The Awe- Inspiring Matobo Hills
The autumn-coloured mystic hills of weathered balancing granite rocks 34km south of Bulawayo are truly a special place.
The Perfert Wedding Venue
Matobo Hills Lodge is an authentic Zimbabwe safari lodge located within the Matopos National Park.
Getting to the Lodge from Bulawayo is fairly easy. You only have to make the choice to either drive or be driven.
As you leave the City of Kings, the temptation to enjoy the open road is strong. The road is fairly smooth compared to most in Zimbabwe nowadays.
However, the smartest thing to do on the single carriage-way leading to the Matopos National Park is to religiously follow the all the road rules and regulations, particularly the speed limit of 80km/hr.
Zimbabwe is cattle country, that means there is a lot of livestock that stray onto the main roads. It is imperative to be alert and cautious whilst driving.
WHERE THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
30 km along Matopos Road, after passing lake Matobo, the route curves to the right and on the drivers’ side you will see a fence, fields and many old buildings. This is the old estate of Cecil J Rhodes, now an agricultural research facility.
As you continue you will see gum trees on your right, immediately turn left opposite these trees towards Rhodes Matopos National Park (it is well signed), down a single track tarred road that leads to the National Park gate.
The national park entrance fees are pegged at US$3 per person for locals, US$10 per person for foreign nationals and US$10 per vehicle.(March 2019 rates)
This is where the all fun begins.
After entering the national park, it will just be about 16km before arrival at Matobo Hills Lodge.
As the road gets narrower the ravishing rock scenery increasingly becomes a pleasant distraction. It’s better to stick to the 60km/hr pace.
At this point, it’s not the livestock that you have to be mindful of, it’s the Zebra, the Wildebeest, the Baboons, the Warthogs, Klipspringer and Banded Mongoose that might run in-front of you!
By the time you have to take a right detour onto the gravel road leading to the lodge, you will have traveled 10km from the gate. You will see from afar, the granite hill on which Cecil Rhodes was buried and a mysterious cross on one of the Mountains.
The 6km of dirt driving towards the lodge feels nothing like a rally drive. The road is smooth and well maintained, just a little bumpy on one or two spots.
When you reach destination Matobo Lodge, our friendly staff will be ready to add to your already amazing experience, giving you a warm welcome and serving you the best food and cocktails in The Most Incredible Location.
The rest that happens after that will probably be the best adventure you will ever have, but hey, that’s your story to tell.
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The quickest and easiest way to become a rhino expertFirstly, is a Black Rhino even black? Is a White Rhino well, white?
The answer to both questions is NO.
That’s right! Both species are, in fact, grey with the Black Rhino having a darker shade than the White Rhino.
So, how do you tell the Difference Between a Black and White Rhino?
There are several differences between the two species.
However, the main difference lies in their size, the shape of their lips and what they eat.
The White Rhino is the second largest land mammal after the elephant. Its name is said to have been derived from the Afrikaans word, wyd, which describes the shape of its mouth and means, wide.
The theory goes that the Dutch settlers in South Africa initially called them “wijd mond rhino”, meaning “wide-mouth rhino.” Early English settlers mistranslated the term “wyd” to “white” and hence the name, white rhino while the darker rhino was called the Black Rhino.
The White Rhino is a grazer and its wide and square upper lip is adapted for easier feeding on grasses. If you happen to spot one while on safari, you will notice that it is usually facing downwards so its mouth is always close to the ground when grazing.
Unlike the White Rhino, Black Rhino are browsers and their smaller, hook-shaped lips allow them to grasp prickly shrubs and trees. They are always facing upward so that there is no need to for them to lift their heads when feeding off trees.
And What Is The Difference Between a “Black” and “White” Rhino?
• Black Rhino are slightly smaller and shorter than White Rhino.
• White Rhino have longer foreheads and slightly longer tails than their Black counterparts.
• White Rhino also have bigger heads and longer necks due to the muscles required to support the neck when grazing.
• Again, the hips of a White Rhino are lower than its shoulders and this gives it a sloped shape to its resulting in a sloped shape to their back unlike the black rhinos that have dipped backs.
If you are on safari –
You generally should expect to see White Rhino more often than Black Rhino. There are two reasons for this – the behaviour and quantity of the species.
Firstly, Black Rhino are private, anti-social creatures which spend much of their time in thick vegetation, browsing the twigs and bark from small trees and shrubs.
On the other hand, White Rhino are a bit more sociable and can be found in larger groups. Since they eat grass, you are more likely to see the White Rhino out in open spaces.
Secondly, there are far more White Rhino left than the Black Rhino which are now critically endangered.
Did you know that Matobo National Park is one of the last sanctuaries for the Black and White Rhino?
When you visit us at Matobo Hills Lodge, you can expect to go on game drives where you will get to view these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
An opportunity your grand children may never have.
If you are interested in learning more about the various activities in store for you at Matobo Hills Lodge –
Matobo Hills Lodge would like to share the description of Matopos by Oliver Ransford – pretty accomplished we think! If this doesn’t lure you then nothing will!
“Well-wooded kloofs, great naked fingers of rock, the strangely beautiful sheets of ocherous color painted by lichen, blue heraldic lizards motionless in the sun, green transparent evenings, huge boulders delicately balancing on one another, extensive, ‘bald’ dwalas exhaling the musty archaic tang of living rock, clear streams, a natural ‘Hadrian’s Wall’ which runs for twenty-five straight miles, hidden vleis, black eagles wheeling endlessly in the Matopos skies, a great sense of restlessness and of indefinite surprises, the strangely grotesque architecture of the landscape which yet achieves a new dimension of beauty – all these qualities compose and constitute the Matopos Hills.’
Powerful poetry, come and see for yourself.
Photo Credit: Jason Walters