Lake Mutirikiwi and Kyle Recreational Park

Situated in South Eastern Zimbabwe near Masvingo

Lake Mutirikwe, also known as Lake Kyle (formerly Kyle Dam), lies in south eastern Zimbabwe, south east of Masvingo and was formed by the construction of the Kyle Dam between 1958 & 1960. Much of the land used for the lake was previously farm land owned by the legendary pioneer of the Lowveld, Tom Murray MacDougall, a man of great vision who was instrumental in the building of the dam. The farm and the dam were named after the Kyle District in Scotland from where Murray MacDougall originated.

Click on map to enlarge


Much of the lake is very well situated within magnificent natural granite formations which proved to be ideal not only as a reservoir to provide irrigation to the sugar cane plantations of the Lowveld but also as an amazing recreational facility catering for fishermen, campers, picnickers and sailors.  The Kyle Dam wall is a double curvature concrete arch 309 metres in length and 63 metres high. The Mutiriwki Lake covers an area of approximately 90 sq km² (when full) with a total capacity of 1,378 million cubic metres, a catchment area of 3900 km sq and a surface area of 9105 hectares.

The purpose of building Kyle dam was for it to act as an irrigation reservoir to provide water to the farming estates in the south east Lowveld. Water levels within the dam have fluctuated considerably over the years due to a series of droughts and demands for irrigation water. It has reached as low as 11% of capacity.

Rivers which feed Lake Mutirikiwi include the Mbebvi River, Matare River, Popoteke River, Umpopinvani River, Makurumidzi River, and Shagashe River. 


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At A Glance



Lodge of the Ancient City

44 rooms, 14 lodges with twin double beds and 4 family rooms sleeping 4.

All lodges have the following amenities:

  • shower
  • bath
  • toilet
  • hand basin
  • electrical socket – square amp, 220V

Norma Jean’s

8 hotel rooms and 4 fully equipped self-catering ( self contained ) family lodges. Both hotel rooms and self-catering ( self contained ) chalets are en-suite, and all have private balconies with views across Lake Mutirikwi.

Dining and lounge facilities

Great Zimbabwe Hotel

38 spacious rooms 

There are a range of single and double rooms with either twin beds or a double bed.

The standard rooms and single rooms overlook a lush garden courtyard with bright country flower beds, shrubs and creepers. 

The deluxe suite, family suite and standard suites are located in separate nearby satellite buildings giving them an added sense of privacy. 

Each room is complimented with the following facilities:

  • Digital Satellite Television
  • Telephone
  • Tea and coffee facilities
  • Hairdryer (provided on request)
  • Bathroom (shaving socket, toilet and bathtub)

Airport and Road Access


Masvingo airport is situated 2.5 Nautical miles east of the City of Masvingo. It provides air access to Masvingo town, Lake Muturikwi, Kyle Recreational Park and the Great Zimbabwe Monument.

Construction of the Airport started in 1952. It has an elevation of 3596 feet and the runway is 1726 metres long and 18 meters wide. The runway can handle light and medium sized aircraft. 

Road Distances:

Tour operators will organise transport between destinations. Specific transfers can also be arranged

  • Masvingo – Beitbridge 283 kms (177 miles)
  • Masvingo – Birchenough Bridge 173 kms (108 miles)
  • Masvingo – Bulawayo 286 kms (179 miles)
  • Masvingo – Chiredzi 203 kms (127 miles)
  • Masvingo – Gweru 182 kms (114 miles)
  • Masvingo – Harare 293 kms (183 miles)
  • Masvingo – Hwange 616 kms (385 miles)
  • Masvingo – Kariba 658 kms (411 miles)
  • Masvingo – Matopas 331 kms (207 miles)
  • Masvingo – Mutare 307 kms (192 miles)
  • Masvingo – Nyanga  422 kms (264 miles)
  • Masvingo – Victoria Falls 725 kms (453 miles

Other Distances:

  • Bulawayo –  Gweru 164 kms (102 miles)
  • Bulawayo – Harare 440 kms (274 miles)
  • Bulawayo – Matopas 45 kms (28.10 miles)
  • Bulawayo – Mutare 578 kms   (359 miles)
  • Bulawayo – Victoria Falls 438 kms (274 miles)
  • Harare – Gweru 277 kms (172 miles)
  • Harare – Mutare 254 kms (158 miles)
  • Harare – Victoria Falls 878 kms (548.75 miles)
  • Hwange – Victoria Falls 102 kms (63.75 miles)



Dam Construction

Built on the Mutirikwe River the dam was constructed between 1958 – 1960 with the resulting lake area covering approximately 90 sq km².

The double curvature concrete arch dam wall is 309 metres in length and 63 metres high. The total capacity of the lake is 1,378 million cubic metres, it has a catchment area of 3900 km squared and a surface area of 9105 hectares.

The purpose of building Kyle dam was for it to act as an irrigation reservoir to provide water to the farming estates in the south east Lowveld.

