Location: Ballantyne Park, Harare

General Information

Quarter degree square: 1731C3

Country: Zimbabwe

Habitat: Open grassland, some miombo and exotic (Fraxinus) woodland and dam vegetation.

Altitude range:

Annual rainfall:

Location (short): This location includes the three parks, Ballantyne, Blair and Staley Dam..

Location (detailed):

Description

The following information has been taken from https://www.zimbabwecaresnetwork.com/ballantyne-park-conservancy/

Ballantyne Park Dams represent a gem of a wetland in its suburb. It has many supporters who assist in a variety of ways in its upkeep. A gem, not only by its beauty but by the ecological and recreational value of the green space and wetland. Other open spaces in the suburbs tend to be polluted with builders’ rubble, plastic and household waste.

The land is part of an original farm settlement called “Little England” by Frederick Courteney Selous. Having first entered Zimbabwe in 1870, in the 1890s he constructed a group of huts on a kopje as a base for his hunting operations. This Kopje was in the Ballantyne area near the source of the Umwindsi River. The farm area was leased to a Mr Jan Meyer who called it Reitfontein due to the amount of large reed-covered springs in the area.

In 1937 Mr R A Ballantyne purchased a smallholding where the park exists and built the original Dam with two oxen and a dam scoop. The Land was bequeathed to the Salisbury City Council on condition that it should remain as a park for use by local residents and that no commercial undertakings destroy its value.

In the 1960s through to the 1980s the park was maintained by the City Council and many of the Harare residents have fond memories of the park for picnics, fishing and bird watching. The Park was known for its beautiful willow trees and was also called Willow Park and was topped up throughout the year by the municipality water authorities. This encouraged an abundance of waterfowl and birdlife. A small game park housing Duiker Guinea Fowl, Quail, Tortoises etc was in the centre of the park. It was called “The Ballantyne Park Animal Park” and was a beautiful family landmark. Those who shopped at the BP shopping centre would remember three peacocks from the park strutting around the car park.

In the 1990s the park fell into disrepair and the city of Harare was unable to maintain it. Sadly the park was being used as a dumpsite and a haven for thieves. In 2009 the Residents of Ballantyne Park and the surrounding areas formed The Ballantyne Park Conservancy Trust (BPCT). The Trust was formed to clean up and restore all three Parks, namely Ballantyne, Blair and Staley, as they had been neglected for many years. In 2014 the Harare City Council signed a Memorandum of agreement with the BPCT to restore and maintain the Parks… There are plans to include an educational centre, amphitheatre, more pathways and benches, including a cycle path.

In the Parks, indigenous trees are being planted. As a result of this afforestation, many species of birds are now seen in the area, including the popular red bishops. In addition, many species of frog abound, breeding in the unpolluted water.

The restoration has been carried out by Ballantyne Park Conservancy who are also responsible for the adjacent Blair Park and Staley Dam.

Useful links

View a list of records for Ballantyne Park, Harare

View a list of unique taxa (excluding cultivated plants) for Ballantyne Park, Harare

View a list of unique taxa (all taxa whether cultivated or not) for Ballantyne Park, Harare

View map showing records

View a list of recorders who have visited this location


Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-21

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2021). Flora of Zimbabwe: Location details: Ballantyne Park, Harare.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/location-display.php?location_id=228, retrieved 20 October 2021

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