Matobo Hills by Olwen Evans courtesy Amalinda
Highlights of Zimbabwe

Matobo National Park

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Best described as “a moonscape of endless granite humpbacks”, the granite Matobo Hills cover an area of nearly 2000 square kilometres.

Matobo Hills, (also spelled Matopos or Matopo) are a mass of granite hills southeast of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The results of river erosion and weathering through exfoliation. They now form fantastic shapes and deep valleys. This is a region full of history. With legends of Shona dynasties, Ndebele armies, British colonists and the many wars that they fought.

The original Rhodes Matopos National Park was founded in 1902. It includes the scenic View of the World Hill where Cecil Rhodes and others are buried. The park was classified as World Heritage site in 2003.

The impressive rock art paintings are feature of the National Park. Local naturalists believe that the area has the highest concentration of Black Eagles in the world. Also known for a 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 abundance of this prey.

Most of Matopos is free of dangerous predators, buffalo and elephant. As a result, it’s an area where unguided walking is possible. You’ll need a National Parks scout to track black and white rhino on foot. Visits to Rhodes Grave and World’s View are some of the activities on offer.

Matopos has diverse vegetation due to the variation in soily types. Also due to significant variation in rainfall and altitude. Vegetation ranges from lichens on dry hilltops to the luxuriant growth of valley swamps. A variety of orchids are endemic to the Eastern Matobo Hills.

This is an ancient area full of tales of old kings and deadly wars. It’s conveniently located on the main route to Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls.

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