The Awe- Inspiring Matobo Hills
The Perfert Wedding Venue
SAFARIS in Zimbabwe are among the most affordable in Africa.
At Matobo National Park🐾Wildlife sightings aren’t marred by hoards of other tourists.
Thanks to thick 🌿🌱vegetation and abundant water, the Matobo Hills support a high population of animals and birds.
According to Dambari, a non-profit conservation and research organisation , the last full count of animal species in the Matobo Hills in 2011 totalled 110.
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We’re almost done with the field work for our mammal count project to estimate population sizes of large mammals in Rhodes Matopos National Park (RMNP). So far we’ve accounted for 26 different species either through visual sightings or else by spoor, dung or using our camera traps. (Just to put that number in some context – since 2011 our camera traps have recorded 56 larger mammals and the full count of all mammals including rodents, shrews and bats in RMNP is around 110.) Here is a full list of the species seen so far: African wild cat Banded mongoose Black rhino Brown hyaena Bushbuck Bushpig Common duiker Common reedbuck Eland Giraffe Green (vervet) monkey Grey-footed (Chacma) baboon Hippo Impala Klipspringer Kudu Leopard Meller's mongoose Serval Slender mongoose Spotted hyaena Steenbok Warthog Waterbuck White rhino Zebra #matobo #matobohills #dambari #wildlife #conservation #research #zimbabwe
1. Black and White Rhino
👉The Matobo National Park is home to the country’s largest population of white and black 👌rhino and the game park is designated an Intensive Preservation Zone for their protection💂.
The white rhinos here are one of largest and heaviest land animals in the world.They are endowed with an immense body and large head, a short neck and broad chest.
Females weigh 1,700 kg and males 2,300 kg .The head-and-body length is 3.4–4.5 m and a shoulder height of 160–186 cm.
💥MATOBO is not only one of the world’s geological oddities- it is a birders paradise too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A checklist of over 370 bird species, among them the world’s highest concentration of black eagles🕊 is so impressive for such a small national park. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The vast granite domes, oval-shaped extrusions known as whalebacks, and blocks of broken granite called castle kopjes make #Matobo a perfect habitat for all types of birds. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A trip to the #Matopos as it is sometimes called, will satisfy your hunger to see raptors and bush birds. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We have put together a list of only 5 Bird Species to watch on a visit to the Matobo Hills- just for you!
The Boulder Chat
The Mocking Chat
The Plum Colored Starling
Red Winged Starling
Red Billed Hornbill
2019 is almost over and if you still haven’t ticked some destinations off your bucket-list don’t waste anymore time.
We’ve put together 5 of the best solo trips to take across national parks in Zimbabwe just for you.
This list comprises smaller national parks in Zimbabwe, which are ideal for solo travel.
As with anything you do alone, the less crowded the destination – the more comfortable you will be.
It will even be easier to make new friends since you will probably stay at a small safari lodge too.
Small safari lodges are usually single traveller friendly.
Chimanimani National Park
Chimanimani National Park is situated along eastern Zimbabwe and borders Mozambique.
With its magnificent peaks, some even higher than 2400m, this wild and rugged landscape is paradise for anyone who loves hiking.
There are no tarred roads in Chimanimani National Park. This accentuates the unspoiled nature of the environment.
Though wildlife is not as abundant as in other national parks, you can expect to spot species such as elands, klipspringers, blue duikers and even the shy and reclusive leopard. Photo
Matusadona National Park
Matusadona National Park is a small Zimbabwean park situated near Lake Kariba.
The park is one of the few places where Black Rhino, which isn’t so easy to spot in the wild, can be seen.
Matusadona is remarkably beautiful and its landscapes make it a great setting for avid photographers.
The name of the park comes from the Matuzviadonha Hills – the hilly area of the park which was named so by the local community members.
Matusadona is also home to the famous Big Five and a reported 240 species of birdlife.
Chizarira National Park
Chizarira National Park is the third largest in Zimbabwe.
Some believe it is also the most remote wilderness area in the country. Its name comes from Chijalila – a Batonka word – which means, “great barrier”.
The terrain here is rugged: jagged mountains deeply incised by gorges and ravines.
In between, in the valleys and the odd open plain, you’ll find lush vegetation fed by clear natural springs.
This has long made Chizarira National Park a great place to appreciate the tranquillity of the African bush Chizarira National Park is a good spot to locate the leopard – a shy creature which prefers rocky habitats.
Kazuma Pan National Park
The park is situated in the north-western corner of Zimbabwe between Kazungula (the border to Botswana), Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls.
