Formed two billion years ago, this majestic and rugged terrain provides the perfect stopover for people travelling to either the mighty Victoria Falls or the Hwange National Park. The grandeur and stillness of the hills contribute to their hallowed reputation, where many rituals and religious acts are still performed by the native people that once called these rolling hills home.
The thick bush, granite rock formations, river valleys and multitude of wildlife make this park a truly enchanting piece of Africa. This world heritage site, nicknamed ‘baldheads’, boasts an abundance of historic sights and artefacts scattered amongst the vast plains of the reserve.
Strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation, the terrain allows for an array of animals to exist side by side. With over 175 species of birds, 88 mammals and 39 snake varieties on offer, the park prides itself as being one of the best. Matopos is home to the largest concentration of the black eagle in the world and has the densest population of leopard. Both black and white rhino exist in peace in a sheltered and protected area of the park where they are able to flourish in a natural environment.
After you have spent the day taking in everything the Matopos Hills have to offer, spend the evening soaking up the tranquil atmosphere. Listen to the sounds of the surrounding wildlife whilst reflecting on the day’s events.
When to visit
Matopos is a year round holiday destination, with specific activities being seasonal. The dry season is the ideal time to visit and explore the rock formations and is an easier time to track rhinoceroses along the parks many paths. Long hikes through the caves are also a dry season activity, yet the caves are open all year round.
Whilst some parts of Matopos are hard to access after heavy rains, all the main roads can be driven on throughout. The rainy season, or green season as it is affectionately known, provides travellers with a feast for the eyes. With its lush green landscape and full dams, you feel as if the birds are beckoning you to join them for lunch.
Matopos National Park offers its visitors an abundance of activities: from horse riding, fishing, boating along one of the four rivers, canoeing and game viewing including drives and picnics. The park is easily accessible, only a 45 minute drive from Bulawayo, making it the ideal choice for those looking for a safari experience before entering the bustle that is the Victoria Falls.
Matopos Hills is a hiker’s dream, with various routes and tracks available to explore. Due to the lack of elephant and lion within the park, visitors can walk amongst the wild guided and even unguided. Along the way, hikers will come across various crevices and caves, where hundreds of rock paintings still exist. It is a fitting showcase to the San people and their rich heritage that previously existed.
Cecil John Rhodes is buried at the summit Malindidzimu. He referred to the hill as ‘A view of the world’, making it an obvious choice for him to lay rest. His grave has been beautifully carved out of the solid granite that makes up the hills. It is encircled by a natural amphitheatre made up of mighty boulders.
- Formed 2 billion years ago
- Rituals and religious acts still performed by native people
- Home to largest concentration of black eagle and leopard world wide
- Dry season is ideal time to visit the rock formations
- Horse riding, fishing, boating, canoeing and game viewing along the 4 rivers
- Hikers find various routes and tracks to explore Matopos Hills
- TSS Tip: various crevices and caves with hundreds of rock paintings