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Matobo National Park

The 424 square kilometres Matobo National Park is in the south-west of Zimbabwe, 35 kilometres below Bulawayo. The National Park is part of the Matobo (or Matopos) Hills that occupy an area of ​​no less than 3100 km2. The area was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003 because of its unique granite rock formations that sometimes seem to balance each other, shallow caves where rock art can be found of the Bushmen, and a variety of flora and fauna. The highest point in these hills is Gulati with a summit of 1549 meters. The founder of Rhodesia (the country now known as Zimbabwe), Cecile Rhodes, was buried in his favourite spot: World's View. A simple memorial stone marks his grave which offers a beautiful view over "his" beloved country". Today the area is still of great spiritual value to the local tribes such as the Ndebele.

In Matabo Hills there are more than 200 different tree species, including acacias, aloes and wild fruit trees and there is also 100 different species of grasses. In terms of animals there are 88 mammal species, 175 bird species, 39 different snakes and 16 species of fish. There is particularly the black (crested) eagle. The park has a high concentration of rhinos and so you have great opportunity to see them during a safari. There are hippos, crocodiles, leopards, giraffes, zebras, kudu, eland, hyenas, cheetahs, ostriches, wildebeest, waterbuck, wild cats, rock-dassies, monkeys etc. For the best chance of seeing lots of wildlife visit the part of Matobo known as Whovi Game Park. This part is strictly monitored for poachers not to give them a chance to cut off the horns of rhinos and smuggling it out of the park.

Over 2000 years ago the San Bushmen left their rock art behind in the Matobo hills at over more than 3 000 locations here. Through these petroglyphs we got a good view of the animals that lived in this area. One was found with drawings of a rhinoceros, and therefore they are reintroduced in 1960 in Matobo. Some of the caves where you can see petroglyphs are: Bambata Cave, Cave Inanke, Nswatugi Cave (one of the best rock-art sites in the country), Pomongwe Cave and White Rhino Shelter.

There are several camps in the park of which Maleme Rest Camp is the largest and camping, chalets and a lodge (all self-catering). Maleme is beautifully situated on a river. There is also the Matobo National Park headquarters and all the information about the park on how to undertake activities (such as horse riding and fishing).

For hikers Matabo is an interesting area, especially by the strange rock formations carved by erosion. You can climb Nyahwe Mountain of Mount Shumbashawa near Gordon Park or hike from Toghwana Dam to the petroglyphs at Inanke Cave. Possibilities for shorter hikes / walks around Maleme Camp are: Lakeside walk along the dam, hike from Maleme camp to the cave paintings at Pomongwe Cave or climb to the summit of Mount Pomongwe. At the headquarters in Maleme Camp you can also book guided hikes. The mutually balancing large stones are also very popular objects for photography enthusiasts.

Your holiday begins at South Africa Specialist.