It was developed as a haven for the animals during the hunting season. Kazuma is home to the Oribi, a small antelope, which is not often seen in other parts of the country.
Painted or wild dogs and cheetah can also be seen in the park which is their preferred hunting ground.
Various bird species can also be seen especially after a good rainy season.
Zambezi National Park
This National Park is situated near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. It was split off from Victoria Falls National Park in 1979 and is around 56,000 hectares.
The park is divided, by a road to Kazungula, into a riverine side and a Chamabonda Vlei side.
At the Zambezi National Park, you can find a wide variety of large mammals such as African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo and leopard. Besides these members of the Big Five, you can also expect to see sable antelopes, eland, common zebra, Southern giraffe, waterbuck and impala.
Benefits Of Travelling Alone
One of the biggest joys of solo travel is that you get to do what you want when you want.
You can connect with people if you wish or avoid them completely if you want to be alone.
When you travel alone, you travel on your terms.
Solo travel is relatively smooth in a country like ours because Zimbabweans are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people you will ever meet.
Therefore, travelling solo means that you’ll probably end up meeting and connecting with more locals than you would if you travelled in a group.
Did you know that Wildlife Tourism in Zimbabwe is going through a renaissance?
Despite, the political instability and an economy in shambles, there’s a proliferation of luxury safari lodges.
These lodges are offering affordable wildlife experiences throughout the country.
Away from the cities, in between kopjes (granite outcrops), beautiful national parks, rugged mountains and lush forests, Zimbabwe is truly an unspoilt wilderness.
This explains the renewed interest in the country as a #mustvisit destination.
Recent reviews from Lonely Planet, The Spectator and Conde Nast corroborate this.
Safaris in Zimbabwe are among the most affordable in Africa, according to National Geographic Traveler UK.
Wildlife sightings aren’t marred by hoards of other tourists, and the guides are among the best on the continent, thanks to their rigorous four- to seven-year training.
Zimbabwe boasts of relatively healthy populations of most of the Big 5 game animals which includes the lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard and elephants.
Here are the Best Places To See Big 5 Game In Zimbabwe.
A safari holiday to Zimbabwe is simply incomplete without a lion sighting.
Infact , a safari in Zimbabwe is nothing without the adrenaline rush of approaching wild lions on foot.
The best place to do this in Zimbabwe is at the Mana Pools National park.
During the dry season, wildlife gather around the pools to drink. Lions hang out there too, stalking their prey.
The Elephant is one of the easiest wild animals to spot in Zimbabwe, with large numbers in almost all of the national parks and game reserves.
Hwange National Park aalone houses the largest population – over 40 000.
Other than Hwange National Park, Gonarezhou National Park is the best place to see herds of elephants.
Even the name of the park translates to ‘Place of Many Elephants’ and they are the biggest in Zimbabwe.
What makes Gonarezhou a partculalry good spot to view elephants is that the park remains surprisingly pristine compared to other national parks in Zimbabwe.
Matobo National Park is the best place to see these heavy beasts.
The park is one of the last sanctuaries of wild roaming Rhino in their natural habitat.
A Rhino Safari on foot, in the shadows of the Matobo Hills, is one of the most iconic experiences you can have in Africa.
Feel your heart pound as you get close to one of the world’s most handsome and endangered animals.
Mana Pools National Park is where you have the best chance of seeing this elusive cat.
The park has plentiful supply of impala and crocodile – prey for the leopard.
Leopards are mainly nocturnal, solitary and very territorial. An evening Safari in Hwange National Park may also yeild a leopard sighting.
However, the best known leopard population, is in the Matobo Hills.
Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s largest & best Safari destination.
It has more animals and a greater variety of species than any other park in the country.
For this reason, it is a particularly good spot to see herds of Buffalo.
Some herds of buffalo can go up to thousands. You find both females and males in a herd together.
They are easier to see along water sources during the dry season.
THE Top 5 Museums you must visit across cities in Zimbabwe collect and preserve our objects and materials of religious, cultural and historical value.
As learning environments and also as repositories for works of art, historical artifacts and other forms of information these museums help to promote our cultural heritage.
1. Museum of Human Sciences – Harare
This museum focuses on archaeology and ethnography.
It was originally opened in 1903 and called the Queen Victoria Museum.
The museum contains the seven-hundred-year-old Lemba artifact ngoma lungundu, which some believe to be an replica of the Ark of the Covenant. It is the oldest wooden object ever found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Opened in 1962, it is home to displays of history, geology, animals, birds and insects.With its stunning displays and valuable research collections, it is the largest museum in Zimbabwe and ranks fourth in size among the museums of Africa.
