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Outdoor facility reborn in Matopos

Outdoor facility reborn in Matopos

Outdoor facility reborn in Matopos

Rowallan Park lies three kilometres from the main gate to the Matopos National Park, at the base of the dominant Imadzi dwala between Sandyspruit Dam and the MOTH Shrine.  It was founded by the Boy Scout movement, before it was handed over to the Girl Guides to become their regional camping ground. In the late 1990s it was handed back to the Zimbabwe National Parks. Now, plans are afoot to revive the original vision and potential of the site.

A Bulawayo-based group of likeminded conservationists and educators has recently leased Rowallan Park with the view to develop it as an educational, conservation and recreational centre. The plans, which are being crafted in conjunction with local Parks officials, place an emphasis on providing a safe, accessible retreat to stimulate and educate visitors, especially school children of all ages.

The focus of this unique outdoor classroom will not be all teaching. There will be a strong element of fun and varied adventure activities. Current plans include nature walks to take in the unique natural and social heritage; the landscape formation, ecology, rock art and local history.

An increase in the game present on the estate has resulted from the added security and water pumping and could develop into an attraction in its own right. The facilities on the 36-hectares will include a visitors’ tearoom, an information centre and camping grounds. Bicycle trails, horseback rides and self-guided walks are planned both in the Park and the adjacent communal lands.
Experienced and knowledgeable teachers and guides will be on hand if required. An element of the principles of Outward Bound will be incorporated and overnight facilities will be either dormitory-style for the school children, or tents for the more adventurous.

Leadership development, adult fieldwork and heritage training are all programmes on the drawing board, as well as the obvious team-building opportunities. It is hoped that the centre will also be used by Parks and local NGOs for consultative and development meetings.

Rowallan Park is easily accessible by tarred road 35 kms from Bulawayo and is an ideal getaway that should appeal to many. This is an evolving project and the developers would welcome opportunities to link with other likeminded organizations or schools to share ideas and to network.

Email: ksf@khami.co.zw

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 11, Dec 2012)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Bulawayo & Matobo Hills