CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – MARCH 2020 TO APRIL 2021
Early morning dew on spider’s web at World’s View (Photo: Tony Martin)
Once again, we thank all our visitors for their continued support and generosity at the View. Even at the height of the Covid pandemic, we kept the View site open for those willing to tackle the harsh road ‘up the mountain’ to take in the fresh mountain air, enjoy the magnificent scenery, flora and birdlife. Most returning visitors now bring their picnic baskets and cooler boxes and make a real day of it, some stay well into the evening to witness the magnificent sunsets from the various vantage points and toposcope.
Sunset over the valley below the World’s View escarpment (Photo: Tony Martin)
We have managed to complete a number of projects over the past year despite our downturrn in income. A new stairway down to the ‘bush walk’ has been built and now gives safe access to a short walk ‘on the wild side’.
Matirina at work on the steps
A number of new stone benches have been built with some of the best views over the valley. They are being well used by visitors who really appreciate the extra facilities.
Luke, our caretaker assisting Stephen the builder on one of the benches
Completed, and affectionately named the Aubrey Logan Bench
Just below the toposcope, an old staircase was discovered after removing some ground cover overgrowth. We tagged on another bench which now provides a pleasant shady spot for visitors to sit. It should take about a year for the grass and shrubs to established themselves, providing that the oncoming winter does not take its toll!
New bench – terracing not yet complete The ‘discovered’ staircase
Another of our generous visitors, Mr and Mrs Alberti , donated funds for the construction of ‘The Robertson Bench, which has been built in a rocky outcrop just above the ‘bush walk’ We thank them most sincerely for sponsoring this bench and allowing us to ‘keep the change’ that was left over after completion.
Luke and Stephen preparing the area Work in progress
Mr and Mrs Alberti returned to site to celebrate the completion of the Robertson Bench
Our latest development to be completed is our new bird viewing platform, affectionately known as The Hide.
An enclosed, wind and rain proof little building, sunk into the cliff side. The most spectacular place to sit in comfort and wait and watch for the birds of prey to fly past below. The Hide has already become a favourite for people, even non-birders, to meet for sundowners to watch the changing colours of the evening sky.
Construction was slow but steady, using funds as they became available. Our grateful thanks to Mike Hoggard for his generous donation which allowed us to complete the project earlier than expected.
Cut and fill begins Roof height
Lazarus, one of our builders (pictured above), sadly died a few days before the Hide’s completion. Our condolences to his family. He will be remembered by the colleagues he worked with on many of the past projects at the View.
Southern elevation Facing west, overlooking Mt Ziwa, the highest mountain in the valley below
Looking towards Nyamutoro from inside Comfortably furnished and ready to welcome visitors
The Hide, nestled into the cliff face – top left
And … a big cheers to everyone involved in the construction, and to all those visitors who will have many happy times at The Hide
The annual World’s View ‘Carols at Sunset’ was held on Christmas Eve, and despite the pandemic, 130 people and 7 dogs made it up the mountain to celebrate together and sing their hearts out.
Our thanks to Guy Cary, who organised the word sheets and bravely conducted the singing from one of the lower terraces.
The World’s View Choir gave us a special treat by singing two Shona Christmas songs. Mince pies and cool drinks were handed out at the end of proceedings.
The Woodland family returned, for a third time, to entertain the ‘crowd’: Peter on trumpet, Andrew on saxophone and Victoria on flute (pictured above), played from the toposcope during interval. They received huge applause from a very appreciative audience and we thank them most sincerely for their wonderful and unfailing support of the National Trust. We look forward to many more Woodland recitals at the View.
It was our pleasure to host the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the National Trust of Zimbabwe on 25th August. A very scaled down event, due to Covid restricted numbers, but it was a packed day that started with speeches by our vice chair, Sharon Waterworth, Willie Dhlandlara (Solon Foundation) and Guy Cary, followed by a buffet luncheon and sparkling wines.
Bubbly served by Talent, saleslady at the Sculpture Garden
Willie Dhlandlara cutting the Anniversary cake, overlooked by Sharon Waterworth – Vice Chairman NTZ, Gill Honeyman – Chairman World’s View and Guy Cary – Chairman Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition
After lunch we moved into the Gallery for the official opening of the Mike Kimberley Room. A granite plaque was unveiled together with a framed tribute to Mike, who played a key roll in the early days of the National Trust and in particular the World’s View site.
