Kyle Recreational Park is 16 900 hectares in extent. Of the total Park area, 9 300 hectares is occupied by the lake (Lake Mutirikwi) at full supply level. The dam was constructed in 1960 and that same year the Park was established.
The Park itself exists as a secondary resource, the primary reason for the construction of Kyle Dam was to act as an irrigation reservoir for the lowveld farming estates. Due to the fact that Lake Mutirikwi’s total annual yield of water is committed, the level of the lake is subject to considerable fluctuation.
The Park area is bounded on the north by the Beza Range which rises to a height of 1485m. Between this range and Lake Mutirikwi, is an undulating plain averaging 1070m above sea level. The plain terminates in an area of broken hills dividing Lake Mutirikwi into to two main areas: east and west. Four main estuaries are a feature of the lakeshore in the central section of the area. Great Zimbabwe, Africa’s second largest ancient stone structure, is situated on the Southern side of the Park while Masvingo city which derives its name from the afore-mentioned ancient stone city is to the west of the Park.
On the south of the lake, granite hills dominated by almost bare whalebacks of solid rock occupy the area. The Park originated from traditional communal land formerly occupied by the Basutu and Kalanga tribes.
Animals found in the Park
The Park is home to more than 25 species of wild mammals. Some commonly sited animals include; buffalo, common duiker, eland, impala, kudu, reedbuck, warthog, waterbuck, white rhinoceros, widebeest, zebra, giraffe, squirrel, blackbacked jackal, leopard, honey badger, rockdassie, hippopotamus, ostrich, crocodile and porcupine. Some of the rare species include; antbear, bushbuck, bushpig, klipsringer, sable and steenbuck.
Fish found in and around the lake
• Largemouth bass – important & popular angling fish found in most areas
• Nembwe – Popular angling fish found in all areas
• Greenhead bream – Move in shoals found in most areas
• Sabi/ red breasted bream – Found in most areas
• Mozambique bream – Not very common
• Black bream – Rarely found
• Limpopo sardine – Important fodder fish
• Three spot minnow – Rarely exceeds 12 cm
• Spotted minnow – Rarely exceeds 10 cm
• Hamilton barb – Rarely exceeds 12 cm
• Straight fin barb – Rarely exceeds 12 cm
• Beira barb – Rarely exceeds 10 cm
• Southern kneria – Found in small rivers and streams
• Spotted catlet – Never exceeds 7 cm
• Mottled eel – Weighs up to 18 kg
• Eastern bottlenose – Likes very deep rocky areas
• Smallmouth yellow fish – May exceed 3 kg
• Red spotted mudsucker – Mainly a riverine species
• Red-eye mudsucker – Found in all areas
• Catfish or barbell – May travel overland at night
• Banded bream – Rarely exceeds 15 cm
The vegetation varies from small patches of evergreen riverine species, through thicket woodland, open woodland, grassland and rocky hills to a barren zone along the lake shore which is subject to periodic inundation and which supports only a sparse cover of annual herbs and grasses.
The vegetation changes from predominance of miombo woodland with brachstegia spiciformis and jubernada globiflora to thickets dominated by peltophorum africanum, terminalia sericea, comberetum and acacia karoo.