Matobo Hills National Park
Why visit Matobo Hills National Park?
This beautiful national park lies at the heart of Matobo Hills, just 35km south of Bulawayo. Matobo, previously known as Matopos is often overlooked, but it’s a real gem. Matobo Hills were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, due to the unique landscape, distinguished by majestic granite boulders and balancing rocks that look as though they could tumble at any given moment.
With no lion, elephant or buffalo you can safely explore on foot and perhaps enjoy some rhino tracking, or check out the well preserved ancient rock paintings.
Reasons to visit Matobo Hills include:
- Bushmen rock paintings inspired by the wildlife of the area.
- This area is often referred to as the spiritual home of Zimbabwe and it holds deep meaning for the local people. It is the burial site of Mzilikazi, the Ndebele king and cultural ceremonies are conducted here to this day.
- Cecil John Rhodes is also buried here at the aptly named ‘World’s View’. Standing on top of the granite boulders you look out onto sweeping vistas and the horizon in the distance.
- Matobo NP is home to good numbers of rhino. The white rhino is more common here than the black rhino.
- Why not explore the hills and granite boulders on foot. It’s perfectly safe as there are no lion, elephant or buffalo in the area.
- This area has the largest concentration of leopard in Africa.
- Black eagles and African hawk eagles feature prominently in the park. This is a known breeding area for black eagles.
- Next to the national park you will find a smaller game park which is an “Intensely Protected Zone” and here the game concentrations increase and you will find both white and black rhino going about their daily business unaware of the fact that they are being closely protected.
- As well as the sought after rhinos there is ample general game in Matobo too.
When to visit Matobo National Park
Matobo Hills can be visited all year round, but it is best in the dry season for game viewing. The bush is less dense, the grasses lower and this makes it easier to spot the wildlife.
How to do it
Matobo Hills is easy to reach by car from Bulawayo or by air from further afield.
Accommodation in Matobo
There isn’t a huge choice of accommodation in this area but Amalinda, with its 9 thatched chalets remains a popular choice amongst travellers.
Matobo Hills National Park accommodation
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facts and information
Time: GMT + 2 hours
Flights from UK to Harare or Victoria Falls are usually via Johannesburg and can take 12+ hours, although once the new Victoria Falls airport is fully operational there may be an option of direct flights – watch this space.
Language: English is the official language of Zimbabwe. Shona or Ndebele are also widely spoken by the majority of the population.
Visas are required for UK passport holders and can be obtained on entry into Zimbabwe.
Malaria is a risk in many areas of Zimbabwe.