The Malilangwe Dam is a shimmering expanse of water that stretches out below Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe, giving guests an incredible view over the water to the sandstone hills beyond. It is an iconic part of the 130,000 acre reserve and home to a number of amazing animals and birds.
One of the best ways to appreciate the dam and its wildlife is on a sunset cruise, which allows guests to get a closer look at this important ecosystem and enjoy an evening out on the water. Once the boat has cast off and refreshments are served, the only sound is of the water lapping against the hull and the chatter of the local birdlife. Drifting along the surface of the dam, field guide Tengwe Siabwanda says that guests will often spot hippos floating languidly nearby, popping below the water, wiggling their ears and making a distinctive grunting noise to communicate.
Cruising further down the dam, guests are also likely to see crocodiles grabbing the last few minutes of sun on the sandbanks, baboons cavorting on the rocks and, if they are lucky, a majestic herd of elephants coming down to drink at the water’s edge. The haunting call of the fish eagle is a special treat, and a real highlight for bird lovers, as they wheel silently overhead in search of their next snack. The dam boasts excellent game fishing throughout the year including tiger fish, bass, bream (tilapia), and catfish, and it’s a favourite activity that Tengwe likes to enjoy with guests.
As the sun starts to dip below the horizon, casting golden light upon the densely wooded hills, Singita Pamushana Lodge begins to glow as it is studded with flickering lanterns. The boat swings back towards the lodge as shadows start to creep into the deep cracks and ravines in the rock, and it’s easy to see why early government prospectors described the area as “wild, broken country”. Guests disembark and amble back towards the lodge for dinner, ending off another unique and memorable day in this extraordinary wilderness area.
Singita Pamushana Lodge is the ecotourism arm of the not-for-profit Malilangwe Trust, and all proceeds from the lodge benefit numerous conservation, local outreach and development programmes in the area. These initiatives embody Singita’s core principles, and have met with great success. Each guest who visits Singita Pamushana makes a positive impact to this incredibly beautiful land and dynamic community.