Anesu, Randal and Kudzai Mudondo, all in their late teens, went swimming in Whitewaters Dam near the city of Gweru on Friday while other members of the family were braaiing meat on the shore, the Sunday Mail reported.
The boys got into trouble just after 15:00.
State ZBC radio reported that the water in the dam – where a local university student also drowned in May – was “too deep.”
But the Sunday Mail and the Bulawayo-based Sunday News said there were no lifeguards on duty at the dam, where it is also possible to go on a boat-trip.
Father Darlington Mudondo told the Sunday News: “We feel that the lives of our children could have been saved if there were life-savers at Whitewaters,” he said.
The owner of the resort where the tragedy occurred, Enos Size, has allegedly said the safety of swimmers is not his responsibility.
Size told the Sunday Mail: “Accidents happen. I am not the owner of the dam. There are sign posts at the entrance and other points that one can swim at their own risk.” Size is a prominent business owner in Gweru, which is about 40km from the dam.
The police sub-aqua unit could not immediately attend to the accident because officers were 200km away at the Sanyathi Dam where another man was believed to have drowned.
The boys’ bodies were only retrieved on Saturday morning.
The Christmas tragedy will bring back memories of a boating disaster on a lake near Harare on December 25 2011, in which 11 children died.
The children were taking a trip on a speedboat on Lake Chivero when it capsized. That incident was later blamed on an intoxicated boat crew. The lake is around 25km from Harare and is a popular destination for day-trippers during the holidays.
In another holiday tragedy, unconfirmed reports on Sunday also suggested that a senior police officer had been killed by a tree that fell on his car in Harare.