Haka, one of our precious greenbelts, is situated next to Cleveland Dam off Mutare Road, and incorporates 25 square kilometres of pristine woodland and wetland, and the catchment area for our city water supply.
Here you’ll find a fine example of wetland, and on its periphery, of several species of geoxylic suffrutices, the unusual family of plants commonly called “underground trees” which appear like small shrubs, yet have a massaive root system often spreading hundred of metres, below the earth’s surface.
This protects these fascinating plants, which are believed to be some of the oldest in the world, even as old as 10 000 years, from fire and from grazing. Haka has many fine attributes — from diverse flora and fauna including an amazing 270 bird species (so far identified!) to excellent rock art sites to varied, pretty scenery, braai and picnic sites, and a network of roads, game trails and paths to explore freely, whether driving, running, walking , horse-riding, or mountain- biking.
Keen visitors may now horse-ride with the anti-poaching patrol, serving a dual purpose of both viewing and protecting game and trees! The enthusiastic MCZ entourage had a fine time.
We walked close to 11km, visited three fine rock art examples, including one which depicts hippos — the only one I’ve ever seen — of many hundreds I’ve visited nationwide, which does, and found a good spot for a break and snack – overlooking a large plain recently re-claimed from years of illegal cultivation and re-enclosed back inside the park.
After just 18 months, the bush is growing back full force and wildebeest, zebra and impala obligingly paraded by for our enjoyment from our vantage point on a kopje.
We also introduced the Clubbers to the joys of “geo-caching”, making them co-conspirators in the hiding of our own, and Haka’s, very first geo-cache!
Geo-caching is a popular, fun pursuit globally. The presence of a geo-cache brings visitors into places to explore and enjoy them while they hunt for hidden treasure! We plan to hide some more in Haka soon.
Seekers find them using their GPS and co-ordinates found on-line. It was a fine few hours of camaraderie, making new friends, and Haka Happiness, and my brother Dave’s special bonus was that, being a little ahead of the pack, he literally stumbled upon a civet, fast asleep under a bush — a beautiful animal, and a very lucky sighting of a nocturnal creature in daylight.
Geo-caching is an inner-child-nurturing activity guaranteed to drag techno-geeks outdoors! On May 2 2000, the switch controlling selective availability for GPS devices was hit.
24 satellites round the globe processed new orders and the accuracy of GPS technology improved tenfold. Tens of thousands of GPS receivers got an instant upgrade.
GPS enthusiast Dave Ulmer later tested this new-found accuracy by hiding a “cache”, and via the web, encouraging fellow GPS-wielding explorers to find it, using a GPS and its co-ordinates.
The idea of “geo-caching” was born. Today, millions of geo-caches are hidden all over the world, just waiting for the kid in all of us, to go find them.
They’re registered at www.geocaching.com so take a look and find out more. Tracking down a geo-cache is a treasure trail for grown-ups, evoking the same child-like excitement.
They are hidden in places of interest or natural beauty, so one gets to visit interesting and beautiful places – often, places one might otherwise have missed.
It’s an inspiring, enjoyable idea that began with one man and now provides fun and education to millions worldwide.
It’s an entertaining pastime that has dragged plenty of those otherwise glued permanently to computer screens, into the great outdoors.