Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park lies in the southwest of Zimbabwe. It is known for its range of huge balancing granite rock formations and its stunning scenery and cultural history. The park has significant populations of black eagles, black and white rhinos and the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, founder of the former British Colony, Rhodesia. Shashani Matobo Hills lies within a private game reserve and borders the Matobo National park which is only a half an hour drive to the main Park.
Matobo National Park is located around 34kms to the South of the city of Bulawayo. This green park was established in 1926 and is also the oldest national park in Zimbabwe.
Matobo National Park is also listed in the 2018 World Monuments Watch List. The World Monuments Watch List is a call to action meant to preserve these sites. Matobo National Park is also one of the eight sites on that List selected to receive a grant by the World Monuments Fund. These funds will be directed towards efforts to preserve the landscape.
According to history, 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”, a Ndebele term meaning “bald heads”.
For thousands of years, Matobo National Park was home to the artistic San or Bushmen people. Caves in which they sought shelter bear evidence of the way of living of these hunter-gatherers.
Best time to travel
A fairly friendly all year round destination where wildlife watching in Matobo National Park is at its best during the dry season, from June to October as animals are more easily spotted since they gather around water sources, and the bush is thinner. Fishing, hiking and visits to some of the San rock-art sites and the grave of Cecil John Rhodes is less season dependent.