It is an impressive circular building with nine public display galleries, a lecture hall with a seating capacity of 120 people.
Open daily including Sundays & Public Holidays from 9am to 5pm.
3. Zimbabwe Military Museum – Gweru
This museum has various displays that portray the history of the Army, Air Force and Police. It was opened in January 1974.
In addition to the aircraft, visitors can view aero engines, uniforms and equipment associated with Zimbabwe’s military history.
The museum has seven galleries including the foyer, the military history gallery, armoured vehicle hanger, police gallery, Guinea Fowl School Memorial hut and the artillery hanger.
Open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 5pm.
4 . Bulawayo Railway Museum – Bulawayo
This museum focuses on the history of railways in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe.
Its oldest exhibits date back as far as 1897, and include Cecil Rhodes’ personal railway coach.
The Museum is owned by the National Railways of Zimbabwe and was opened in 1972.
Open daily Monday to Sunday from 8am to 4pm
5. National Mining Museum – Kwekwe
This museum is dedicated to showcasing Zimbabwe’s mining heritage. It’s sited at Zimbabwe’s second largest gold producer, the Globe and Phoenix mine which produced over 4.2 million ounces of gold in its lifetime at an average grade of 27.6 grammes per ton.
This museum also incoporates The Paper House, an amazing and unique historical relic from 1894.
The Paper House is made from wood and reinforced cardboard and wiremesh.
Open Monday to Saturday 8am – 5pm
These top 5 museums to visit in Zimbabwe are all easily accessible and open daily throughout the year.
We hope that you get inspired in these engaging museums and make that trip to a major city in Zimbabwe worthwhile.
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The Matobo Hills is a place for adventurers, romantics, mystics, seekers and those who dare to get off the beaten path.
Whether you prefer a picnic with your family, climbing a hill to new heights or just a gathering with friends, the Matobo area is abound with landmarks that offer experiences worth sharing.
Al you have to do is to leave the big city hassles behind and discover heritage and true African hospitality in one of Zimbabwe’s most famous Cultural Landscapes.
Here are the 5 Landmarks you must see in Matobo.
1 . Inungu Hill
Inungu Hill.Read more about Hills in Matobo Here.
Natural splendour mated to the rich spiritual and cultural traditions appeals to the pilgrims in particular.
2 . Lumene Falls
3 . Mother and Child Kopje
Weathering upon the granite has produced some of the most spectacular rock scenery found anywhere on the planet.
The Mother and Child Kopje is one such impressive formation in the #Matopos.
Travelers from all over the world are drawn by mystery of the unusual rock formations, which look like the result of some volcanic eruption yet they were formed by unimaginable erosion over two billion years ago.
4. Breakfast Rock at Laing’s Field
The Matobo Hills are renowned not only for their beauty and abundant flora and fauna but also for their unique historical significance.
5. Maleme Dam
There’s no better way to enjoy a short holiday in Zimbabwe than a visit to one of the country’s recreational parks.
Woodlands, wildlife and waterfalls combine with biking, hiking and fishing for the perfect weekend vacation that you owe to yourself and loved ones.
Here are the best 5 recreational parks to visit and explore over the Heroes and Defense Forces Holidays in 2019.
1. Zambezi National Park
Zambezi National Park is situated near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
It was split off from Victoria Falls National Park in 1979 and is around 56,000 hectares.
Flora & Fauna
- Members of the Big 5: (You can view four members of the Big 5: African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo and leopard )
- Antelopes: Including sable , eland, water buck and impala.
- 400 species of birds: African skimmer, collared palm thrush, lanner falcon, goliath heron, African finfoot, rock pratincole and long-toed lapwing
- 75 species of fish: including the tiger fish
The Zimbabwe National Parks has some basic self-catering lodges along the river and there are some camping facilities as well. There is more information on this page.
Private safari camps and lodges are also dotted along the river, with a couple of them located on island of the Zambezi River. These are all luxury camps, offering fully inclusive stays with a range of their own activities.
You can indulge in the following at Zambezi National Park
- Walking Safaris
- Bird watching
- Game drives
2. Lake Manyame Recreational Park
Located 76 kilometres west of the capital city of Harare, Lake Manyame (formerly Darwendale) Recreational Park occupies a total area of 11,200 hectares. Of this area, Lake Mayame water body swallows 8,100 hectares, just under three quarters of the parks total area.
According to Experience Zimbabwe, a travel and information website on the country, Lake Manyame is one of the best angling environments in the world.
