The Turaco Trail is set in a pristine wilderness area of the Mutarazi Falls and Nyanga National Parks in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands.  Your behavior on the Turaco Trail can help maintain the beauty, ecology and water production ability of the Nyanga National Park.

Litter
Please take all litter out with you.  Do not throw away any items even if they break down quickly.  Help us by picking up any litter you see.

Graffiti
Don’t be tempted to leave your name, messages or arrows on any rocks or trees.

Toilets
Please consider other users of the Turaco Trail.  Preferably defecate in the grasslands, at least five minutes walk away from streams, caves, paths and forests.  Dig a hole at least 20cm deep and bury faeces.

Fires
Fires are devastating to animals and plants: to reduce risk of accidents, no fires are allowed, except in designated areas.  Only the use of camping stoves is allowed.

Trails
Stick to the trails constructed for your use.  Leaving them will cause unnecessary erosion and is unsafe: please do not take short cuts.

Flowers
Do not pick the flowers – enable everyone to enjoy them and produce seeds.

Noise
Most people hike the Turaco Trail to enjoy the peace it offers.  Shouting, whistling and loud music shatter this peace.

Rocks
Take extreme care not to dislodge rocks as they endanger the lives of others, damage vegetation and even start erosion.

General

*Remember to tell someone who knows you where you are going.  Fill in the trail register at FAR and WIDE.
*Watch the weather as it can change quickly.  Do not attempt to summit Mt Nyangani in misty conditions or if there is any risk of the
weather changing.
*Always carry water and warm waterproof clothing.  Perennial water points are marked on the map.
*Don’t feed any wild animals as this makes them problem animals which may have to be destroyed.  Stand still and back away slowly
from animals.
*Report all emergencies to FAR and WIDE.
*Report any misbehavior and offences to FAR and WIDE or National Parks.

Hiking the Turaco Trail Safely

The Turaco Trail offers superb hiking and backpacking, but it also has many dangers.  Here are some guidelines which should be observed for your own safety.
Mountain Register
*Always take time to complete the mountain register correctly and in detail.
*It is very often the only information the rescue team has to go on if you have an accident or get lost.  Your life may depend on this information.
*The register is kept at the trail head at FAR and WIDE.
Remember to:
*Avoid an unnecessary search by reporting your return.
*Stick to your planned route
*Tell a close friend or family member when you expect to arrive back home
Security:
You should not meet anyone on your hike on the trail as it is a National Park and entry is strictly prohibited without a permit.  However, never leave any equipment unattended and place belongings inside your tent at night.  Please report any loiterers.
Equipment:
*Always carry a tent that is designed for mountainous conditions especially high winds.
*Temperatures at night are often below zero, even in October.  A good sleeping bag is therefore very
important, even in summer.
*Take extra food as it may save your life if the weather turns bad and you have to stay longer than intended.
*Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots are essential.  Running shoes offer no protection against rough ground or wet conditions.
*Take enough spare warm clothing, including water- and windproof jacket and over-trousers.  A jersey is useless in cold, windy conditions unless worn under a jacket.
*Remember it can rain in any month of the year in Nyanga and snow has been recorded on Mt Nyangani.
*It is essential to carry the trail map and knowing how to use it is vital.  Although the Turaco Trail is clearly marked on the map, not all game trails and traditional footpaths are.
*Always carry a whistle to use for signalling emergencies.

Whistle signals:
Help:  Series of six long blasts in quick succession with one minute intervals between each series.
Reply to help call:  Series of three long blasts in quick succession with one minute intervals between series.
Recall searchers:  Many short blasts in quick succession continuously.

*When walking in a group never split your group.  STAY TOGETHER.  WALK AT THE PACE OF THE SLOWEST MEMBER OF THE TEAM.
*Drink water often… do not wait until you are thirsty as this means you are already dehydrated.  All water along the trail is safe to
drink
*Torch with spare batteries and dry matches or a lighter are essential.  Keep them in a waterproof container.
*A comfortable rucsac to carry all your equipment.  Put all your essential items in plastic bags.  As additional insurance a waterproof pack cover is suggested.
*Carry a trowel to bury your faeces.  Don’t bury your rubbish, please carry it out (the pack it in, pack it out principle).
*Remember you must be self-reliant – there is no-one up there to help you.

