​Expert Reviews – Matobo NP

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Expert
Paul Murray   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: Multiple times

Paul is a travel writer, author of the Bradt guidebook to Zimbabwe and is closely involved in promoting tourism to Zimbabwe.

1 person found this review helpful.

Bald heads and Black Eagles
Overall rating
3/5

The plusses for this park are it’s magnificent, towering granite ‘whalebacks’ and precarious looking rock stacks, its scenically positioned lakes and the fact that it has the most concentrated collection of San rock paintings in Africa. Cecil Rhodes’ grave is here in a spectacular setting and the whole park is a photographer’s paradise The rocks are home to an astonishing variety of raptors including the largest population of Verreaux’s eagle in the world. On the minus side, although it has the densest concentration of leopard in Africa, they are largely nocturnal and seldom seen; and the Whovi wilderness area which is designated as the game viewing area, is not very wild, not very large and although you’ll be unlucky not to see the resident rhino, black and white, they are almost a bit too predictable. I really love this park which is the second most visited in Zimbabwe but more for the amazing scenery and atmosphere than the wildlife.

Expert
Mike Unwin   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: Multiple times

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

Bald is beautiful
Overall rating
3/5

Matobo means ‘bald heads’, and refers to the unearthly volcanic landscape of balancing stones and granite whalebacks for which this park is famous. Measuring just 420 sq km, it is small enough for a day trip from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, though you will need longer to appreciate its unique appeal. Don’t come for big game – there are no lions or elephants – but expect the unexpected: I have seen black mamba, caracal and crowned eagle, all of them elusive anywhere. This is a place to explore on foot, following well-marked trails to caves adorned with ancient rock art. On the way you may well meet wildlife such as hyrax, klipspringer, baboon and Verreaux’s eagle. The big five are represented by white rhino, easily tracked on foot, and leopard, which reputedly occur in unusual densities – although I’ve never spotted one here. Sable, tsessebe, wildebeest and other antelope wander the woodlands and valleys, while a separate fenced game reserve has been restocked with rhino, black and white, plus giraffe, zebra, hippo and other larger species.

Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Dry season

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

Matobo National Park: a giant’s playground
Overall rating
3/5

The scenery in Matobo National Park is quite spectacular. The huge granite boulders balanced on top of each other seem to be placed here by some giant life form. These rocks are home to many creatures that love that kind of habitat like the agile klipspringers that jump from rock to rock and the rock hyrax that live between the gaps. Black eagles love nesting on the cliffs and can often be seen circling above. I’ve even seen a leopard basking in the early morning sun on top on such a formation. General wildlife densities aren’t very big, but most common savannah species are present including giraffe and rhino and a variety of antelopes. Several rock-art sites can be visited in the park.

Average Expert Rating

  • 3.3/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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