Hwange National Park – Sinamatella Area

The Sinamatella area is defined by its hilly and rugged rocky landscape, interspersed with mopani woodland and vleis (grasslands). Sinamatella has great game viewing with high densities of wildlife, especially elephant and buffalo, and was once a stronghold for the black rhino in the region, though these have been decimated by poaching, with only a few animals remaining. Sinamatella was declared an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) for the protection of the rhino.

The Deka Safari Area adjoins Sinamatella, has good game populations and acts as a buffer zone for the poaching into the park. We have four waterpoints in the DSA, and most of our anti-poaching operations are concentrated here

We have had a permanent base at Sinamatella since 2010, where we have devoted our time to helping the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority with rhino monitoring, game water, deployments, research projects and various other tasks requested by Parks

 

Game Water Points 

As of 2020, Bhejane Trust has installed 20 permanent game water pumps in the  Sinamatella sector, with a variety of power units – 17 solar, 2 windpumps, and one off mains. The pumps now operated by Bhejane Trust include Baobab, Inyantue Pumps x 2, Lukosi Pan, Mafa’s Pan, Mashambo, Masuma, Shumba Pumps x 2, Sinamatella Windpump, Tshompani Windpump and Tshompani Solar, Stephens Pan x 2, and Tshontanda Pan x 2. We have also established four waterpoints in the Deka Safari Area – Mbala gate, Mbala Valley, Noeleens and Gurengwenya.

Tourism infrastructure development 

Recognising that tourism is an essential part of conservation, we have been involved in re-furbishing some of Sinamatella’s tourism infrastructure. We have rebuilt and enlarged the hide at Shumba, mapped and sign-posted the Shumba to Inyantue road prior to re-opening it to tourists and have helped with new developments at the picnic site at Masuma.

PROJECTS COMPLETED IN 2021

We undertook the water point stabilisation program, going over each water point individually and securing them for long term stability
We installed a solar unit at “Diesel Pan” in the Deka Safari Area
We installed a revolutionary solar battery unit at Masuma Dam, which gives us 24/7 solar pumping, and is delivering about 100,000l per day at no extra cost!!

We have continued to assist Parks in all aspects of management, including deployments, patrol rations, supplying patrol equipment, maintenance of picnic/camp sites, fixing domestic water supplies, fixing Parks vehicles and equipment, and a host of other tasks!! 
 
 
 
 

 

Game water

We also want to continue our research into the underground water of the area, registering the recovery rates of the boreholes which we are pumping.

 Assisting Parks in Management 

As sections of Sinamatella are very remote and difficult to access, Bhejane Trust assists Parks with deployments of its anti-poaching teams and other essential transport needs. We also provide other help to the anti-poaching teams such as food and equipment, staff welfare, fire protection, maintenance of tourist facilities, maintenance of Park infrastructure, etc

 

Giraffe project

The giraffe demographics project that we started in 2017 has shown that there are more giraffe in the area than had been expected from other monitoring projects. It has also become evident that there is a great deal more work to be done on understanding Sinamatella’s giraffe population so we intend to expand the project both geographically and in terms of its aims.

Ground Water Survey

To survey replenishment rates of ground water from pumped boreholes, to assess the effect of pumping water for game on the underground water tables

Bird Surveys

SABAP 2 – the South African Bird Atlas Program – the Trust has contributed to the Sinamatella pentad for many years

Vulture nesting – we take an annual survey to assess the vulnerability of the vulture population

Annual Waterbird count participation

Environmental monitoring 

We work with the Parks ecologist at Sinamatella to monitor wildlife populations through road transect counts, static (24-hour) counts, vulture nest survey, bird atlas and a study of the local giraffe population. Most of these monitoring projects rely heavily on input from our volunteers during the dry season.

 

 

RESEARCH CONDUCTED IN 2021

All of the above research projects were undertaken and are ongoing into 2022. The Giraffe survey has attracted international attention, with giraffe specialists coming out to consult with Stephen and analyse his results. Much valuable information was obtained during the year, and passed on to the respective research/specialist organisations
 
 

 

Please Support the Bhejane Trust!

You can help us keep our wildlife watered and safe, and our Parks rangers in the field looking after our heritage!

All donations large and small are very much appreciated we require constant support and financing to keep our operations running, such as game water, road maintenance, rhino monitoring and parks deployments!

 

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