Matobo (Matopos) Hills National Park

Hundreds of kopjes supporting thousands of precariously balanced rocks give the 164-square-mile (424-km2) Matobo National Park one of the most unusual landscapes in Africa. A jewel of a park, it is a well-kept secret and is a highlight for many that venture there. The park is divided into two sections — a general recreational area, and a game reserve.

Part of the park is an IPZ (Intensive Protection Zone) and contains one of the highest concentrations of black and white rhino in Africa. For the more adventurous you may choose to walk in the park to look for white and black rhino. Leopard are plentiful but are seldom seen. Other wildlife includes a large population of sable antelope along with giraffe, zebra, civet, genet, blackbacked and side-striped jackal, caracal and porcupine. The park has the highest concentration of eagles in the world, with 58 pairs of black eagles, 45 pairs of African hawk eagles, 32 pairs of Wahlberg’s eagles and five pairs of crowned eagles known to exist within the reserve. Other birdlife includes purple-crested lourie, boulder chat, and both peregrine and lanner falcon.

This is an ancient place where hundreds of bushmen paintings have been found throughout the park. The area exhibits a profusion of distinctive rock landforms rising above the granite shield that covers much of Zimbabwe. The large boulders provide abundant natural shelters and have been associated with human occupation from the early Stone Age right through to early historical times, and intermittently since. They also feature an outstanding collection of rock paintings. The Matobo Hills continue to provide a strong focus for the local community, which still uses shrines and sacred places closely linked to traditional, social and economic activities.

You may include walks to Nswatugi Cave rock paintings, which is one of the finest in the region, with images of giraffe and antelope. A tour of the park will include the “View of the World” which has sensational panoramas of the rocky, barren countryside and granite kopjes (especially at sunrise).

There is a cultural opportunity to see the local community at work by visiting one of the nearby tribal villages, a secondary school and health clinic. This area has been carefully selected as a true reflection of everyday life.