Ken Worsley & Simon Pitt
After many years of effort made by some dedicated individuals, The Makabusi (Mukuvisi) Woodlands Association was formed on May 24th 1979 and registered as a Welfare Organisation on October 31st 1980.
Stated objectives were;
– Conserve and utilise the Mukuvisi Woodlands
– Provide and develop facilities for education in the principles and practice of nature conservation
– Environmental studies and research
– Encourage the public to appreciate the natural environment
Located 5kms from the Harare city centre lies the Mukuvisi Woodlands Nature Reserve, “a touch of the wild in the heart of the city” It welcomes the public every day of the year. On 265 hectares of the beautiful Miombo woodlands which are protected by the Mukuvisi Woodlands Association, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
There were plans in the 1970’s to turn the land over to residential and commercial stands. In a favourable ruling in a case taken to the Administrative Court, Justice Pitman advised environmental groups to combine and “use it or lose it”. The formation of the Mukuvisi Woodlands Association and a 99-year lease to run the Nature Reserve followed, there is a stipulation that the area is maintained and protected whilst providing opportunities for environmental education and recreation.
Protective measures taken include the erection of perimeter fence in 2001 to restrict the wood poaching. Repairs to one of the large, leaking municipal sewage pipes that cross through the woodlands have recently been completed through a concerted effort involving several generous private companies working together with officials from the City of Harare.
As part of the environmental education responsibilities, an Eco Schools Program was established in 2007, with annual celebrations and competitions that now involve hundreds of schools within Harare and even further afield. Weekend talk such as recent ones on wetlands, spiders, and threatened vulture species help bring adults up to date, too.
This year, Mukuvisi Woodlands also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the opening of its 3km – 10km Walking Trails, which allow walkers, runners and cyclists to enjoy the seasons’ changing woodland scenery. The Woodlands’ coffee shop provides delicious refreshments afterwards.
From a viewing platform overlooking a small pan, both constructed in the early 1980’s, visitors may currently enjoy the sight of numerous migratory water birds, as well as our savannah animals which include giraffe, eland, impala, zebra, and wildebeest.
On a horseback safari, you can get even closer to these animals, and on a walk, you may be lucky to catch glimpses of the growing families of shy bush buck and sable.
(For further information contact Ken Worsley, 0774 198 009)
Originally published in the December Issue of Ndeipi Magazine