Funny how sometimes things come together. I was recently doing some research on wildlife places to stay when we next go back home to Zimbabwe to visit family and friends and then a TV program about Black Rhino conservation and Imire Game Ranch on the National Geographic Channel began playing in the background.
I watched with sadness as well as admiration for all the work that John and Judy Travers as well as John Olivey, the Game Park Manager and all their staff were doing to help protect these and the many other wonderful animals on their reserve as well as in Zimbabwe. From what I have heard they have, like many other wildlife areas in Zimbabwe, gone through some really tough times recently. The good news is that they are still up and running and what is more, they have plenty to offer:
Accomodation at Imire
Located just over 100km kms by road or one and a half hours drive south east of Harare, in-between Marondera and Wedza lies Imire Safari Ranch making it an ideal location for a weekend getaway. At Imire there are a few different types places to stay, depending on what you are planning on doing, and obviously if you plan to ‘rough it’ or not. There is always a limited number of people that Imire can handle, so it pays to book early.
- Numwa House
This is a beautiful five bedroom farmhouse set within the game park just. Guests are entitled to two elephant rides each and are able to walk within the area to their hearts content and are encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment as the house is set upon a fish rich dam. Although no motors are allowed on the waters boats can be brought to the dam and guests are also able to make use of the boats available.
- Sable Lodge
A simple farmhouse lodge consisting of 6 thatched rondavel cottages with en suite bathrooms set in the heart of the Imiri Safari ranch. The Lodge is small, but there is a dedicated staff to look after you and the atmosphere is intimate and friendly and you will get the attention and service you deserve.
- Bush Camp
Facilities include four empty, thatched huts sleeping four, in which sleeping bags and mats can be laid down, one staff/food storage hut, showers with a firewood heating system, one large mess area with a central fire-pit, seating and food service table, outdoor kitchen with cooking done on open fires, outdoor fire-pit with seating around it. Ideal for those with their own transport including families, backpackers and school groups. Activities include: fishing, however no motors are allowed on the dam and you must bring your own fishing equipment and boats. Elephant rides, rhino walks and game drives can be organised at extra cost with guides upon arrival or during stay.
Imire Wildlife Volunteer Program
What could be a better way to help wildlife than to volunteer your time and do your bit in saving these astounding animals from extinction. Imire offer you the fantastic opportunity to live in close contact with black rhino, elephants, buffalo and all the other species of animals. To volunteer at Imire the minimum stay is 2 weeks, but a stay of one month is preferable.
Travel out on the Mutare Road, at the 68 km peg you will cross a railway line, at the 70 km peg (3 km before Marondera) you will see an Imire sign post, turn right here. Travel down this road for 2.5 km and you will see another Imire sign, turn left here. Travel down this road for 40 km and will come to the Imire butchery, go 800m past this and you will come to the Sable Lodge turn off, turn left here and it is 1 km down this road to the lodge.
For more information on Accommodation prices and booking as well as the Volunteer program, check out the excellent Imire Safari Ranch Website
Zimbabwe Travel Guides
If you are not a local and are looking for accommodation and things to do whilst on holiday in Zimbabwe, the books below feature Imire as well as many other excellent places to stay.
Zimbabwe Travel Guides
Zimbabwe (Bradt Travel Guide)
As political tension relaxes, wildlife enthusiasts and curious tourists are returning to Zimbabwe. With some of the finest national parks in Africa, the country is blessed with stunning landscapes and an abundance of wildlife. The mighty Zambezi River offers adventure holidays and Victoria Falls will leave visitors breathless, while the range of birdlife draws enthusiasts year-round. Game viewing in some of Africa’s finest national parks is a rewarding experience and this guide offers in-depth information on the facilities, advice on itinerary planning as well as how to select a safari. Accommodation is covered with up-to-date information on everything from luxury safari camps to budget stays for younger travellers who arrive overland, heading for the fast flowing waters of the Zambezi gorge.
Southern Africa (Lonely Planet Multi Country Guide)
An excellent book if you are travelling in the region, although it can be a little hit and miss as the book is essentially cobbled together out of other Lonely planet books on the individulal contries and therefore some of the information is out of date. Countries covered include Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.