hipo

Isdore Guvamombe

HIPPOS flop together, male rivalry heating up in bloody territorial fights and the vanquished male is forced to lurk hapless on the open plain until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.

Squadrons of banded mongoose dart between the acacias, shaggy waterbuck wonders on the marshy dam banks, while baboons and monkeys obviously used to human visitors, lackadaisically move on, as if nothing is happening.

Contrasting with the intimacy of the grassy savanna forest and its expansive view eastward is a seething dam, whose wall has a fantastic waterfall during the rainy season.

From the lodges, the gushing water provides an overnight symphony that accompanies the visitor into memorable deep slumber.

But prepare for intermittent sing-along from hippos who seem to be gifted more in discord than in melody, all night long.

Rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of Ngezi Dam, each one coloured green or brown, the epitome of the passer-by Great Dyke Range, Zimbabwe’s ceremonial nerve centre of minerals and subsequent mining activities.

In between the rock outcrops are flat patches of savanna land along the dam and they define 12 campsites for Ngezi Recreational Park.

With self-catering lodges run by National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the recreational park in the heart of Mhondoro, is the place where those who love nature and want to enjoy a quite weekend, away from the hullabaloo of city life can enjoy a weekend outing.

One can simply choose camping along the dam or occupying the self-catering lodges.
Being just a spitting distance from the Ngezi Platinum Mine, the park has benefited from a good quality tarred road that branches off Harare-Bulawayo Road at Halfway roundabout for 77km, before turning into a well-maintained dirt road a mere 5km to entrance of the recreational park.

In short, any vehicle can get to Ngezi, all year round. At the entrance, well-groomed rangers welcome the visitor and the directions to the lodge are well marked.
Built on a granite outcrop superimposing itself against the dam spillway are the main offices, where the road branches to the lodges, again a spitting distance from the gushing waters.

At sunrise, it is marvel to watch a rainbow insult the rising waters from the ephemeral plunge pool and fish eagles taking characteristic plunges into the water to catch fish for breakfast.

The mid-morning is characterised by a cool and soothing landward breeze that makes one to continue wander along the dam’s shore.
It is certainly not a waste of time to try a weekend outing at Ngezi Recreational Park.