Home » General » Sunday Picnics Time to Unwind [column]

How do you normally spend your Sundays? While the general answer to this will be: “I go to church with my family”, or “I go and watch soccer”, or rather still, “We go out with the boys and girls for a braai or a drinking spree”, the scenario, however, is changing these days.

Things are no longer the same as they used to be and people are finding out novel ways of making their weekends, especially Sundays, worthwhile and fun-loaded.

There is a new phenomenon that has taken town by storm and this is what they call Sunday picnics.

While the traditional picnic involved lovers who would pack their picnic basket with all the eateries and delicacies of their choice, normally inclined on the romantic side, and also throw a bottle or two of champagne into the ice box and then head out to a retreat ensconced far away from the madding crowd, the modern-day picnic has more ‘chic’, style, energy as well as the way similar to a bottle of effervescent champagne.

Tired of going out for the normal braai, or tired of having your wife always complaining that you were spending a better part of your Sundays away roasting meat while she remained confined to the couch with the telly blurring in front of her while your seat is empty, then Sunday picnics are the way to go.

The trend started off when some joint owners in some of Harare’s affluent suburbs decided to introduce a family-friendly environment conducive for the whole family, including children.

This saw them going an extra mile in setting up a playing ground for the kids which include cabby houses, rockeries, jumping castles as well as adult games like pool, darts and chess.

But the catch about these joints is that they offer the whole family an ideal set-up for conducting a family picnic.

This is whereby the entire family can spread a lavish meal for themselves and spoil themselves in an ambience of camaraderie, cosiness, closeness and a loving bond without any hassles like noise, disturbances from other patrons who would have had one too many.

A drive across town will reveal that most sports clubs in Harare like Belgravia Sports Club, Mount Pleasant Sports Club and Wild Geese have converted their facilities to cater for the demands of those who enjoy Sunday picnics. One of such places is Kipepeo Restaurant housed at Mount Pleasant Sports Club, now a favourite for Sunday picnickers because of its family-friendly environment.

For that, the joint is dubbed as an ‘all in one family entertainment’ place.

While most families often go for the same recipe and type of food at home week in and week out, Sunday picnics often offer families a chance to savour some other dishes that they rarely indulge in.

Sunday picnics at such places like Kipepeo, Amanzi Lodge and Restaurant, Garwe Restaurant and Bronte Garden Hotel, among others, are popular with patrons who go out for the mouthwatering dishes on offer varying from marinated char-grilled meat (chicken, lamb, goat), pizza from the authentic wood oven, burgers, hot dogs and chips.

“Apart from the picnic meals which we serve here, we also have a play centre for the kiddies and two fully functional pools, one big and one small,” explained an official from Kipepeo.

While some families may opt for the food that is served at the joints of their choice, some are allowed to bring in baskets containing an assortment of their own food which they then ask the staff to prepare for them while they enjoy some drinks or their favourite games.

“We allow the families to bring in their own food if they feel like it, but of course there is charge and conditions attached to this facility. For instance, a family might want to come and celebrate a special occasion in their family and naturally, they want food that has a special attachment to the event and that is also prepared according to certain specifications and we don’t have any problems with that,” said one lady only identified as Samantha from Greystone Park.

While to some people Sunday picnics might seem to be a just a way of fun, merrymaking, feasting and drinking, some have found it to be an ideal opportunity for the whole family to come together and discuss pertinent issues affecting them in a relaxed atmosphere.

“This accord the whole family a chance to relax and then open up on issues that some would have been hesitant to break the ice on. Sunday picnics are healthy because you are out there in the open and you are avoiding all those nasty encounters that normally occur in the home set-up whereby you are confined to yourselves and chances of tempers flying around are high as there will be no one to restrain you,” said Edgar Mlambo of Marlborough.

Sunday picnics have in a big way helped to cement family ties and relationships and are fast catching up or even threatening to overtake the restaurant and fast-food phenomenon whereby people take their beloved ones out during weekends.

Source : The Herald