Let’s go fishing!

Nothing can match the hustle of a Zimbabwean. We are hardworking and so versatile, we easily adapt to different scenarios. Our survival instinct is so strong, it’s difficult to keep a Zimbabwean down. What we need to learn to do as well though is relax. Some of the economic activities we do can also be turned into recreational activities.

In a recent interview with Dr Emmanuel Fundira, the CEO of Astoc Leisure Group and President of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, Dr Fundira said it is important that “we involve ourselves in some recreation, where we can spend and enjoy a bit of time in the ambience of our natural resources away from the hustle and bustle from the pressures we receive when the economy is not performing so well.”

Enjoying scenic views from Kopje peak

He said to revive the local tourism industry, the economic aspect and the mind-set of the local people are critical areas that we need to work on in order to revive the domestic tourism industry.

Dr Emanuel Fundira CEO Astoc Leisure Group, President of Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe

So how do we shift the mindset? Some of the ways mentioned by Dr Fundira include an enlightenment of the various aspects that are available through education in schools, through the influence of the media and various campaigns that can educate people to shift from the thinking that international travel is better when in actual fact domestic tourism gives an enriching feeling that fuels pride in the destination.

Hardworking as the Zimbabwean people may be, it is important that we play as well. As the old cliché goes, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. We must come out and play.

Just along the Harare – Bulawayo road up to Norton, there are plenty of recreational options. Before you get to Lake Chivero there is Lion and Cheetah Park and Snake World. This is a sanctuary for lions but is also home to other wildlife. One of the greatest attractions at the park is Tommy the Galapagos tortoise who is over 200 years old.

Tommy the Galapagos tortoise – over 200 years old.

Camping facilities are available at the park for a minimum charge of $40 so instead of a day trip, an overnight stay can be done here too at Shumba Camp. Shumba Camp can accommodate four doubles and two singles. Also near the park is Snake World which has a wide variety of venomous and non-venomous snakes found in Zimbabwe. In terms of costs one should budget $10 for adults and $5 for children entry into the park and $5 per adult and $3 per child to enter Snake World.

Shumba Camp – Lion and Cheetah Park
Shumba Camp – All camping gear provided

One of the issues with domestic tourism mentioned by Dr Fundira was the economic aspect. Travel is directly linked with disposable income which many Zimbabweans do not have. As a starting point, if one wants to spend a night or two out, National Parks offers some very affordable accommodation and whilst there, fishing and bird watching are some of the activities that can be done at the National Parks along Harare- Bulawayo Road.

If fishing for fun, catch and release is recommended.

Fishing is an exciting sport or past time that can be done by people of all ages. Because it is a relaxing activity, it can help to get away from the hustle of city life and routine and relieve stress. It’s a great activity for bonding with family and friends and if you’re lucky or skilled, you may just go home with your supper too. Living and working in the capital city, you may feel there is no time or there are no places close enough to enjoy this.

Lake Chivero is a perfect place for this and is just 37km from Harare. There are various lodges by the lake in addition to the National Parks lodges such as Samaki Grill and Leisure Centre. This is a family friendly establishment with accommodation starting from $25 serviced accommodation per night. It is by the Lakeside so the views and sunsets are magical. As a bonus over the weekends, a live band is often present to help you unwind if you’re not on the Lake canoeing or fishing.  There are plenty of braai spots available as well as a play area for the children.

Sunset at Samaki Grill and leisure Gardens

What I love about National Parks is that, not only is it cheaper than usual but each park has got a special characteristic. Lake Chivero for example, is known as a ‘White Rhino Haven’, and yes, if you are lucky you will spot some rhino grazing or browsing. You can increase your chances of finding the rhino by actually going on a rhino trail with one of the guides, which is one of the many activities you can do. Fishing requires permits from National Parks and at Lake Chivero whilst some people fish for recreational purposes it is also a traditional form of employment for locals. 

