine.
    (And yes I grew up in the rural areas and no we didn’t and still don’t have any sacred places nor anything superstitious)

    • me January 13, 2014 at 8:43 am #

      One in a million contributors who does not talk of shortcomings only but offers solutions. Your suggestion are very simple and could be a good starting point! I dont Know you but i salute your contribution!

    • baba atatenda - mtre January 14, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

      excellent contribution.
      the parks if they can afford can introduce GPS TRACKERs

      thank you.

  3. Antonia January 13, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    How incredibly traumatic for all concerned.
    I understand from experience/holidaying in the area, the unpredictability of the environs.
    I sincerely hope and deeply pray there is a conclusion to this terribly sad event.

  4. Tororo Gayigusu January 13, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    This is a window of opportunity for our prophets to prove their worth by helping locate this man. Makandiwa woye! Where ar u? Uibert Angel woye!

  5. madzivaeleck January 14, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    saddened by the case surrounding the disappearance of your sonon Mt Nyangani. Please see L. Ruwende as soon as possable at number twelve Burnley road Workington Harare to help find your son

  6. Diva January 14, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    It seemz like and what do think about

  7. gondobwe re gono January 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    @musuri,if zimbabwe had at least ten people who think the way you do we could be somewhere better by now

  8. zimbo January 14, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    @musuri for PRESIDENT!!

  9. joe January 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    with GOD all things are possible,have faith in GOD.please find annoiting water and pray with it.

  10. marima nzara January 15, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    What evidence do we have to support what his spouse his friends are saying? they could have killed him for some unknown reason best known to them before they even got to that place. Were there any mountain guides who saw them let alone who saw Zayd? I suspect foul play….marima nzara kutaura muchinyanya…

  11. Fopo January 16, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Tourist??? Please editors don’t sleep on the job! And yes Musuri that’s quite some usefule contribution there.

  12. samson. January 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    sad story.there should be measures that anyone climbing should put on a magnetic ring,wrist band or neckchain that can be detected may not be as sharp an idea but could be useful should the missing happens not as a result of mistery.

  13. Masango anevaridzi aya January 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    guys u are half mis informed about these kumatendere (Inyangani moutains) wen u are in these moutains u cn come cross a treee with breast or something very funny the moment u comment u gone.even the use of eletronic device is of no use coz even cameras do not capture images in some sections of the moutains,the guyz who were tasked to locate Zayd using a helicopter were shocked wen their machine was forced by mystrious fog and stroung winds 60 km away.

  14. Phil H January 16, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    I think everyone should concentrate on the fact that there is a son, brother, father, uncle friend and in my case, a fellow human being in need up there. I am personally not a religious man but in times of need, people from all faiths, backgrounds etc need to pull together. Hope you come home safe pal. Phil. UK

  15. Mark January 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    It would be interesting to know how the weather conditions were at that time. If it was foggy or visibility was bad, risk of being lost is high. Up there one could wander in every direction without noticing the mistake. With clear skies, orientation though is not very difficult. I climbed this mountain with no difficulties and I never had any bad feeling hiking there on my own.

    • Mark January 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

      I don’t know the equipment the airforce has but a modern infrared camera could have been highly helpful. For the investigators: are there any witnesses who can confirm the family’s version of the story?

  16. Shiz January 18, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    I’ve followed this heart touching news since day one from the uk… All I can say is that I salute all the people who have supported the family through prayer, physical and financial support. Amazing country with amazing people.God bless you all.

  17. Mufembiri January 18, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    I share the grief with concerned family

    Possibility of robbers and kidnappers on the prowl on the mountain may not be ruled out among other possibilities.

    Its very unlikely he is still alive, but has to be found to determine what could have happened.

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