Mathew Masinge, H-Metro Reporter
Local travel enthusiasts seem to be enjoying agro tourism to enjoy available attractions and rather encountering wildlife.
This is in line with the current drive by local tourism authorities who have been on the drive to promote local travel.
Pamushana Africa Transport who are pushing for the local tourism drive toured Msinje Farm’s New Canaan Gardens along Shamva Road over the weekend.
The company director Hardlife Chipika says domestic tourism is slowly becoming an in thing with locals.
A proprietor at Msinje Farm (30 kilometres along Shamva Road from Harare), Tadzingaira Tachiveyi told H-Metro that he established the sought after venue after losing his goats to snakes.
“The idea followed after I lost many of my goats to snakes. My farm workers’ encounters with snakes were so high that I told them to identify them and stop killing them.
“I offered to reward them if they stopped killing the snakes and the mentality that they can live in harmony with nature started building in them and even people from surrounding farms.
“I had about 500 goats but lost most of them to pythons and then thought of building a snake park that now accommodates about 22 snakes,” said Tachiveyi.
The growing numbers in goat attacks propelled Tachiveyi to apply for licence to keep wildlife in captivity from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife.
“When I built the reptile park I then applied for a licence from ZimParks and when they licenced me I began collecting these snakes.
“The majority of the snakes that we have are indigenous and they all have been rescued from the farm.
“We don’t hunt for them, they have been rescued from a human encounter either in homesteads or farms,” he said.
The pythons, king cobra, puff adders and olive grass are some of the dangerous snakes that prowl the Goromonzi District in Mashonaland East.
Such species bring apparent danger to both humans and their livestock if not well monitored.
Msinje Reptile Park has gone the extra mile and is insured to cover guests who might be endangered by any of the species on site.
This also applies to neighbours who get compensation from Tachiveyi if they fall victim to the reptiles.
A professional snake handler has been assigned at the park.
“We have never done anything to endanger our guests to the extent that no one has ever claimed injury ever since we opened for business,” he said.
Msinje Farm is 363 hectares of which 98 hectares is arable.