Do you Safari? Do you like the wild? What's your take on this?
Ed: 2013 update pending please contact venue for up to date terms and fees
Harare wedding venue -This wedding and functions venue is suitable for those who love water bodies and the natural outdoors. In this review I try as much as I can to describe this venue with the help of some high quality photos that i took on my visit there. You have so many options at Cleveland Dam concerning your wedding. There are some particular things that I included in this review that you need to be aware of before making a final decision about this venue. Contact details of the venue office are at the end of the review.
Located rather on the outskirts of Harare along Mutare road just opposite the now closed Jaggers Wholesalers, Cleveland Dam belongs to Harare City Council and is run and managed by the City's Amenities Department. City of Harare also owns another wedding venue in Harare called Florence Chisholmn which i sadly wrote about in another post. Cleveland Dam is some 15 kms from Harare's CDB.
It's been popular with weddings for a long a reasonable period of time now. I recently paid them a visit to get a feel of how things are and going and to know more about what they have to offer you as you ponder on the most suitable Harare wedding venue. Cleveland is an environmentally protected area. For a long time no photography or filming was allowed until pressure mounted from wedding planners who felt that weddings without photos or filming would be senseless and quite strongly a waste of time.
The venue is essentially a "natural venue". There are several spots within the vast property were you can use for your wedding. This is a venue that will be more attractive to couple looking for something safari style. It is the type of venue where you can have your wedding ceremony in-between balancing rocks, trees and huge boulder rocks. There is a special balancing rocks site they are working on that will be available for use in December 2011.
I was fortunate i came dressed for safari as the park warden had to take me around in bushes and rocky places. I also saw couple of wild animals such as monkeys, some game, birds and the warden told me there are also giraffes even though i didn't get to see any at the time of my visit. Like i said being a natural habitat Cleveland will ignite certain creative juices of creative designers for your decor. I thought to myself as i was going around that the design and decor from Kuyana the guys i met at the The Emporium Bridal Expo would give you that WOW wedding at Cleveland.
For your photos you can choose to go with the rocks and trees. You also have another beautiful option of having your photos taken at the dam side. I also need to mention here that you can create a grandeurs entrance for your guests to the venue thanks tothe pine trees that line up the entire entry road from main entrance at the Mutare Road right to the main buildings that lead to the various venue locatiosn within the park.
Cleveland is also open for photo shoots even if you didn't wed there. This is unlike the requirement at Chapman that you must have wedded there in order to take photos. If you are coming in only for photos you won't need any prior reservation. There will be a charge however of $30.00 covering both video and still photos.
There is an additional $1.00 charge per car and another $1.00 per each member of the bridal party. I personally would encourage that you go and see the place for yourself to make sure that you like it. This is the wild it might present a transitional shock to everyone in your team especially if you are coming from a completely different set-up for your wedding.
Cleveland Dam offers no roof for your wedding ceremony or reception. You are free to have an anytime wedding. You will therefore need to bring in your own tent(s) if you so wish. Certain locations within the park can accommodate less people than others due to rocks and trees. However there is one popular opening that the warden showed me pictured above that can accommodate as many as 1000 people.
There is no kitchen for your catering and so on. You will need to bring in your own caterer and also think about the caterer's facilities. Ablutions and clean water are available. I didn't particularly ask the warden if they accept portable toilets since it’s an enviromentally protected area but i would like to believe that modern portable toilets which are environmentally friendly as those i saw at the bridal expo should be fine. You might need to verify this should you decide to pursue this venue option.
The venue has generally stable power supply according to the warden. However, it best to bring along a back-up generator as many other weddings do. The generator will be set-up behind the many rocks to reduce noise interference.
Up to this stage things seem great at Cleveland Dam. Enter public weekend activity. Unlike other venues that close the venue to you for a peaceful wedding, Cleveland is actually a public sanctuary which other weekend activities such as canoeing, fishing (summer) and general family, school and church outings. This means the venue can easily be congested. In fact the warden mentioned that at its peak you can have as many as 1000 people doing different activities including weddings.
The only consolation to those who love this wild and safari setting is that the property is relatively big so much that you can have your wedding in peace in your own section of the park. The only clashes with the rest of the public may occur if you decide to get your photos taken at the dam. The dam sometimes attracts numbers due to canoeing and fishing activities. Some people have also had their wedding photos taken in the middle of the dam in canoes. The canoes cost $7.00 per canoe for 1 hour. Each canoe as pictured takes 03 people.
In terms of cost, this is one of the most affordable venues at a flat fee of $320.00 regardless of the number of people coming in. You will only need to pay an additional $30.00 for photos and video filming.
You may pursue this venue option by contacting Mr Dehwa on +263 712 787 941. Unfortunately, there is no email option as is the case across most City departments.