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This small game park approximately 2500 hectares is owned by the Harare city council and is part of the Cleveland Dam Municipal Park. The land is privately leased and boasts a wide range of plains game, including Giraffe, Sable, Wildebeest, Tsessebe and Zebra. The varied bird life in this small park is diverse and exceptional. The bird list is over 250 species.

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Specials

Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Miombo Tit, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Green-backed Honeybird, Miombo Rock-Thrush, Miombo Blue-eared Starling Cape Glossy Starling, Wood Pipit, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Whyte's Barbet, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Spotted Creeper, Cuckoo Finch, African Pygmy-Goose, White-backed Duck, African Snipe. Collared Flycatcher is a 'regular' rarity.

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Habitats

The park is an area of miombo and open parinari woodland, fringing a large, wet vlei area at the top end of a small dam with large reedbeds and abundant lilies. There are also sections of exotic pine and eucalyptus.

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Birding

1.The majority of the catchment area for the dam (Cleveland) falls within this park, creating a good wetland and vlei area during the rainy season. A wide range of species can be found in this section of wet grassland and reed beds, including African Snipe, Cuckoo Finch, African Quailfinch, Croaking Cisticola, Levaillant's Cisticola, Lesser Swamp-Warbler, Great Reed-Warbler, Little Rush-Warbler, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Red-chested Flufftail, White-winged Widowbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Yellow Bishop, Marsh Owl, Cape Longclaw, Rosy-throated Longclaw and Yellow-throated Longclaw.

2.There is a large section of mature miombo woodland on both sides of the park, strewn with large Granite boulders and outcrops. There is also a section of open Parinari woodland and exotic eucalyptus and pine trees. woodland specialists to be found in the park include Southern Hyliota, Grey Penduline-Tit, Southern Black Tit, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Green-capped Eremomela, Long-billed Crombec, Black-crowned Tchagra, Miombo Tit, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Black Cuckooshrike, White-crested Helmet-Shrike, Miombo Rock-Thrush, Miombo Blue-eared Starling, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Cape Glossy Starling, Violet-backed Starling, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Crested Barbet, Black-collared Barbet, Whyte's Barbet, Greater Honeyguide, Lesser Honeyguide, Brown-backed Honeybird, Green-backed Honeybird, Golden-breasted Bunting, Violet-eared Waxbill, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Spotted Thick-knee, Bronze-winged Courser, Wood Pipit, White-throated Robin-Chat and African Green-Pigeon. Raptors to be seen in the park include African Cuckoo Hawk, Black Sparrowhawk Little Sparrowhawk, Gabar Goshawk, Shikra, African Goshawk, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Steppe Buzzard and African Harrier-Hawk.

3.During the rainy season there are a number of summer visitors including, Collared Flycatcher, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Levaillant's Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo, African Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Diderick Cuckoo and Klaas's Cuckoo. A rare sighting of the Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo was made on the 2nd of December 2000. Eurasian Golden Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Steppe Buzzard, and Eurasian Hobby.

4.The catchment end of the dam is divided into two small streams, which run through the park. Where these two streams meet at the top end of the dam, you can regularly see African Pygmy-Goose, White-backed Duck, White-faced Duck, African Purple Swamphen, Black Crake, African Jacana, African Snipe, Cuckoo Finch and African Quailfinch. Look out for Southern White-faced Scops-Owl, African Barred Owlet and Spotted Eagle-Owl in the woodland, and Marsh Owl in the vlei.

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General

A number of the roads in the park become waterlogged during the rainy season and are impassable, the park is small enough however to cover these areas on foot, but keep an eye out for breeding Common Ostrich. There are a number of demarcated picnic sites within the park, pleasantly situated under shady Msasas or amongst the Granite boulders. The park does not have a lot of visitors and is relatively unknown, making it very quiet and a pleasure to wander around. Early morning is usually the best time for viewing, and the best method is to drive slowly through the woodlots listening for parties. Once one is located, park the car off the road and follow the party on foot. This can be very rewarding, and 3 or 4 good parties can be encountered in a morning.

The gates open at 7.30am and close at 6.00pm daily including Saturdays and Sundays. Entry fees are Z$40.00 for adults and Z$20.00 for children, there is also a vehicle entry fee of Z$50.00 per vehicle, this is wavered if you park inside the gates (for security) and walk the park.

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Directions:

From the city center take Samora Machel Avenue, and follow the signs to Mutare. The entrance to Cleveland dam (Haka park is situated within this Municipal area and has the same entrance of the main road) is not well sign posted, but start looking for it on the left hand side of the road just after passing the huge Jaggers warehouses on the right and the Danhiko project on the left. It is approximately 12 km from the city center. Follow the pine tree lined road and turn left at the blue Haka game park sign before you reach the main car park. Follow this road around for about 1 km till you reach the park entrance gates. Haka is a very good birding venue and if you are ever in Harare don’t miss it.

There is also a small reptile park within this municipal area run by the management of Haka Game Park, where a number of species of snake can be seen. Inquire at the Haka entrance for directions.

Grant Nealon 2001.



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