LAKE CHIVERO RECREATIONAL PARK
Lake Chivero Recreational Park is about 6 100 hectares in extent including the 16 km long lake.The shoreline of the entire water body covers approximately 48 kilometres. The lake area holds about 250 000 million litres of water and is approximately 26sq km (2 632 ha).
At its widest point the lake stretches for 8 km. The dam wall is 400 metres long and the lake measures approximately 27m deep at full supply level at the dam wall. Construction of the lake took 2 1/2 years and was completed in 1952 at a cost of $2,000,000.00.
The game park which opened in 1962 occupies around 1 867 hectares and holds a variety of game; most of which has been introduced from the Hwange game reserve. Additional game was brought in from Lake Kariba during the game rescue operation better known as "Operation Noah".
The park, also known as Lake Mcllwaine Recreational Park, was first named in memory of the late Sir Robert Mcllwaine, a former judge of the High Court and founder of Zimbabwe's Soil and Water Conservation movement. This water body is Harare's (the capital city of Zimbabwe) main water supply.
The animals that are easily sighted in the park are white rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, kudu, waterbuck, tsessebe, ostrich, eland, sable, baboon, monkey, duiker, warthog, bush pig, rock hyrax, scrub hare, spring hare, bush squirrel. The park also has a variety of nocturnal species that include civet, genet, black backed jackal, porcupine, slender/ white tailed mongoose, caracal, pangolin, ant bear, serval, bushbaby, night ape and several other species.
There is a great variety of birdlife and for the birdwatcher, the Park is a paradise. Included amongst the several bird species are: African Open Bill Stork, Barbets, Bee-eaters, Buzzards Coots, Cormorants, Doves, Hamerkops, Jacanas, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Darter, Goliath Heron, Fish Eagle, Glossy Starling and Lilac-breasted Roller.
Lake Chivero is a habitat for several common fish species including: Tiger fish, Yellow fish, Hunyani salmon, Black bream, Robustus, Green headed bream, Aquilla Nebulosa, Clarius Garicpnus, Oreochomus Niloticus, Common Grass Carp, Barbel, etc. Popular fishing tournaments are based on species like Common Grass Carp, Barbel and Robustus.
Typical of high veld vegetation, the park is dominated by brachystegia woodland and miombo woodland. Brachystegia and Julbernada globiflora with associated trees such as terminalia saricea, parinari curatellifolia and monotes glaber create a variety of food for the browsers.
Facilities at Lake Chivero include lodges, chalets, caravan and picnic sites. Lake Chivero is electrified and the water is drawn from a borehole. All lodges and chalets are fitted with outside lighting and clean water at all units.
Lodges are self catering units that contain bedroom units, lounge and a kitchen. Cutlery and crockery are provided. Presently lodges are only available at the north bank.
There are two standard lodges, Sunbird and Stonechat lodges. These are two bedroomed units.
There are 3 exclusive lodges, one located near the tourist office and the other two 1.5 km from the tourist office. Hornbill, the lodge at the tourist office is a two bedroomed facility.Fish Eagle and Kingfisher lodges are located on a hill 1.5 km from the tourist office. The lodges have a unique view overlooking the plain and lake below. The lodges each have two bedrooms.
There are two types of chalets. All chalets have external communal ablution (toilet) blocks. The single chalets are one bedroomed facilities with a small sitting area. The next level of chalets, are the three roomed ones that boast of two bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen.
Bushman's Point and Public Mooring are undeveloped campsites available in the South Bank.
Caravan and Camping Sites
The Msasa caravan and camping site is situated at the North Bank which is about 29 km from Harare using a separate entrance. The facilities offer braai stands and an ablution block that includes showers, both cold and hot water, firewood is also supplied at the spot.
Lake Chivero Recreational Park boasts of a wide array of activities.
Horse riding is conducted every day except Mondays. There are two rides which take place per day, one at 0800hrs to 0930hrs and the other at 1530hrs to 1700hrs. Each ride is 1 1/2 hours long. All rides are conducted under the guidance of the parks personnel. Horse rides cannot be done when it is raining or promising to rain. Charges for the rides and any details on extra rides can be obtained from the tourist office.
Conducted between 0700hrs and 1700hrs. the crocodile ponds are a walking distance from the tourist offices and main rest camp. Charges for the activity can be obtained at the tourist office.
This activity is open to the public all year round. Gates are open for game viewing daily from 0600hrs until 1800hrs. All clients are only allowed to enter the park when driving. Walking and cycling are strictly prohibited unless with express authority and only in the company of a designated park officer. Clients are allowed to drive around the park on their own using designated roads only. If required, a guide can be hired from the tourist office.
Game walks are conducted at the tourist's chosen time but they must be booked a day before. A guide takes tourists for a walk for at least an hour but no more than five hours a day per group, unless it is an educational tour. It is important to note that prior arrangement is required before this activity can be carried out.
The tennis is open all year round for a fee. The court has a clay surface. Rackets are supplied at the tourist office but clients must supply their own tennis balls. The charges per hour of usage of the court can be obtained from the tourist office.
Adjacent to the tennis court. Visitors also have to supply their own balls.Swimming PoolThere are two swimming pools situated next to the lodges and chalets. The pools are functional during the dry season.
The main and most sought out activity at the park; fishing is conducted all year round. There are 5 fishing and picnic sites in the park.
Skull, Bone and Snake Identification
This is done mainly at the tourist office where the skulls and bones are housed at a small trophy shed.
Water based activities
Recreational activities include yachting, boating, rowing, angling and canoeing. Launching fees apply and visitors will have to consult the tourist office or central reservations office on the prevailing charges.
Why Visit Lake Chivero?
• Quality fishing spots
• Proximity to Harare (capital city)
• Good game viewing experience
• Excellent water based activities
• How to get to Lake Chivero Recreational Park
• South Bank Directions
The park is only 32 km from the capital along the Harare - Bulawayo highway. The left turn off just after Manyame River Bridge leads to the dam wall and the spillway. Before reaching the wall a right hand fork road clearly sign posted leads to the game park entrance and rest camp.
The road condition is normally above average even though it is a dust road. During the rainy season, parts of the road may become muddy. It should be noted that the park has never closed due to inaccessibility.
Once in the park, there are some side roads that may need a four wheel drive during the rainy season. These are Bateleur and Eland Drives on the western area and Reedbuck, Tsessebe Drive and Giraffe vlei in the central area of the park. Four wheel-drive may be required when driving on Ostrich Loop and Impala drive.