lie 30 km west of Harare and are the city’s main water supply. Chivero is bordered on the south bank by the Robert McIlwaine National Park, comprised of miombo woodlands and grasslands/vleis, and has chalets and lodges, whilst the north bank has a number of boating, fishing and caravan clubs and Kuimba Shiri bird garden, where the tourist can stay. The Hunyani Range runs along the north and provides some hilly habitat and scattered small granite kopjies. The lake shores have become overgrown with waterweeds so wader habitat is nowadays restricted and the Bird Sanctuary has lost diversity due to uncontrolled human pressure. Extensive reedbeds provide habitat for waterbirds and the African Fish-eagle population is high, with
quite frequent sightings of Osprey. Manyame, formerly Darwendale Dam and Lake Robertson, is a shallower dam with flatter shores and probably now surpasses Chivero for birdlife though is difficult to appreciate without a boat – Hideaway lodge on the north bank is the only place with facilities at present.
Nearly all the heron/stork family occur on the dams, though Slaty Egret is a vagrant and Rufous-bellied Heron fairly rare. Scrutinise the large rafts of ducks on Manyame for the occasional Garganeys; the upper reaches is best and Lesser Jacana have lots of habitat here. Large numbers of African Purple Swamphens are a delight! Baillon’s Crake occur but are often ‘difficult’ unless you are sitting still. Long-toed Lapwing appear to be increasing slightly on Manyame, perhaps pushed off Kariba when water levels are high, and African Skimmer occasionally
visit, especially in drought years when vast flocks of waders gather on exposed islands and shoreline. Grey-headed Gulls are the common species but Lesser Black-backed Gulls also turn up some summers. Amongst the fish-eagles look out for Western Marsh-harriers in summer, now our commonest harrier.
Around Chivero and the game park the woodlands supply the miombo specials, though the only walking area in the game park is at picnic sites and Bushman’s Point – check granite outcrops for Boulder Chat, they also occur around the National Park lodges and on the north bank around Trader Horn Creek.
Stay at the bird-friendly spot is Kuimba Shiri Bird Park, which has a camping site as well as A-framed thatched chalets, or on Lake Manyame there is Hideaway Fishing Camp with a range of accommodation options from camping to lodges. Hildemara is in the Trelawney area NW of Lake Manhame, on a game farm with chalets.