Unveiling of the Mike Kimberley Room plaque
Our thanks to Sharon Waterworth and Fira Bach for bringing up all the equipment and necessary ‘stuff’ to show the NTZ 60th Birthday video, introducing all the National Trust Sites throughout Zimbabwe. This was the first public viewing and an excellent presentation for those wanting to know more about our various sites. For those of you who would care to watch, please follow the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRa4kz8iBlg&feature=YouTube.be
It was wonderful that the Logans were able to come from Harare to join us in celebrating our 60th anniversary. Sadly, Aubrey passed away recently and he will always be remembered for his unfailing support of NTZ and in particular the RNHE where his wife, Edone Anne, was Chairman for many years. His kind ways, and ‘wicked’ sense of humour endeared him to us all, he will be sadly missed but remembered with love and respect by us all at World’s View.
Edone Anne and Aubrey Logan at the 60th Anniversary Celebration of NTZ at World’s View
Our deepest condolences to Edone Anne and all the family. We are proud to have one of the new stone benches named in his honour.
Looking towards Eagle Point from the Aubrey Logan Bench (Photo: Tony Martin)
Shamiso Mapara, co-founder and executive director of Eco Buddies Zimbabwe and Annabel Chitambwe communications manager, paid us a visit in October. EBZ is a non-profit organisation working in both rural and urban communities in Zimbabwe. The organisation was founded in 2013 by three young people from Zimbabwe because of their concern for the sad state of the rural communities’ environment. They saw the need to establish community-based afforestation and reforestation projects in rural areas following massive deforestation over the last number of years. Deforestation has deprived many of their livelihoods, which are traditionally centred on forest reserves. They feel that to combat environmental degradation in the future requires strong leadership and innovative ideas from young people, so EBZ pride themselves in empowering young Zimbabwans to have the capacity to initiate sustainable development driven initiatives.
Two lovely ladies enjoying a late breakfast after an early morning start exploring the escarpment
Lots of good ideas and advice were exchanged and we look forward to giving them all our support in their future endeavours.
Shamiso at the View Annabel at the foot of Nyamutoro
Zimbabwe loses more than three hundred hectares of forest yearly (Forestry Commission, 2008)
The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) are great supporters of the World’s View site and we were happy to welcome a number of recruits who were on an officer selection course from the Zimbabwe Military Academy, Gweru.
The lady recruits that were on the course – except one!
The Zimbabwe republic Police were invited to address a meeting with the local community who had expressed concerns about the illegal grazing of cattle on the mountain. Afterwards they were invited to a tour of the View, and were amazed at the beauty of the site and the magnificent view over Nyanga Village where they are stationed.
Const Masase Const Sinyabuwe Sgt Kaita and Sgt Tichiwangani on the balcony of the Toposcope
Relaxing on the lawn In the Hide
We were delighted to have a visit from our local chief, Chief Hata (Edward Chingamere –[ pictured left]). He told us a few fireside stories that his father, and his father before, had passed down the generations, of tribal battles and sieges, that took place along the escarpment many years ago.
He has promised to return to give a more detailed account of the local community and their past lifestyles and beliefs. This will enable us to write an article for display in the Kimberley Room giving an historic but hopefully colourful and romantic account of the cultural heritage of this magical, mysterious and very spiritual part of Nyanga.
The road up from Troutbeck to World’s View remains a mission for anything other than 4X4’s. The recent rainy season saw several cars abandoned on the muddy, slippery slopes, and a huge underground stream sprang up right in the middle of the road outside Tsanga Lodge. The local Council have been unable to undertake any road repairs due to financial constraints, but the valiant efforts of our neighbours, Little Connemara, have managed to keep the road open, despite some very tricky sections that are now down to bedrock. So, be warned – 4 X 4 for sure, and don’t forget your picnic basket and cooler box.
A number of new road signs have been placed on the circular drive and a diagramatic map is being prepared by Connemara, which will be placed at the ‘Y’ junction of World’s View Road, Connemara Drive and the Joan MacIlwaine Drive. These additions will certainly assist motorists in misty conditions or those descending the mountain with empty cooler boxes!
A really big thank you to the Board and owners of Little Connemara for continuing to support our efforts in the control of invasive species on the plateau. Much progress has been made on the sections north and south of the fenced View site, with most of the larger trees having been felled and regrowth being removed on a regular basis. Some local plot owners have asked their own caretakers to assist by keeping their verges clear, and a big thank you to Murray Lynton-Edwards for keeping the large wetland area, adjacent to his property, clear of those awful ‘volunteer’ pine saplings. Without such help, and a few years from now, there would have been a pine forest, and one of our precious wetlands would have been lost forever.
Wishing you all safe journeys and many happy visits to Nyanga, especially to our beautiful World’s View.