Our 5 favourite things to see and do in the Matobo Hills National Park.
The Matobo hills National Park is located about 40 km south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The hills consist of an area about 3000 square Kilometres of which 424 square Kilometres is National Park.
The national park itself is the oldest in Zimbabwe, it was established in 1926 at the request of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes.
The matobo hills is one of the most unique national parks found anywhere in Africa. There are over 200 species of tree recorded within the National Park as well as a whopping 175 different species of bird and 88 different species of mammal.
There is so much to see and do in the Matobo National Park, it’s hard to decide exactly just how to spend your time. Here is a list of our five favourite things to see and do in the Matobo National Park.
Matobo Hills National Park is open 24 hours a day and is classified as a recreational park which means you can feel free to get out of your car and walk around, explore and discover the park. Get a feeling for the area by climbing one of the numerous granite hills. Matobo Hills Lodge offers 3 Guided walks for you to do throughout the property at your own leisure.
The matobo hills is a stunning Panorama of constantly changing Granite Hills. There are several dams in the hills. Maleme Dam is the most popular with day visitors because it is easily accessible via a tar road. It is a wonderful place to set up for a mid-day picnic with picnic sites available around the area. Mtshelele dam is further away and requires a one-hour drive a long a fairly bumpy dirt road but it’s definitely worth it in our opinion, a scenic hidden gem with picnic and camping facilities available.
The grave of Cecil John Rhodes is located in one of the most majestic and important sites in the Matobo Hills. The grave sits alongside several others of colonial times, located on the top of a hill known by the locals as “Malindidzimu” – the hill of benevolent spirits. The best time to visit is definitely as the sun is setting towards the end of the day with a cold gin and tonic or beer in your hand to end a great day in the hills.
The matobo hills brims with its history. The hills have been inhabited for as long as humans have existed. The cultural highlight of any trip to Matobo Hills National Park has to be visiting one of the incredible caves that are littered throughout the park. The painted caves are the work of the San Bushmen who lived in the hills around 2,000 years ago leaving a rich heritage of rock paintings. The best caves are a little bit off the beaten track but are absolutely worth the effort. Our favourite caves are Inanke Cave, Silozwane Cave and Nswatugi Cave, they have the best examples of bushman paintings but only Nswatugi Cave is easily accessible. There are over 3,000 registered rock art sites in the Matobo Hills so you are sure to come across some if you keep your eyes out.
White Rhino are amongst some of the most endangered species on the planet, so it is truly a spine-tingling experience to get up close to these majestic and rare beasts. The Matobo Hills has one of the last wild, free-roaming Rhino populations anywhere in Africa. In the presence of a professional guide you will be able to get some amazing photographs to show to your friends whilst also contributing to the protection of these fine animals.