NATURE lovers in Bulawayo, Hillside dams is the place to be when seeking some quiet time out of the hustles of the city.
It is located in the leafy suburb of Hillside and has become a popular picnic and relaxation spot for families and groups.
Gone are the days when it had become a haven of thieves as the new management of Mungrisdale marketing and Hillside community have resuscitated and brought life to it again.
Hillside dams are distinct from the Matopo Hills. The area is full of broken kopjes and sandy open plains.
Its natural vegetation brings life and one gets to breathe fresh air in the quiet place which lies within Bulawayo boundary.
A strip of land adjacent to the dams was declared the countrya��s first bird sanctuary explaining why the bird life is diverse at the Hillside dams.
The natural vegetation within the area includes a wide range of species and people are spoilt for choice as there are different trees and flowers around the area.
There are also few rock paintings at this natural resort, no surprise why Hillside dams has always attracted a lot of people since time immemorial. It was reported to be one of King Lobengulaa��s favourite royal villages to which he escaped when the strains of power were too much.
Hillside dams was a retreat where the monarch entertained his visitors.
Speaking to the administrator of Hillside dams, Nongqabutho Abu-Basuthu, he said, a�?Bulawayo community is responsible for the maintenance of Hillside dams and therefore they should come in large numbers so that we are able to maintain the standards.
a�?Entrance fees are $2 for adults and $1 for children and pensioners.a�?
There are a lot of activities offered at Hillside dams namely fishing, canoeing, braaing and fitness training.
a�?We try to maintain order in making sure people are safe as there are rangers who will be patrolling,a�? she said.
The place is estimated to be a stretch of about 85 hectares and accommodates a lot of people doing different activities at the same time.
Children are also not left out as there are playing grounds specially prepared for them.
They were the first dams to supply Bulawayo with water as in 1895 whenA� settlers started working on the countrya��s first commercial water supply, they built the original Hillside dams.
For all those who do not want to carry picnic baskets, there is a coffee shop on the premises which offers snacks.