Zimbabwe Wildlife Farmer Adopts 10km of Byo-Vic Falls Highway for Rehabilitation near Hwange National Park

“We need to make sure our highway is in good shape all the time as this is the only road our valuable customers use to come to our safaris,” Mathuthu said.

John Cassim

Plastic litter along the Byo-Vic Falls highway in Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe – A wildlife farmer who is also the managing director of The Tree Lodge At Sikumi, situated around the Gwayi River area near Hwange National Park, has adopted a 10km stretch of the Bulawayo – Vic Falls highway for maintenance.

Jonathan Mathuthu, a passionate conservationist revealed that he was in the process of negotiating with fellow farmers in his area to do the same and make sure potholes are filled, plastic waste that is scattered on the sides of the highway is collected and recycled.

Part of the Byo-Vic Falls highway that has potholes. Apparently the highway has a large stretch that has potholes some even worse than this.

“If you look at our highway all the way from Bulawayo to Vic Falls, it is heavily polluted with plastic, apparently this is a wildlife area and once animals consume those plastics that would be catastrophic.

On the one hand we also need to make sure our highway is in good shape all the time as this is the only road our valuable customers use to come to our safaris,” Mathuthu said, while addressing guests at his lodge.

Mathuthu is known for sharing his indigenous knowledge of wildlife behavior with his customers whenever he gets to the lodge.

During one of his sessions which was witnessed by this journalist, he spoke about the connection between climate change and the current wildlife movement behavior.

“Our animals are very intelligent and they interact easily while protecting each other, for an example, when a giraffe is drinking water, other animals like baboons would be watching out for predators from afar.

When the giraffe is done its now his turn to watch as he is very tall and can see things from a long distance,” he shared.

He added that baboons may look ordinary especially to humans but they play a pivotal role in terms of aware and security.

“When you are looking for a place to stay intending to do photographic tourism, check if the place has baboons, if not then chances of seeing other game species are minimal,” he added.

Meanwhile for tourists to experience all the goodness of nature in this area, a good road that is free of plastic litter, is required hence the move to adopt the 10km road for repairs and waste clearing.

Sadly the Bulawayo – Vic Falls highway is infested with plastic litter something authorities such as the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) should urgently look into and start awareness campaigns.

Chalets with en-suite nestled on Mongwe Trees

The Tree Lodge

The Tree Lodge at Sikumi is located in the heart of the Lions Paradise Game Reserve, sharing a border with the vast Hwange National Park.

Currently, the lodge has 13 wooden chalets nestled high up on strong Mangwe (Ndebele) trees hence the name The Tree Lodge.

The chalets are strategically positioned such that from the balcony of each establishment, one is able to view Elephants, Lions, Buffaloes, Leopards, Kudus, Giraffe and a host of diverse wildlife.

“This is the photographic facility,” according to Mathuthu, “although for hunting he owns another plot across the major highway and far from the Hwange National Park.”

“Like I said earlier our wildlife is very smart, you find out that sometimes during the hunting season, animals move to this area, where they will not be hunted and it’s just photographic and game views,” Mathuthu said.

Mathuthu boasted that in his plot tourists have come across spring hares, very gentle species that look like kangaroos.

Spring hares can only be found at night; the mere sight tells you the area is free from dangers according to his indigenous knowledge system.

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