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Located 76 kilometres west of the capital city of Harare, Darwendale Recreational Park occupies a total area of 11,200 hectares.Of this area, Lake Mayame water body swallows 8,100 hectares, just under three quarters of the parks total area.
The dam wall is 2 kilometres long and the maximum water depth is 226 metres. It took about three years to construct the dam, from 1973 to 1976. The park was established in 1973 but was officially opened in 1976.
The recreational park has a small area reserved for game. Here you can expect to see the less dangerous and smaller animals, mainly herbivores. The most prevalent species are sable, kudu, waterbuck, bush pig, reedbuck, common duiker, warthog, baboon, vervet monkey, oribi and porcupine.
This park is a prime fishing destination attracting local, regional and international fishing enthusiasts. The major fish species within the lake are Mozambique and blue bream, Hunyani salmon, mud sucker, tiger fish, barbel, parrot fish, bulldog, spot tail, minnow bass and African mottled eel.
Fishing is the main attraction and bass fishing attracts thousands of enthusiasts annually. Fishing tournaments are held frequently with the most distinguished and world renowned being the Bass Masters Tournament. The record catch on 25 July 2004 was a bass weighing 18,4 pounds.
The vegetation is well fed by the thick soils made fertile by humus derived from falling leaves and dying tall grass and other plants coupled with favourable rainfall.The park is able to sustain a variety of tree species among them; musasa, munhondo, mukarati, ficus, capensis, dicyrostachys, cinera, pseudolachnostylls, maprononeifolia, euphorbia ingens, diopyros.
The park has two well sited lodges, camping sites, caravan sites, and picnic sites. Firewood for your braai and cooking purposes can be purchased from the main park office.
The park has 2 lodges situated less than 2 kilometres from the main entrance and 500 metres from the main park office. The lodges have views which overlook the water body, have 2 bedrooms each with 2 beds. There is a dining room, kitchen and bathroom with hot and cold running water for each lodge. All cooking utensils are provided complete with cutlery and crockery. The kitchens are fully equipped with refrigrators and four plate stoves with grills. Each lodge has an open air braai point where visitors can catch the fresh water breeze rising from the sprawling lake. The lodges have electricity for lighting and for energy.
The camping site is situated close to the launching point for boats making it an ideal camping point for both fishing enthusiasts and water sport enthusiasts. There are communal ablution blocks with bathrooms and showers providing both hot and cold running water. Water points and braai points are dotted around the camping site, while the lake is only a stone's throw away for those who may need fresh untreated water. For those campers who may need electricity for their sites, it can be sourced from the nearby ablution block. In such cases the Parks authorities encourage you to carry long extension cables in the event that your site may be situated a few metres away from the ablution block.
The camp site and caravan site share the same ablution facilities. Firewood for your braai and cooking purposes can be purchased from the main park office.
The picnic sites are sprinkled along the north-western shore of the lake. The beauty of the lake can be savoured from the 10 rondavels at the picnic site. Each picnic rondavel has its own individual braai point. There is also an ablution block in close proximity to all the rondavels.
The following are some of the main activities offered at Darwendale Recreational Park:
- Fishing, angling
- Boating, water skiing, yatching
- Bird watching
Why Visist Darwendale?
Challenge the staggering
Bass fishing record of 18,4 pounds ( Darwendale is one of the best angling environments in the world)
Stunning and breath taking views of the lake from the dam wall and picnic sites.
Peaceful and calm environment
Variety of water sportsTranquil bird watching environment
How to get to Darwendale Recreational Park
The best route to the park is through Norton and on to the Robert Mugabe Highway. Approximately about 23 kilometres you turn right on to the Darwendale road. There is approximately 11 kilometres from the main Robert Mugabe Highway to the Park. Alternatively, visitors can also access the park from Lomagundi/ Chirundu Road. You drive past Nkomo and Nyabira to Darwendale Growth Point. 3 kilometres from the Growth Point, you turn left into the road linking the Growth point and Robert Mugabe Highway. The road is well signposted to guide you safely to the Park.
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