Matobo National Park
The Matobo Hills (“matobo” – ‘bald-headed ones’) are best described as “a moonscape of endless granite humpbacks”, covering an area of approximately 2000 square kilometers – a region packed with history and legends of Shona dynasties, Ndebele armies, British colonists and the many wars that they fought.
Matobo National Park is well known for its impressive rock art paintings and the site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave. It is also believed that the Matobo Hills have the highest concentration of Black Eagles in the world. It also has a very high concentration of rock hyrax that live amongst the rocks. The black mamba, leopard and Cape Eagle Owl all occur in high numbers due to the presence of this food source.
Famous in their own rights are the Rainbow Skinks that bask in the sun on the granite. The females which are often taken as a different species, are just as quick as the females at nabbing flys!
As there are no dangerous predators or elephant, this is one area where it is possible to walk around freely without a guide, unlike most of Africa’s national parks. Access is usually quite easy by road or by air as Bulawayo is on a daily air schedule from Harare and flights from Johannesburg.
Guided walks to track black and white rhino on foot and visits to Rhodes Grave/World’s View are some of the activities on offer in the area. Matobo Hills is wonderful for mountain biking and cyclists ride in the recreational park.
Matopos has an incredible diversity of vegetation due to the variation in soily types as well as the significant variation in rainfall and altitude. In Eastern Matobo Hills (high rainfall), there is a wonderful selection of orchids, as well as species of Ficus tree that should only be found in the Okavango Delta.
This is an ancient area is filled with history of old kings and deadly wars and is also conveniently placed between the major route to Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls. Excellent camps are nestled in caves and make full use of the spectacular surrounds.
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