Matobo National Park


  3 reviews
Male and female flat lizards in Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe
Male and female flat lizards in Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe
About Matobo National Park
Country found in:
Parks total area:
424 kilometers² (164 mi² )
Year established:
1926
Anti-malarial:
Absolutely!
Park wildlife:
  • Unique granite scenery, with breathtaking rock formations.
  • One of the best areas to see rhinos.
  • The world’s densest population of leopards.
  • Important archeological sites.
  • Only half an hour’s drive from Bulawayo.

Matobo National Park, also known as Matobo Hills National Park, is a place of divine beauty and is the soul of Zimbabwe. It lies 35 kilometers (21 miles) south of the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo. It covers an area of 424 kilometers² (164 miles²), at the core of the Matobo Hills. The Hills are made out of granite, which was forced to the surface over 2 billion years ago and then exposed to erosion that created rock formations with an otherworldly feel. These granite rocks, which often seem to be defying gravity, are known as 'kopje', a Dutch word meaning little head, and are a distinct feature of this area.

Matobo is divided into two sections – the recreational park, and a 100-square-kilometer (38 miles²) game park, where the highest level of protection is imposed to preserve its inhabitants.

The park has rich and diverse flora and fauna, with 175 bird, 88 mammal, 39 snake and 16 fish species recorded here. White and black rhinos have been reintroduced to Matobo, and this area is one of the best places to spot these gentle giants. The park is also home to the world’s densest population of leopards, because their main pray - hyrax, or shrewmouse - is widely present here. Matobo is also important as the habitat of black eagles, and has the world’s highest concentration of breeding couples.

These hills have been occupied by humans since the Stone Age. San (Bushmen) lived here as early as 2,000 years ago. Many examples of their rock paintings have been preserved and can be viewed during your visit. The main archeological sites include Bambata Cave, Inanke Cave and Nswatugi Cave. The area still holds a spiritual significance to the local people, who use the shrines and sacred places located in the hills.

Park activities in Matobo National Park

The park offers great hikes of different lengths. You can also choose to view game from horseback and go on one of the horse trails. Boating can be done on some of the larger dams. For those enjoying running, there is an annual 53-kilometer-long (33 mile) road race through the park.

When to vist Matobo National Park?

The dry season runs from April to October, and is the best time to spot the wildlife, as there is less vegetation and the animals migrate to the waterholes. During the wet season, the nature is greener and more abundant. This is the best time for bird-watching and seeing newborn animals, although some accommodation closes and the roads can become difficult to travel.

 

 

 

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Reviewed by:

(3/5 stars) Written on: Apr 12, 2016   |   Visited: Mar 2016.
Matobo National Park is reputed to have the largest concentration of leopard to be found anywhere and is also home to both black and white rhino. Visit the final resting site of Cecil John Rhodes at Worlds View and breathe in the view over the incredible granite rock formations. If it's rock art you want to see then Matobo National Park is place to see it! Just b... read more
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6 people gave this review kudus.
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Dec 29, 2014   |   Visited: Oct 2014.
Matopos National Park is a fascinating natural spectacle with the Matopos Hills and its unique rock formations. The UNESCO world heritage site is only 45 min by car from Bulawayo and thus perfect for a day or half-day trip. Matopos National Park offers something for everyone and is also excellent for family trips. The park can be explored by car, by bike or even by... read more
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10 people gave this review kudus.

(4/5 stars) Written on: Feb 26, 2014   |   Visited: Oct 2013.
Technically known as Rhodes Matopos National Park, Matobo National Park is known to be the oldest park with the name Matobo reflecting the correct vernacular pronunciation of the area.

The scenery of the Matobo Hills makes it truly special. The Matobo Hills has a wide diversity of flora and fauna, with over 200 species of tree and over 100 grass species. Matobo... read more
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14 people gave this review kudus.
Safari suitability: 7 / 10
Perfect for animal and archeology enthusiasts. A rhino safe-haven. Watch out for the spectacular granite formations!
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Articles about the Matobo

Nearby parks and game reserves

Animals you can find

Rhinoceros
Rhinoceros
Cheetah
Cheetah
Leopard
Leopard
Giraffe
Giraffe
Hyena
Hyena
Warthog
Warthog
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Getting to Matobo

Activities you can do

Horseback riding
Horseback riding
Bird watching
Bird watching
Boating / canoeing
Boating / canoeing
Cultural / Tribal visits
Cultural / Tribal visits
Fishing
Fishing
Game drives
Game drives
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