Lake Kyle Recreational Park was established in 1960 upon completion of the dam. It extends over 16 900 hectares and lies mainly on the lake’s northern shore, while there is a small recreational park on the southern shore. Of the total area, approximately 9300 hectares is occupied by the lake (when full) and 7600 by the park.

The lake and park combined make for a wonderful environment and an excellent recreational facility. Being in easy reach of the Great Zimbabwe Ancient City the area is well worth a visit. The views, the rock formations, the fishing, birdlife and animals (see below) and the picnicking / BBQing facilities all make for a very pleasant and relaxing experience.

The Park area is bounded on the north by the Beza Range which rises to a height of 1485m. Between this range and Lake Mutirikwi, is an undulating plain averaging 1070m above sea level. The plain terminates in an area of broken hills dividing Lake Mutirikwi into to two main areas: east and west. Four main estuaries are a feature of the lakeshore in the central section of the area.  On the south of the lake the area is dominated by hills of solid granite rock.

See below for wildlife found in the Kyle Recreational Park.

Many visitors to Lake Mutiriwki and Park also include stays in the Eastern Highlands and / or Gonarezhou National Park.



ZIMPARKS Facilities


Accommodation facilities are located about 1 km from the Tourist Office. There are a wide variety of self-catering lodges with between one to three bedrooms –  Waterbuck (3), Elephant (2), Hippo (2), Rhino (2), Sable (1), Impala (1), Kudu (1), Buffalo (1), Cheetah (1), Duiker (1)

Picnic Sites

The picnic sites have ablution and fireplaces. The sites are mainly for day use.

The Popoteke picnic site  is located approximately 10 km from the Kyle entrance gate and situated in the northern portion of the Park. The Popoteke gorge site adjoins a special conservation area; an estuarine refuge rich in  spawning fish.

The woodland type is predominantly Miombo with Brachystegia spiciformis and julbernada globiflora as constituent species. The gorge offers a spectacular view.

Mutirikwi picnic site is located 6 km from the Tourist Office.

Camp Sites:

Located 700 metres from the Tourist Office. There are 11 camping sites with 2 ablutions consisting of toilets and hot shower. There are also 2 dining shelters serving this area.

Sikato Bay Camp:

The location has 12 camping sites.

Caravan Site:

There are 5 caravan sites of which 4 have electric power. The maximum capacity for the site is 6 people per site.


Location Pin


The Mutirikwi recreational park (formerly known as Kyle National Park) is located on the boundary of the lake. It is home to more than 25 species of wild mammals.

Animals: Some commonly cited animals include; buffalo, common duiker, eland, impala, kudu, reedbuck, warthog, waterbuck, white rhinoceros, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, squirrel, black-backed jackal, leopard, honey badger, rockdassie, hippopotamus, ostrich, crocodile and porcupine. Some of the rarer species include; antbear, bushbuck, bush pig, klipspringer, sable and steenbuck.

Birds: There are various commonly sighted Herons, Egrets and Storks with Ducks and other waterbirds which will be readily seen. In and around the park and local area a wide variety of other birds can be sighted such as the African Cuckoo Hawk, Brown-backed and Green-backed Honeybirds, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, African Golden Oriole, Rufous-bellied Tit, Miombo Rock-thrush, Boulder Chat, Red-faced Crombec, Green-capped Eremomela, Stierling’s Wren-warbler, Southern Hyliota, Collared Flycatcher, Grey Tit-flycatcher, Wood Pipit, Miombo Blue-eared Starling and Miombo Double-collared Sunbird amongst others.It is worth checking the unusual forest birds that occur at Great Zimbabwe with African Emerald Cuckoo, Narina Trogon, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Grey Cuckooshrike, Red-capped Robin-chat, African Dusky Flycatcher, Cape Batis and Swee Waxbill

Fish: The lake has approx 21 species of fish which includes: Banded bream, Greenhead bream, Sabi/ red breasted bream,  Mozambique bream,  Black bream,  Largemouth bass,  Nembwe, Limpopo sardine, Three spot minnow, Spotted minnow, Hamilton barb, Straight fin barb, Beira barb, Southern kneria, Spotted catlet, Mottled eel, Eastern bottlenose, Smallmouth yellow fish, Red spotted mudsucker, Red-eye mudsucker, Catfish or barbell.


  • Fishing is the major recreational activity undertaken at Lake Muturikwi. Visitors bring their own fishing gear and boats.
  • Game viewing – visitors use their own vehicles for transport.
  • Guided walks
  • Guided horse rides
  • Arboretum walk – unguided walk from Tourist Office to the camp sites
  • Scenic view – Uchicho; view of the lake and mountains
  • Boat club.
Sign Post

Nearby Attractions

  • Great Zimbabwe Ancient City
  • Italian Chapel
  • Kyle Dam Recreational Park
  • Settlers Cemetery 
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