For others, the preferred fishing spot, is at Darwendale Recreational Park which is just 36 km from Norton where Lake Chivero is, and about 76KM out of Harare. The park is also under National Parks and is known as the ‘Heart of Peace’. Some of the species of fish you can catch at Lake Manyame which is in the park are the Mozambican bream, bass fish and hunyani salmon. The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has unveiled plans to development Kariba so it becomes the destination of choice. Kariba is renowned for its’ tiger fish and tiger fishing tournaments held at Kariba attract fishing fanatics from all over the world. So if fishing is a sport, this is something to aim for. Lodges are also available at Darwendale Park as well as picnic sites, campsites and caravan sites.

Lake Kariba

Another activity that can be done whilst fishing is bird watching. The two places mentioned Lake Chivero and Darwendale National Parks are some of the many perfect places for this in Zimbabwe. Dr Fundira highlighted that birding was one of the unique aspects of Zimbabwe tourism that we as locals can tap into. He says in a recent meeting he attended online, it was revealed that there are possibly 800 bird species in the world and 650 of those are found in Zimbabwe.

Kuimba Shiri is a bird sanctuary located at Lake Chivero which houses up to 400 species of wild birds. It is the only bird rehabilitation centre in Zimbabwe and they have bird shows daily. There is a small charge to get in but what you learn and see far outweighs the charge offered. Birds such as the Marshall and fish eagles can be seen at the sanctuary. There is also a restaurant and chalets should you choose to spend the night there.

Kuimba Shiri – Lake Chivero. Kuimba means sing shiri means birds

The Harare – Bulawayo Road up to Darwendale, has countless traditional food and barbecue options. I have had some of my best ‘gango’ meals in this area around Kuwadzana just as you leave Harare. Gango is when different types of meats are barbecued and mixed with different veggies then served with sadza. A great hearty meal and the perfect welcome to Zimbabwean cuisine.


After considering these options and the budget is still constrained or there are challenges with fuel, and you still want to visit a fishing spot, if you are in Harare, Kingfisher Park in Emerald Hill is a perfect location for fishing. Its a great family location with foefie slides, jungle gyms and braai spots. So it is a perfect location for a day outing or to go for a celebration.

Kingfisher Park

I conclude with a question asked by Dr Fundira, “How do we (Zimbabweans) expect visitors to appreciate our product when we ourselves as locals don’t patronise it?” There is so much to do, and we are blessed to have so many different places to do this. If you are not in Harare, there are many dams within cities and towns and rural areas to explore. Find out from local authorities what the fishing regulations are or if there are any levies or fees that need to be paid, often if they are there, they are minimal. Go and appreciate, nature, appreciate creation and live life. If nature is not for you and you are more of a historical tourist, along the same Harare- Bulawayo road is the National Heroes Acre which has a museum. You can learn about the country and the liberation struggle there.

National Heroes Acre – Harare

Some general tips for the travel mentioned:

  1. Safety always comes first, particularly near water bodies. Life jackets are necessary even for avid swimmers.
  2. It’s also important to go with other people, when going fishing who can help in case of emergencies.
  3. Get a fishing permit or find out if entry fees include the fishing permit.
  4. The animal sanctuaries mentioned have got animals in rehabilitation or enclosed animals but this does not make them tame. Follow instructions given by guides and take necessary precautions. 
  5. Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints.

Take a break from the grind, relax and have fun! Stay safe!

Happy Travelling!

Travel Shows Blog

Insights into the state of Tourism in Zimbabwe

In this lively and informative chat, I speak to Dr Emmanuel Fundira who is a guru in the Travel and Tourism industry. He shares his thoughts on how well Zimbabwe managed the COVID-19 situation and gives some insights as to why the domestic tourism market has struggled. Dr Fundira has held many titles in the Zimbabwe Tourism Industry and holds many positions one of them being the President of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe. He is also the CEO of Astoc Leisure Group. He is well respected globally and brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise.

