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.
It is not proposed at this stage to install any more game water points in 2021, but rather to consolidate all the current water points, both in Sinamatella and in the Deka Safari Area.
However, we have an exciting new experiment planned, where we will install a solar battery system at Masuma waterpoint ( which has the most drinking pressure in the dry season) so that we can pump 24/7 on solar (we previously had to use a diesel generator to achieve thIs)
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
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
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
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.
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!