Flora & Fauna
- The park has small mammals, mainly herbivores: Sable, kudu, waterbuck, bush pig, reedbuck, common duiker, warthog, baboon, vervet monkey, oribi and porcupine.
- Fish: The blue bream, Hunyani salmon, mud sucker, tiger fish, barbel, parrot fish, bulldog, spot tail, minnow bass and African mottled eel are the major fish species on the lake.
- Flora: There are a variety of tree species within the park suchs as musasa, munhondo, mukarati, ficus, capensis, dicyrostachys, cinera, pseudolachnostylls, maprononeifolia, euphorbia ingens, diopyros.
The park has two well sited lodges, camping sites, caravan sites, and picnic sites. Firewood for your braai and cooking purposes can be purchased from the main park office.
You can indulge in the following at Lake Manyame Recreational Park
- Fishing, angling
- Boating, water skiing, yatching
- Bird watching
3. Vumba Botanical Gardens
This recreational park includes 159 hectares of landscaped gardens built around perennial streams which form a small lake.
Vumba Botanical Gardens is located 32 kilometres from Mutare .The gardens are popular for botany lovers, retreat destination and an up-market wedding venue.
FLORA & FAUNA
- Strategically positioned flower beds: have the following: roses, proteas, fuchsias, cycads, tea bushes, aloes, camellia, and palm trees among the indigenous orchids .
- Birds: There are several species of birds that can be seen in the garden such as: Gurney’s Sugarbird , Malachite and Bronzy Sunbird, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, blue swallow and the common quail.
- Mammals that can be seen in large numbers are the Samango monkey, blue duiker, bush bucks and dwarf chameleons which are said to be endemic to the Eastern Highlands region.
There are quite a number of self-catering lodges, campsites, and a caravan park within the garden.
Some of Zimbabwe’s finest hotels are close by for those that prefer luxury, comfort and the pleasure of fine dinning.
You can indulge in the following at Vumba Botanical Gardens.
- Golfing (nearby hotels)
- Bird watching
4. Lake Mutirikwi Recreational Park
Lake Mutirikwi, also known as Lake Kyle (formerly Kyle Dam), lies south east of Masvingo and was formed by the construction of Kyle Dam between 1958 & 1960.
The lake and park combined make for a wonderful environment and an excellent recreational facility. Being in easy reach of the Great Zimbabwe Ancient City the area is well worth a visit
FLORA & FAUNA
- The Park is rich in wildlife, including three of the Big Five; White Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard.Other animals include wildebeest, kudu, tsessebe, reedbuck, warthog, waterbuck, impala, hippopotamus, ostrich, klipspringer and porcupine. Some of the rarer species include; antbear, bushbuck, bushpig, sable and steenbok.
- According to the Zim Field Guide, the flora varies from small patches of evergreen riverine species, through thicket woodland, open miombo woodland, grassland and rocky hills.
There are several self-catering lodges , five caravan sites with a maximum capacity of six people at each and picnic sites sparsely situated around the park.
You can indulge in the following at Lake Mutirikwi Recreational Park
- Game viewing – but visitors must use their own vehicles for transport.
Fishing – visitors need to bring their own fishing gear and boats.
- Horse riding.
- Arboretum walk – unguided walk from Tourist Office to the camp sites
Angling – at clubs in the vicinity at Bompst Bay.
5. Lake Kariba Recreational Park
Rich in wildlife , this recreational Park is home to the 4th largest man-made lakes in the world and the second largest in Africa.
The shoreline is over 2 000 kilometres long and that makes Kariba ideal for boat cruises and the ultimate photographer’s paradise.
Kariba Recreational Park is based around the Zambezi River, which was initially dammed so as to build a hydroelectricity generation utility for the benefit of both Zimbabwe and Zambia.
FLORA & FAUNA
- Kariba’s fertile shores and a perennial supply of freshwater also attract a wealth of game animals – including elephant, buffalo, lion, cheetah and antelope. Nile crocodiles and hippopotamuses thrive in the lake.
- The lake is also a haven for bird life: Herons, egrets, kingfishers, fish eagle, cormorant and storks are all commonly seen.
- Over 40 fish species of fish: including the internationally renowned tigerfish, bream, nkupe, chessa, bottlenose, vundu and barbell.
- Flora:The lake has numerous dead trees which still protrude above the water from the spot where they once flourished.
There are twenty camping sites available within 100 metres of the lake shore and 15 caravan sites within the vicinity of the lake shore. Nyanyana Camp also offers lodges that are fully equipped with self-catering facilities, cutlery and crockery.
