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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Is it Matobo National Park or Matopos National Park?
You have heard about Matobo National Park. Or is it Matopos National Park?
We have shared so many pictures of this enchanting gallery of rocks and wildlife. In fact, we – and many others – have written several articles on it. We inform and remind you of all that awaits you when you visit the Park.
Maybe, you have been to the nature reserve. Maybe you have not. Maybe you wish to visit it soon or later. And, we hope you do.
The park is home to massive “whale backed” domes or “dwalas”. These awesome rocks are a result of years and years of erosion due to weather changes.
This erosion is a very gradual process and it is ongoing. Yes – mother nature is not done showing us her erosive power.
This weathering process will continue to act upon the incredible landscape.
Luckily for us, we can still continue to enjoy this amazingly unique Park in all its complexity.
After all –
We have several more millions of years before erosion finally reduces it to a flat and unflattering plain.
In the meantime – We carpe diem indeed!
Still, you may have also wondered – Is it Matobo or Matopos National Park?
Some folks call it Matobo National Park. Maybe you are on of them. Others call it Matopos National Park.
Still, some use the two names interchangeably.
So – which is it? Gather around folks, it is time for a story.
Once upon a time…
Haha – just kidding. But, yes, we are travelling back into time now.
Where does the term, “Matobo” originate from?
It has been said that the Karanga people referred to the Matobo region as “madombo” meaning stones.
The distinct appearance of the rolling Matobo Hills was the reason behind the area’s name.
The founder and leader of the Ndebele nation, King Mzilikazi, is said to have named the balancing rocks “matobo”.
Matobo is a Ndebele term meaning “bald heads”.
Thus, the name of the area, Matobo, was born.
And how did the word, “Matopos” come about?
Again, history has it that White settlers are the ones who used this term.
They may have had trouble pronouncing the word, Matobo. Thus, they resorted to using Matopos instead of Matobo.
This word caught on so much that its increased usage led many to using the two words interchangeably.
So, which is it? Is it Matobo? Is it Matopos? Is it Matobo or Matopos?
The correct name is Matobo and not Matopos.
That means it’s Matobo Hills and not Matopos Hills.
It’s Matobo Hills Lodge and not Matopos Hills Lodge.
It’s Matobo National Park and not Matopos National Park.
While we are on the subject of Matobo, be sure to read our blog on all the fun facts about Matobo National Park.
Before jumping into what to consider when booking an African safari, did you know that safari is a Swahili term meaning, “a journey”?
In the past, this journey usually involved a lot of trophy hunting.
With certain wildlife facing the threat of extinction, thankfully, those days are just that. In the past.
If you’re planning on travelling, an African safari ought to be on your bucket list. To ensure your trip is a memorable one, it pays to consider the following when booking for an African safari.
1. Make sure to book your African safari in advance
While you’re making plans for your trip, there are so many others doing the same thing.
Safaris in Africa have become so popular over the years. It’s no surprise that many camps get booked out months or even, years in advance.
If you postpone booking for your safari, you only limit yourself and may end up adjusting your plans to fit in with what is available.
In fact –
This may end up costing your more money if the only camps available when you are ready to book are expensive than others.
2. Knowledge and experience of the guides
When booking an African safari, find out about the experience and knowledge of the tour guides at the camps you consider visiting.
A tour guide with good communication or interpersonal skills plus a wealth of knowledge can make yours a memorable trip.
Thus, it is worth it to opt for a safari camp or lodge with guides who are good at their job.
A way to know which of those camps has good (licensed) guides is to pay attention to the reviews of those camps by other guests, be it on their websites, social media accounts or on sites such as TripAdvisor.
While guide accreditation differs from one country to another, in Zimbabwe aspiring guides undergo years of extensive training before getting their license to practice.
Zimbabwe’s process of obtaining a guide license is regarded as one of the most extensive and highly reputed in Africa.
3. Duration of your trip
Another thing to remember when booking an African safari is that each night you spend at a camp will cost you.
Depending on your budget, you will have to work out the number of nights you want to spend at the camp.
One night is certainly not enough because such a short time will not allow you to fully experience the safari camp and all the activities it has to offer.
Spending more than one night may help you know more about the area, its creatures, and plants. All things said, your budget will determine how long you get to stay at one safari camp.
4. Fly-in or drive-in safari
How will you get to the safari camp?
As you search for the ideal safari camp to visit, make sure to find out how one accesses the location.
