Imire Safari Ranch Visit

Imire park was established in 1972. It is a fully fledged game conservancy located in Mashonaland East province. It is privately owned and it provides accommodation facilities, game viewing, fishing and horse riding; it serves as a place of relaxation for all its guests. We visited Imire for a weekend retreat with some friends recently, for an overnight stay so that we could enjoy the full package. 

Guests have two options when visiting as overnighters, either to arrive in the late afternoon and have the Sunset activity and then sleep over and go on the game drive the next day or to arrive in the morning and spend the day then rest at Imire before departing the following day. It is open to day visitors as well who should come in the morning to enjoy the full day’s activities. 

We arrived in the morning and were received by the gracious staff, who laid out some tea and snacks for us in the garden. The reception area and gardens are very well kept and there is a pool for those who like to cool down with a swim. There is a play area which has a tree house, slides and some swings. Children do not need beckoning and will immediately make a beeline to have the first chance to play. 

There were some monkeys curiously looking at us from the trees and they would swing from branch to branch playfully. Their mission is to wait for guests to become distracted and then they swoop in to pinch the food laid out on the table. Best not to take offence at the cheeky little critters! 

We set out on the game drive shortly after with our cameras and binoculars in tow. The park sits on 4500 hectares of land, so we drove for a bit before our first animal sightings.

The safari guide took his time and was very patient. We eventually saw some zebra, giraffe, bushbuck and so on. While some of the harmless grazers roam freely looking for pasture, the carnivores have an enclosure. There are a few hyenas and then Mambo the solitary lion. Mambo is an 18-year-old male who did not feel like entertaining guests and as lions are inclined to do, was enjoying his nap. 
The Rhino is the notable animal kept at Imire, the park has both the black and white rhino. These are carefully guarded as they are high on the endangered list and are vulnerable to poachers. Only selected parks in Zimbabwe still keep rhinoceros. The rhinos were orphaned due to poaching activities and are now dehorned as a security measure. One special youngster is Tafika, the product of a breeding programme a few years ago. 

We learnt a lot about the differences between the black and white rhino. The next stop was a visit to the Ellys, there are 5 adult elephants at Imire. These have to be guarded 24 hours a day. Without strict monitoring, elephants wander off into the surrounding communities endangering humans and themselves. One called Nzou is an interesting individual who was adopted by a buffalo herd as a baby, and now stubbornly believes she is one of them. Observing her keep the other buffaloes in line was fascinating!

Around mid-day, we took a break to have our bush lunch, at a picturesque location overlooking the water. We enjoyed the scrumptious spread and some beverages. We concluded the drive by late afternoon and arrived at the Lodge. It was good to get out of the blistering heat, refresh and take a short nap. Afternoon tea is served in the garden after the drive. 

At dusk, guests drive out to a watchtower by the waterfront to enjoy the view of the setting sun. Unfortunately, on our trip, an overcast sky and some light rain ruined the effect. We did drive out but settled for some bird watching. We did view game on the way and enjoyed some sundowners and the cool breeze.  

Back at Sable lodge, a 3-course dinner is served in the main dining area. The dining is tastefully decorated and the table setting cheerful. The main of Beef fillet with broccoli, baby carrots, Dauphinoise and a red wine sauce was made to perfection!  After dinner, we enjoyed the evening breeze as we chatted over coffee in the garden. 

There are a few morning activities for guests who would love to enjoy the cool and calmness of the outdoors at dawn. There is a pool right at the Lodge where one can have an early morning swim. Guests can go for a phenomenal elephant encounter, whereby guests have some personal interaction with the resident elephants, before setting out for a bushwalk behind the herd as it goes for an early morning stretch. The handlers will give a short talk about the way of life of these intelligent and interesting creatures. A walk with the rhinos is also a unique optional activity, guests can join the rhino as they go for a morning stroll. 

On Saturday morning we woke up to some breakfast around 8, early morning coffee is available for the early birds. An English Breakfast is served but fruit and cereals are available for those on a leaner diet. By 9 am the day visitors started to trickle in and that was our cue to wrap it up. After a truly refreshing weekend getaway, we were thoroughly impressed by Imire!