Many different operators offer houseboats in varying states of repair, from basic self-catering options to five-star full-board charters.
You can indulge in the following at Lake Kariba
- Boat cruising
- Tiger fishing
- Walking Safaris
- Bird watching
- Game drives
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WITH each day that passes, hundreds of visitors pull over at the Matobo National Park gate to register their arrival.
This is Zimbabwe’s oldest national park, one in which the republic’s history comes alive.
The Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo Hills World Heritage Site and Cultural Landscape – a 3 100 square km area which has the most tangible links to mankind’s pre-historic and modern past.
Bushmen Caves, Magnificent Balancing Rocks, and Wildlife – are major draw cards for travellers of all ages.
However, in addition to the above, Zimbabwe’s millennials are listing the world’s-away appeal and affordable luxury accommodation as the fundamental reason of visiting the Matobo Hills.
VISITING THE MATOBO HILLS
Yolanda Chitsinde, a 25-year-old from Harare drove twice to the Matobo Hills in July 2019 just to “turn – up” with friends.
On her debut trip to the Matobo Hills, Yolanda and squad had visited Bulawayo for a couple of days. They then decided, on their last day, to spend a couple of hours somewhere quieter, having a braai.
Just like that, Yolanda and crew ended up in the Matopos as Matobo is called by some, chilling at Rhodes grave before heading back to Bulawayo to dance their last night away.
Exactly one week later, Yolanda was back in the Matobo Hills to see more and do more with another set of three friends.
This time Yolanda and the three debutants spent the night at Matobo Hills Lodge and were treated to private guided tour of a stunning ancient cave, one of the many in the area that keeps attracting travellers from all over the world.
“Matobo is such a nice place, it’s a really spiritual place and historic, very important and amazing, Yolanda said.”
DISCOVERING NSWATUGI CAVE
“We went to the Nswatugi Cave, where the bushmen used to live, Yolanda recounted.” We saw a lot of rock paintings it was really beautiful art and it was a lot of history; it was a really nice experience – it was like I’m living in the past.”
Yolanda and friends marvelled at a Cape Zebra, giraffe, kudu and traditional wedding ceremony that were illustrated inside the walls of Nswatugi Cave.
One of Yolanda’s friends, Laura Masaraure described what she had seen inside the cave as amazing.
“It’s really fascinating where they [San Bushmen] learned this level of artistry,” said Laura in disbelief. “These are very good and elaborate paintings. There is so much interesting stuff to learn here, like how they actually made these paintings.”
Rumbidzai Mubvuta another friend of Yolanda was happy that the six-hour drive from Harare to the Matobo Hills had been worth the time.
Rumbidzai said she the whole crew was “tempted to spend the night in the cave because it was just beautiful, and they could not get over it.”
THE STAY AT MATOBO HILLS LODGE
Unfortunately, time was a huge constraint for Yolanda and company.
Sleeping in the cave was not a bad idea at all. It was just not pragmatic for the millennials who had a six-hour journey ahead of them and more importantly had to get back to adulting (work on Monday).
Instead, the closest they could get to living like the ancient hunters and gatherers was eating game meat. The crew arrived at Matobo Hills Lodge just in time for dinner and were delighted to find Impala and Warthog among the choice of entrees on the menu.
In Yolanda’s words, that ‘got to her’.
“The Impala meat that we had when we arrived here. It was really nice,” elaborated Yolanda. “It was my first-time having game meat and they prepared it really well, it was really nice.”
Over and above that, Yolanda was surprised by how vast the Matobo Hills area is. She confessed that she thought Matobo was just a small fenced area with Rhodes grave only and a few animals.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN THE MATOBO HILLS
Alas, there is so much to see and do in the area than a single day trip can accommodate. Yolanda and crew’s tour guide, listed so many other attractions that abound in the Matobo Hills, like:
- the Njelele Shrine,
- Mzilikazi’s grave,
- the Game Park which is stocked with Rhino, Zebra, Wildebeest, Antelopes and a host of other species of flora and fauna,
- many other caves,
- the Villages and the villagers,
- the Grain Bins,
- the dams ideal for fishing and picnics
- and 3 000 other registered rock art sites.
The tour guide, Tawanda Maphosa recommended that “to have a satisfactory experience in the Matobo Hills, travellers need to set aside at least two nights to explore the area.”
Clearly, Yolanda and squad will need to go back to the Matobo Hills to discover more.
But until Yolanda returns (most likely with a new set of friends), it will remain ingrained in her heart that the Matobo Hills experience is the G.O.A.T.
That is the reason why everybody is going to the Matobo Hills.