Some camps are in remote areas and this means they often aren’t accessible using road transport.
Thus, guests will have no other option but to use small planes to get to the camps.
Unsurprisingly, this mode of transport adds to the total cost of the trip. So, work within your means and select which safari camps suit your budget.
5. Know and work within your budget
Knowing what your budget is helps you – or your tour operator – to know what choices of a safari camp and activities to focus on.
The options are overwhelmingly many, and a budget eliminates some of those thus making the booking process much easier.
Of course, working within your budget may mean doing away with some of your needs.
But, it is way better to choose an option is cheap enough but does not meet all your needs instead of choosing an expensive option which is way beyond your financial means.
Going on safari is not cheap at all.
The best camps with the best activities and viewing are the most expensive.
Prices will vary not only according to the location of the camp but the season.
When booking for an African safari, work within your budget.
If you want tips on how to lower your costs without lowering the quality of your experience, read our blog here.
While the best camps might have the best activities, keep in mind that –
6. An expensive lodge doesn’t always guarantee an experience of a lifetime
Safari lodges are like hotels since they both offer a range of services with different prices.
While at a hotel you can expect to pay more for better services or a more luxurious experience, safaris tend to be more complex.
Spending more money at a safari camp may get you better lodging and food.
At cheap safaris, you may have to go without certain comforts like hot water.
However, the quality of your lodging is not a reliable indicator of the quality of the activities one can partake in.
Lastly, when booking an African safari, consider –
7. The best time to go on safari
It stands to be argued that as the seasons change so does the safari experience.
Still, when booking an African safari, make sure to find out the best time to visit the safari you plan on go to.
Prices charged during the high and the low season tend to differ, so good deals are to be had in the low season, but it is important to know the difference, as your experience may be different.
Generally, in the Southern parts of Africa, the high season is from July to October.
During that time, water sources are limited, and animals will merge at the available sources in large numbers.
When the rainy season starts, the animals disperse. The dense vegetation may make it hard to spot the animals.
On the plus side, there are lots of birds and young animals being born to see during the rainy season.
Depending on where you want to go in Africa, acquaint yourself with the seasons of that area so you can make an informed decision.
Like we said above, a safari in Africa ought to be on your bucket list. If you’re interested in exploring the beautiful areas in Zimbabwe, please click here for more information.
PRESS RELEASE: Matobo Hills Lodge wins TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018
We have been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.
For the 4th time in a row!
Matobo Hills Lodge couldn’t be more delighted.
Our Lodge continues to establish itself as a first-rate Zimbabwean tourist destination.
We strive to ensure that Guest Happiness is central to our business operation.
We owe our gratitude to our valued guests for the positive reviews on TripAdvisor.
It is these reviews which helped us scoop the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
We are saying thank you to all the guests who have been happy with our services.
It is our hope that these positive reviews will attract more guests to our Lodge.
We encourage everyone to leave honest reviews of our services.
Yes – we said it. HONEST reviews.
Such reviews will help other travelers get a clear picture of what they can expect.
What Management Has to Say About The News
Joshua Elliott, the Managing Director of Matobo Hills Lodge says,
“Management and our dedicated staff are very happy to be receiving this award.
It is our intention to continue offering our guests value for their money.
We want to ensure that their stay at our Lodge is beyond their expectations.
We intend to keep pushing the boundaries of guest service and value.
Matobo Hills Lodge hopes to win this award again next year.
We will do our very best to ensure that happens.
Should that happen, we will be inducted into the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame.
This would be a great incentive for us.”
What You Need to Know About the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
Firstly – did you know that TripAdvisor the world’s largest hospitality review site?
Its Certificate of Excellence initiative has been running for seven years now.
Who is eligible to receive to the award?
The award is designed to acknowledge businesses which always receive great reviews.
These business are in the hospitality industry.
They include hotels, restaurants, safari lodges and so on.
What is the criteria for selection?
- The Certificate of Excellence considers the recency, number and quality of reviews. These reviews must have been submitted over a year.
- To qualify for the award, organisations need to have the minimum number of reviews.
- Organisations need to be listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. These 12 months begin on 1 April and end on 31 March.
- The businesses also need to have a rating of at least four out of five.
When are winners announced, you might ask?
Winners of the award are announced annually.
And, this is usually done towards the end of May.
For more information on Matobo Hills Lodge and how to book your stay, please visit our website.
Alternatively, drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org .