|Nyanyana Lodge: Where hippos snort you a lullaby|
|Thursday, 20 October 2011 22:00|
A MOLTEN lava coloured dawn is prelude to a breathless morning as Lake Kariba's silhouette-tinged water mirrors fleeting shapes of boats, riverine vegetation, a multifarious array of architecture, saddle-billed storks and kingfishers which shattered each illusion with an acrobatic splash.
At every plunge, the water turns silver and gold, rippling to the shores, with a wash and swash on sump of sand between a steep bank and gurgling shallows.
A huge Nile crocodile stealthily marshals the dam and attacks its prey with sporadic sluggishness, driven by life's ancient rhythm to feed.
Having arrived there, the night before, Nyanyana Lodge remains a place where those who wish to enjoy Kariba should visit.
The night before we were snorted to sleep by mooing hippos and serenaded to dawn by the fish eagle.
From the veranda of Nyanyana Lodge, I tottered barefoot over pebbles to slosh the shivery water but alas, a huge monster of a crocodile plunged into the water, obviously disturbed by my uninvited presence.
My eyes scanned the shoreline and a chattering crowd of oxpeckers alerted me to a bloat of sunbathing hippos.
I remembered exactly how oxpeckers are somewhat two faced; when they warn their hosts of intruders, they also betray their position.
While I was still pondering about the oxpeckers' two contrasting positions, a huge hippo yawned, exposing huge teeth and a reddish internal.
Almost at the same time, a troupe of monkeys squabbled noisily from a tree, swinging nonchalantly from one branch to another. Their proclivity for agility as amazing as ever.
On the water, three crocodiles stealthily moved northwards, like dead pieces of logs, only to be betrayed by their sentry-post eyes that remained above the surface.
The National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority own the lodges, which lie on the southern most bank of Kariba adjacent to the Crocodile Farm.
The lodges are self-catering under a family type scenario and are tastefully decorated with Mopane wood and matching ceilings.
The outside is painted green, the trademark of national parks, the vanguard of Zimbabwe's wild flora and fauna.
Booking and reservations are centrally done in Harare. The lodges are built at a vintage point, where one can easily see the activities on the lake from the sitting room or through a window.
The breeze that wafts between the dam and the land is refreshing.
What strikes one as he or she drives to Nyanyana Lodges is one particular stretch of stunted Mopane trees on an elephant corridor.
The Mopane trees that have been reduced to stunted bush shrubbery, with a browse line as neatly trimmed a new haircut.
It is at this stretch where one normally sees the huge mounds of grey flesh, feed lackadaisically.
This time around I saw a Kudu bull, with its iron-like corkscrew horns blending with the Mopane bushes. It was so near and never seemed disturbed and I wished I was a hunter but wilderness etiquette forbade me from shooting anything but photographs.
As the Kariba Invitational Tiger Fishing Tournament roars into life next week just a spitting distance from Nyanyana Lodge, the lodge provides a spectacular view of fishermen cris-crossing the dam.
Activities on offer include guided walks, scenic view, beach experience on the lakeshore and camping.
For those in love with nature this is the time to go to Kariba and join the world's best fishermen as they battle to catch, the world's most ferocious, speedy and tactically superior fresh water predator fish.
As the tournament runs from October 26 to 28, 2011, Nyanyana should be the place to camp and lodge. It is the place to enjoy.