By Justin Salani
Sometimes game parks can be far away from towns and cities, yet we need to travel maybe on weekends and have an encounter with wild fauna and flora. Imagine that emotional response of awe, wonderment to the wanderer and that sensual awakening on a sunny Saturday or a coffee flavouring overcast Sunday.
Just contemplating the way animals behave, how nature differentiated us humans from animal species and the peaceful relaxation that comes with the immanent connection to nature.
Animal sanctuaries serve the double purpose. They take in and care for abused animals, injured, neglected or abandoned to keep them for life.
Orphaned animals are taken to an orphanage, endangered animals are given security and disowned animals find new homes, while providing animal lovers the hilarious experience of watching animals up close.
You don’t need to travel far from the town or city to enjoy nature, animal sanctuaries are often located close to cities. Situated just 10 km from Bulawayo city centre along Matopos road, Tshabalala Game Sanctuary hosts a variety of wildlife and birdlife in a thorny bushveld typical of Zimbabwean tropical savanna.
It is home to smaller antelopes, zebras, warthogs, francolins, impalas and many more. Activities at the sanctuary include a walk through the wilderness, driving, cycling and horse rides experiencing the sights.
Historically interesting, Tshabalala is situated on the former lands of Fairburn Usher, a British sailor who married one of the daughters of king Lobengula in the 1880s.
Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage is homage to abandoned, injured, orphaned or sick wild animals. Located 32 km from Bulawayo, Chipangali was established in 1973 by ex-game ranger Vivian Wilson and his wife Peddy.
At the orphanage, rescued animals are rehabilitated and where possible are safely released into their natural habitats after successful rehabilitation. It is said that Chipangali is home to 25 animal species.
Chipangali has lots of shady places to sit and have a picnic. There is also a tea room for snacks and a souvenir stall. Chipangali also gives animal lovers a chance to see a variety of animals from a close range.
Apart from wildlife experiences the two sanctuaries offer, Hillside Dams Conservancy also provides an exhilarating ecological interaction with nature.
It is a national monument with a range of activities including nature walks, cycling and birding. At the Waterfront, visitors can enjoy some fishing, ziplining and canoeing.
Well, the imposed Covid-19 travel restrictions will be over someday as vaccines will be available. We will travel again and enjoy nature, distance ourselves from the usually hectic days and the long stay-at-home.