With grateful thanks to Gill Honeyman and her wonderful little team up at Worlds View, for all the work you all do there, making the site most enjoyable and much appreciated!
Gill’s report follows:-
An all-time, record breaking month for the View with over 1500 visitors, mostly over the festive season – 300 visitors on Christmas Day, 200 on Boxing Day and 250 over New Year.
The rains have been extremely heavy with torrential downpours and due to the volume of traffic coming onto site the parking area has been turned into a quagmire.
We have dug a 2m wide contour ridge at the base of Nyamutoro (to the rear of the sculptor’s gazebo) which has diverted most of the run-off from the mountain and hopefully we shall now be able to restore our once beautifully lawned parking area.
We still face serious problems at the entrance gate as the culvert was removed by Nyanga Rural Council when they graded the road in 2015 and there is just nowhere for the run-off from the road to go. We battle daily to remove the red soil/mud collecting at the gate and have opened new mitre drains to divert the water down into the lakes. The Rural Council will be contacted in the new year.
We are grateful to the Stead Family from Connemara (Plot No 41) who organised a ‘Carols by Sunset’ on Christmas Eve, the grandchildren playing flute, trumpet and sax. ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ will never be the same again! The rain held off and although our numbers were small it was an extremely enjoyable evening and hopefully next year, with better advertising, attendance will be higher.
The Hydrangeas have been magnificent, as they always are at this time of year, and we have had a lot of enquiries from our visitors as to where they could purchase these plants. An approach was made to Valhallah Nursery in Juliasdale who specialise in hydrangea and azalea and a mutually beneficial agreement was reached. We now have a plant sales area and sales are going really well, after only 2 weeks we are in profit by $83. We have since decided to stock other seasonal plants that grow on site and we are sure that our ‘Plant Sale’ section will continue to do well.
We have purchased some more lovely books for our small library and they have been very well received and read by visitors, mainly those taking shelter in the gallery when it rains. A lawnmower has also been purchased so we no longer have to borrow from No 12. Strimmer repairs continue!
Our ‘sign writer’ has been busy and painted a number of new metal signs: ‘NO FIRES’, ‘PLEASE TAKE FOOD WASTE HOME – BEWARE BABOONS!’, and others that will help visitors find their way around more easily.
Picnic table number four is near completion and the first three have been commissioned. All constructed from local stone and fitting in well with the natural surroundings.
Visitors enjoying sundowners at one of the new picnic tables.
Plans have been drawn for the extension and refurbishment of the staff accommodation block. It is our intention to build on another room to accommodate caretaker No. 2 and to completely refurbish the toilet and shower room. A covered courtyard will also be incorporated and a wood burning stove purchased to upgrade the kitchen facilities. Some roof repairs to the existing building are required and repairs and repainting to existing walls – inside and out. Although we expect a seasonal decline in the number of visitors over the next few months we should still have enough in the kitty to take us to roof height, until the Easter rush of guests.
The art gallery is attracting much interest and most visitors are surprised and impressed to find an art gallery on the top of a mountain! We even received an approach from an artist from Harare who enquired if he could hold an exhibition of his own work in the gallery. Our very grateful thanks go to Val Cameron of Juliasdale for her donation of a large pastel of a scene in the Fox Rock area and a smaller one of wild flowers. Val is a professional and very accomplished artist and we are extremely proud to have her work in our collection. They are presently in Harare being framed. Our thanks also to Cherrie Stead for two beautiful water colours that she has donated, they have been framed and now grace the gallery walls as part of our permanent collection. We are still encouraging local Nyanga artists to bring us their work for display/sale. One painting was sold in December with a 10% commission being paid to WV.
The visitors book continues to be a joy to read, many compliments about the staff and their friendly and welcoming reception, the well maintained grounds, the toilet facilities and of course our magnificent scenery. A visitor from Scotland wrote ‘Thanks to the people who donated this land, developed this land and now lovingly maintain it. Without you this place would not exist. A real gem on planet earth. The people of Zimbabwe should be proud of you all. Well done the National Trust of Zimbabwe’.
We still await a visit from Rob Burrett who will be able to give us advice on recently found ruins. We are anxious to promote the area using these easily accessible sites not only as an added attraction, but to emphasise the cultural history of this region. We appreciate the problems Rob faces with financing such a visit and the limitations on his valuable time, perhaps if there is someone else who is equally qualified and able to make the trip it would be most beneficial to get their advice sooner than later. Its over two years since we found the ruins and need to get this project moving. Any ideas?
My personal thanks to Matirina, who took leave from his job to be on site throughout the busy festive season, keeping everything running smoothly, efficiently and profitably, and to Luke and Arthur for the tremendous amount of work they put in keeping the site neat and clean as well as attending to our many visitors and …….. collecting the money!