Other conversations that I have had with Dr Fundira can be found on the following links below:

The Relationship between Politics and Tourism

The Role of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe


An open letter to the Travel and Tourism Industry

Globetrotting with Mazwi Shamu, is about where to go, how to go, what to do and how to do it. But, it is not just about marketing tourism destinations and encouraging people to visit places. That’s a small fraction of it. The main purpose is to inform and educate as well as highlight issues within the Travel and Tourism industry and seek recourse and redress from relevant authorities. Within all of that, tips for travel will be given. Ultimately ensuring “Happy Travelling”.

The last article which emphasised embracing culture ended on the People as being one of Zimbabwe’s ‘wonders’. The people in a destination can make or break tourism. Many times our choice to visit certain places is influenced by the people. For this reason, in this article, I have chosen to write an open letter to the players in the tourism industry concerning the local people.

Recently, a draft Strategic Tourism Plan was discussed by Permanent Secretary Munesu Munodawafa as well as a wide spectrum of people ranging from tourism operators, captains of the tourism industry, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s CEO, Mr Givemore Chidzidzi, the President of Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe Ms Winnie Muchanyuka and her Chairman Mr Paul Matamisa to the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry himself Honourable Nqobizita Ndlovhu.

There was also a massive public audience that streamed online through various social media platforms. Industry issues were thrown into the forum and some criticised whilst others complemented and though only some of the public comments were addressed, the meeting ended with people being assured that all contributions will be looked at and will be considered in the next draft document. What was clear from all the discussions and presentations made was that the Domestic Market was going to be developed as the driving force of the rebirth of the new tourism industry post COVID19.

As we are in a season of reshaping the tourism industry, everyone seemed to be speaking up about their desires. Everyone appeared to be represented at the meeting, however, no one seemed to be representing the ordinary, local person, who is actually the main custodian of the domestic market. As usual, people talked about what should be done to the destination and how it should be done, some with more emotion than others. Others spoke as the tourist and aired out their frustrations with the local tourism industry and tourism board.

In my previous articles, I introduced what I termed as Backyard Tourism. As a follow up to this I spoke about the need to respect the local environment and the culture of the people and expanded on various aspects such as conservation and the people working behind the scenes and most recently, I spoke about the need to embrace culture. In this article, I stand as an advocate for the ordinary local person, who may or may not be travelling, but lives in the destination that people may be visiting. What are they as local people gaining from tourism development in their destinations?

As I have travelled far and wide, what has struck me the most is the condition of the local people within some destinations. Be it the Caribbean, which has some of the most stunning resorts, Zanzibar, an African dream destination and our very own Kariba which has got stunning and breath taking views. But, within inches of some of these resorts in these top destinations is poverty and squalor.

 How is it that such popular destinations fail to address the locals within the area? Why is there no reinvestment into the local destination? Reinvestment in terms of better roads, better housing, better jobs generally better living conditions. Tourism is a low hanging fruit and many can take advantage of that. We talk of tourism dollars transforming economies. How about we start at home.

It is time we as the owners of tourism within destinations start building tourism so that it is loved and respected and not resented by the locals. In the next article we will investigate programs such as Campfire and their contribution to community based tourism. Some resorts have great community projects set up but this at times is at a small scale. When done at destination level and not at individual level, much can be achieved. It’s both a shame and an embarrassment to talk of a thriving tourism destination and yet there is abject poverty in the same destination. The local people should be one of the biggest tourism stakeholders. They are allowing tourism to happen amicably in their destination. Let’s show them some respect and give them some love. Love in the form of jobs, in promoting their businesses, in giving them better standards of living as well as education.

Teach us, as the local people, how we can help you as the tourism organisation. Pride will come naturally for the people in the destination when they understand and they are involved. Backyard tourism will be effortless. There are many unexploited places within Zimbabwe in our Backyards and for many, it is the local person who will need to be the front runner in the destination showing tourists around. As we return to some kind of normalcy, I make a plea to Travel and Tourism organisations, not to forget their local communities.  I urge them to push for better standards of living in their communities. After all, it is these communities that will ensure “Happy Travelling”.

#Travel Tomorrow #Happy Travelling