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Travelling & touring: Hwange’s Victorian Baobab Gate lodge

On a lighter side, this  fast growing coal mining  town is 'notorious' for a dearth of picnic sites as  well as few hotels and lodges despite  high demand for such facilities.

By Burzil Dube

HWANGE district is predominantly known for its abundant coal. The product is most sought after and mining experts have somehow failed to determine if  it is a mineral or a type of fossil. The district is also synonymous with Hwange National Park, which is the country’s largest game reserve and home to the big five namely, cheetah, lion, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo.

The town is also among the few places in the country where baobab trees continue to grow unhindered as far as their bark and trunks are concerned. And this is a fact.

Driving along the Masvingo-Mutare highway dispels this as irrefutable evidence is there for deciphering whose handiwork might be contrary to environmental conservation.

On a lighter side, this  fast growing coal mining  town is ‘notorious’ for a dearth of picnic sites as  well as few hotels and lodges despite  high demand for such facilities.

However, this is gradually proving to be a thing of the past as evidenced by the coming into the fore of Baobab Gate, an upmarket lodge which Yours Truly managed to get a glimpse of its Victorian edifice and certainly destined for greater heights within the tourism industry.

The upcoming lodge is situated in the low density area of Hwange’s Baobab Extension whose serene surroundings is a must to those who abhor any form of disturbance and this establishment (Baobab Gate lodge) was meant for such an experience.

Yours Truly managed to ‘discover’ this place courtesy of a former tertiary school mate who had visited Hwange on some mining expedition and was referred by a former guest to this place, which is slowly proving to be the most sought after place within this mining town.

Guest referrals within the travelling and touring sector are positive indicators  to one’s facilities and such an expression has to be guarded jealously at all times.

Baobab Gate, as the name suggests, is home to fledgling baobab trees and it seems the powers that be at this lodge are keen COP26 enthusiasts judging by the number of young wild trees that have been planted within the vicinity.

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, advocates a cleaner climate, free form any form of environmental conditions that continue giving rise to global warming.

Bedding facilities of most hotels and lodges are usually similar and Yours Truly will not dwell much on such nitty-gritties that are also found at Baobab Gate. However, it’s exterior features make it a place to be during this festive season.

It is common knowledge that Hwange is among the hottest places in Zimbabwe and grass  thatching is  ideal roofing material for such places in these very hot weather conditions.

Whoever, did the roofing on these Victorian strictures deserves special mention in modern traditional thatching whose handiwork is a marvel to watch let alone prospective guests. As for the masonry, the architectural skills can be traced to the reign of Queen  Victoria of England and  remains an envy to many the world over.

Similar handiwork was also done in the interior that  nearly resembles  initial stages of an underground mine. Those in the mining sector may bear witness to such a scenario or setup.

As for the bedding and other related issues, there is no need to dwell on such issues as it is of fundamental importance at a hospitality and tourism facility.

There is no need to mention sumptuous food and beverages at Baobab Gate and Yours Truly was later advised that plans were at an advanced stage to turn some detached rooms into self-catering chalets.

Various bird species usually like to frequent this place, but Yours Truly is yet to get the reasons behind a flurry of birds at this particular place.

However, it is a boon for bird watching enthusiasts even though at a smaller scale

Yours Truly is not extolling the virtues of the powers that be at this lodge and I am yet to come across owners of this newest Hwange tourism baby, who seem to have done their homework quite well.

If the truth be told, Baobab Gate is slowly becoming  a game changer within this coal mining town judging by the number of  remarks written by guests on the customer comments book.

Meanwhile, the festive season is upon us.

Till we meet again in the next column.

  • Comments always welcome on: dubebasill@gmail.com or Twitter@DubeBurzil

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