Ethics:

*Respect other hikers’ privacy and behave responsibly.
*Never roll rocks down hills or over cliffs – one day you may be the unfortunate person below.
*Leave campsites as you would like to find them, and always bring all your litter back with you.
*Don’t pick the wild flowers.  Some species are extremely rare and you could contribute to their extinction.
*Fires are prohibited except in designated wild camp areas.
*Don’t leave candle wax on rocks.
*Don’t use soap in streams.  Wash your dishes and yourself well away from streams.
*Defecate well away, at least five minutes walk away from streams, paths, wild camps and forests, preferably in grasslands.

Planning:

*Plan your route carefully and obtain a weather forecast before setting out on your hike.  Cirrus clouds (high wispy clouds) are an
indicator of bad weather coming within 48 hours.
*Plan your hike with the weakest member of your party in mind.
*Remember to ensure you reach your camp site with enough daylight hours left to set up your camp and cook before nightfall.  There
are considerably less daylight hours in the winter months than in summer.
*Ensure that all participants take any medication they require with them.

Camping:

*You may camp in designated camping areas as marked on the map.
*Leave no trace of your having been there.
*Camping near rivers is dangerous because of the threat of flash floods.  Camping on exposed ridges and under tall trees is dangerous
in thunderstorms because of lightning.

Bad Weather Situations (NB Monitor the media for weather warnings):

*Bad weather:  Weather conditions can change very rapidly.  Always keep together and ensure no-one falls behind.
*Mist:  Misty conditions are frequent along the extent of the Turaco Trail.  Seek shelter and do not move until the mist has cleared
enough to see the trail.  STAY ON THE TRAIL AT ALL TIMES.  Do not take short cuts and stay together.
*Rain:  Try to seek shelter before it rains; a combination of wet, cold and windy conditions can be fatal.
*River crossing:  Extreme caution should be exercised when crossing rivers in flood.  If you are in doubt as to your safety do not
attempt to cross.  In any case always unclip you rucsac waist strap in case you have to slip out of it.  Use a river crossing
technique.
*Lightning: Avoid prominent positions, isolated trees or rocky outcrops.  The Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe has the highest lightning
strikes frequency in the world.
*Hail:  Protect your head by putting your pack on your head.

Emergency Situations:

Most of the problems encountered on the Turaco Trail are related to a physical injury, as in a fall, or to weather extremes.

Whatever the emergency, don’t panic.

*Physical injury:  If you have to help a casualty, ensure that the person’s breathing is unobstructed, give cardiopulmonary
resuscitation (C.P.R.) if necessary, stop any bleeding and dress wounds.  Make the casualty safe and comfortable.  If the injury
appears to in any way related to the spinal column, avoid moving the patient.
*Extremes of weather:  Exhaustion and exposure to cold, wet and windy weather can lead to hypothermia and eventual death.  Symptoms include uncontrolled shivering, poor muscle control and a careless manner.  Seek protection from wind, rain and cold.  Put on dry clothes, take warm drinks but no alcohol and obtain warmth by body contact with another person.  Socks can be used as gloves in cold weather.  A ten, wind- and waterproof clothing used in good time will prevent a potential problem.  Remember that exposure related problems can occur even in summer.
It is recommended that at least one member of your party is conversant with the accepted first aid treatment of hyperthermia and dehydration.
*Snake bite: is unlikely but can be serious.
If you have to assist a snake bite victim:
a) Keep the patient calm and relaxed – he or she is in no immediate danger.
b) Avoid any movement by the patient s this quickens the spread of the venom.  If necessary carry the patient.
c) Do not apply a tourniquet.  Seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
d) The rinkals is capable of spitting, in which case the eye must be rinsed immediately with water or any suitable fluid.
*Groups: it is recommended that your group consists of four to eight people and a maximum of twelve people.  A minimum of four people is recommended so that one person can stay with an injured person and two can go to find help.
Raising the alarm:

*FAR and WIDE Zimbabwe Camp: Tel 0772 469 229
Office:  Tel (029) 3011/2
*Messages should be written with details of the nature of the problem, the names of the party concerned, the number of person involved, the exact location of the party and the altitude.  This prevents the message from being misunderstood or altered while being relayed. This is very important.
*Remember, a rescue team may have to risk their lives to save yours.
PLEASE ACT RESPONSIBLY