I recently had a fantastic time flying along in an Enterprise (not the one from Star Trek fame) and a Jaguar without wheels. I was number two in a quad sculling boat and was keen to take advantage of the free rowing, kayaking, windsurfing, motor boating, paragliding and various other sail boats on offer. The reason for all this water based fun was thanks to this years inaugural Boat Festival hosted by the well established Jacana Yacht Club on the shores of Lake Chivero. The festival showcased some of the most popular and accessible water based activities in and around Harare. Experienced instructors were at hand to assist novices and beginners. Companies exhibited among other things, water sport related goods and there was a massive water slide, fantastic food through out the day and live music in the evening by David Jenkins. With Jacana’s swimming pool, bar, pool tables and beautiful lawn overlooking the lake and north shore the event had something for everyone.
Jacana has been running as a yacht club since 1958 and is home to a variety of small and large dinghies and boats. There are a selection of club boats for hire, including Enterprises’, Opis’, Lasers and GP 14s. Members also keep a variety of private vessels there. Club boats are available to members free of charge and to non members, for a nominal fee. The club is very active with monthly sailing events but you can visit at any time to sail, get involved in water sports or just watch the sunset over the lake.
The Mazowe based Hunyani rowing club was also represented and brought a selection of single, double and quad sculling boats along for people to try. I had not rowed for thirty years but had a lot of fun in a boat of variously skilled people gliding, or not as the case often was, across the lake in the direction of the setting sun. It’s amazing how much concentration is required at first, but how very rewarding it soon becomes, and such good exercise.
Jacana’s annual ‘Sailing School’ is a very popular event and this year takes place from the 25th of April to the 2nd of May. People of all ages spend the week learning how to sail and having a lot of fun in various boats. The course involves practical sailing and classroom based lessons, which is followed by a regatta. Most participants camp and take advantage of the full catering service available.
Based on the shores of the 26 square kilometre Lake Chivero, Jacana is among half a dozen establishments along the lake shore and is situated inside the Chivero Recreational Park, although game is limited on this side of the lake. National Parks are soon implementing recreational park fees for non club members. It is however a very quick and easy sail with a good wind, or a nice sedate paddle, across to the northern side of the lake where you can game and bird view along the shoreline that makes up the 1,867 hectare game park.
The game park was opened in 1952 and is home to white rhino, giraffe, zebra and kudu along with 27 other species. There is an outstanding variety of bird life along the foreshore and this visit we counted over 20 mature and immature fish eagles in the trees of just one bay. On the parks extremity at Bushman’s point near the mouth of the Manyame River there are bushman paintings and undeveloped camp sites. Accommodation inside the park is available at the National Parks lodges, chalets, camping and caravan sites. Fishing is a very popular pastime in the park and there are five fishing and picnic sites within it’s boundaries. Although cycling and walking are prohibited in the park in September 2013 National Parks, as part of the World Rhino day and with the assistance of the Aware Wildlife Trust allowed a mountain bike ride and series of walks in the park to raise funds and awareness for the plight of the endangered Rhino. It was a very special experience to be able to cycle so close to rhino and giraffe.
The Jacana Boat Festival is to become an annual event so if your keen to have a go at some form of water sports look out for next years posters. But if you can’t wait a year and would rather visit sooner the club is always open or why not join this years sailing school, forms are available from firstname.lastname@example.org – 0772 317546
For information regarding Jacana yacht club please contact – email@example.com – 0772 345638
For more information on National parks visit http://zimparks.org.
Exhibitors and sponsors at the Boat Festival were : Marine Centre (Yamaha Agents), Big Sky Outdoor Gear, Grid Transmission, De Vere Group, Clarke Marine, Drummond Meats, Generator Services, Kites for Peace, and Safeguard Security.