Composing an area of 44 500 hectares, the Matobo National Park is situated in the stunning Matobo Hills, just 35 km from Bulawayo. One of the most under-rated parks in Zimbabwe, the landscape is littered with granite kopjes, balancing rocks, smooth whale-back dwalas, and lush vegetation.
What’s certain is that this is one of Africa’ must-visit destinations. To further persuade you, or to provide you with a helpful guide, we’ve put together a few Do’s and Don’ts for this magnificent region.
DO make the trek up to World’s View
Following his death in 1902, Cecil John Rhodes was buried at the summit of Malindidzimu or World’s View – a granite hill in the centre of the park. The burial site, however controversial, boasts one of the most breath-taking vistas in Zimbabwe – an awe-inspiring 360° view of the park.
Look out for the rainbow-coloured Platysaurus lizards, which hide under the humongous boulder which dot the summit. The gently sloping walk from the parking lot is suitable for all levels of fitness, and a small entry fee is payable before you set out.
DON’T expect to see ALL the Big Five
While the Matobo National Park is home to a diverse variety of wildlife, they are but three short of the Big Five. The park contains black and white rhino, and leopard, but there are no lion, elephant, or buffalo. Don’t despair though, this fact is made up by the large presence of giraffe, kudu, sable, eland, wildebeest, and waterbuck.
DO explore the numerous caves
With over 3000 registered rock art sites in the Matobo Hills, it is of vital historical importance to the country, and local Mwari religion. Paintings can be found along many cave walls in the park, which shine light on day-to-day life as far back as 13000 years ago. Same examples of those to visit include Pomongwe Cave, Inanka Cave, Bambata Cave, and White Rhino Shelter.
Featuring unique, spectacular rock formations, tranquil dams, various lofty viewpoints, and incredible wildlife, the Matobo National Park is one of the most snap-worthy destinations in Africa. While it’s difficult to capture the devastating beauty of this land in a mere snapshot, it’s definitely worth a try. Make sure to take a wide angle lens with you, in an attempt to get it all in.
There are a variety of hiking trails around the park, catering to a range of fitness levels. For a relatively east and short hike suitable for exercise novices, climb the Pomongwe Hill, situated near Maleme Dam, and gaze upon stunning aerial views of the central park. While you’re in the area, set off on a walk from the Maleme Dam to explore the the Pomongwe Cave rock paintings. For a more challenging day’s out, table Mount Shumbashawa, near Gordon Park.