Visit Zimbabwe: A day at Lake Chivero


Lake Chivero which was formally known as Lake Mcllwaine (named after former judge Sir Robert Mcllwaine founder of Zimbabwe’s soil and water conservation movement ) is the main source of drinking water for the city of Harare. The lake got its name from the local chief of that area Chief Chivero.

It is located just outside of Harare to the west and is also a popular recreational spot. It also includes a game park, Chivero National Park. The lake was constructed over two and a half years and was opened to the public in 1952 with a dam wall 400m long. The main source of the Lake is the Manyame River. The lake was designated a Ramsar wetland of international importance on 3 January 2013.

Reception at Chivero National Park where all applicable fees are paid.

Water Hyacinth floating past an island

Park rangers patrolling the park

National Park Rangers

The Park rangers go on regular patrols both on the water and on shore. I spent a whole day and didn’t see a single official. They are clearly under staffed to cover the park and the lake. So its probably a case of only working zvinoenderna ne mari yacho. No motivation and judging by the brazen poaches, they maybe in cahoots with the poachers.

Caught in open water as a storm approaches

The rainbow after the storm


While fishing we encountered some poachers, at one time they were afraid to come close after seeing my camera, but they must have been convinced that we were not a threat. While passing us they asked us for some bread to eat. It made me think about the poachers and if they are only looking to survive.

Poachers going to inspect their nets

Park officials going on a lake patrol

A poacher wades into deeper waters

Fishermen collecting their nets

Fauna at Lake Chivero

Animals in the Chivero National park include Crocodile, Waterbuck, Zebra, Impala, Grey Duiker, Ostrich, Tsessebe, Sable, Kudu, Eland, Blue Widebeast, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Roedbuck, Vervet monkey. These are the animals as stated on the interpretive signage at the reception. It does not include the Black rhino which were probably introduced later and some of the animals on this list may no longer be there.

Types of fish available are Bottlenose, Eel, Churchill, Bulldog, Robustas, Yellowfish, Red Breasted Bream, Tigerfish, Blue Bream, Barbel, large Bass, Mbiri, Green Bream, Common Grass carp,

Flora at Lake Chivero

There is a large variety of flora at Lake Chivero which includes; brachystegia woodland and miombo woodland. Brachystegia and Julbernada globiflora with associated trees such as terminalia saricea, parinari curatellifolia and monotes glaber create a variety of food for the browsers among others.

Water Hyacinth

Wild mushroom

Zimbabwe’s national flower, the Flame Lilly

Wild fruits

A variety of wild berries

A days catch, with the much smaller fish having been released on capture

We were fortunate to spot a pair of the illusive black rhino

It seems there are no crocodiles in the actual lake, but am not entirely sure.




An ostrich comes to the lakeside for a drink

Vervet Monkey

A majestic fish eagle


Effects of erosion on the banks of Lake Chivero

On the banks of Lake Chivero

Visitors enjoying some boat rides

The road is well maintained at some places

Unkempt in other places

The sun setting over Lake Chivero


Read here for more info about Lake Chivero