This breath-taking and timeless landscape of exposed granite outcrops, sculpted and shaped by the elements of nature to create an area of outstanding natural beauty has enchanted Ndebele kings and European visitors alike.
The Park includes an Intensive Protection Zone where a large population of Black and White Rhinoceros are successfully breeding. The Park offers a diverse package of tourist attractions and activities.
The park is situated in the magnificent Matobo Hills, a range of domes, spires and balancing rock formations which have been hewn out of the solid granite plateau through millions of years of erosion and weathering.
The majestic and rugged terrain of the park is a hiker’s paradise and the diversity of the vegetation supports a wide range of wildlife.
Matobo meaning ‘bald heads’ was the name chosen for the area by the great Ndebele King, Mzilikazi. He is buried in the Matobo Hills just a short distance from the park.
Matobo National Park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes. He is buried at the summit of Malindidzimu -‘ hill of benevolent spirits’. He referred to this hill as having a ‘View of the World’.
A short walk from the parking lot will lead the visitor to his grave, which is carved out of the solid granite hill and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of massive boulders.
The Matobo area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place.
The Park is home to a wide variety of animal species including: black and white rhinoceros, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, eland, sable, klipspringer, leopard, hyena, cheetah, hippo, warthog, rock dassies, waterbuck, wildcat, springhare, common duiker, crocodiles, baboons and monkeys.
The richness of the Park can also be seen from the diverse bird life. The park is famous for its large concentration of black eagles, which can be seen perched atop the rock formations or soaring along the cliffs in search of prey.
Bird species that can be found include, fish eagle, martial eagle, francolin, secretary bird, weavers, pied crow and Egyptian geese. Fish species readily found in this Park include bass, bottle fish, bream, catfish and robustus.
Matobo National Park has a mixed type of vegetation that ranges from Mopane, Acacia species, Brachstegia in other area, Figtrees, Azanza species, Zizphus species, Strychnos species and Terminalia species.
Escorted walks for up to 6 people – an armed scout can be availed on booking at Maleme or White waters office
Pony trails – conducted around the Maleme Dam area and into the Whovi Wild Area
Fishing – allowed in most dams to those issued with licences at the tourist office
Boating – privately owned boats are permitted on certain dams
Game viewing – can be done in the Whovi Wild Area, a protected game park which is home to more than 60 animal species and hundreds of beds
Bird watching – offers great opportunity to see the several eagle species
Hiking – there is abundant excitement of climbing the Pomongwe Hill which gives one a good view of the central part of the Park
33 miler road race – a unique marathon that is conducted within the Park at particular times of the year.
Where to stay
Accommodation is found at Maleme Rest Camp where the main office is located. There are several types of lodges at Maleme.
12 lodges with have 2 bedrooms, a kitchen with fridge, stove, cutlery and crockery. Some of the lodges have 4 single beds and others have 1 double bed and 2 singles.
All lodges are equipped either dressing tables or wardrobes, dining rooms with tables, chairs, heaters, flush toilet and bathrooms with cold and hot water.
There are 3 single bedroom lodges with similar facilities as the 2 bedroomed lodges.
This is a 2 bedroomed lodge with 5 beds i.e. one double and one single bed, one bedroom with 2 single beds all with linen, 2 dressing tables. The kitchen has a fridge, 4 plate stove, electric kettle, crockery and cutlery. The lodge has a flush toilet, bathroom with tub and hot shower, veranda, garden table and chairs.
This is a 2 bed roomed lodge with 5 beds i.e. one double and one single bed, one bedroom with 2 single beds all with linen, 2 dressing tables. The kitchen has a fridge, 4 plate stove, electric kettle, crockery and cutlery. The lodge has a flush toilet, bathroom with tub and hot shower, veranda, garden table and chairs.
Top of the range accommodation with 2 bedrooms containing 2 double teak beds. Each bedroom has 4-seater teak easy chairs. There are 2 ensuite bathrooms and flush toilets. The dining room has a teak table. The veranda overlooking the river has a garden table and chairs. The kitchen has a fridge, 4 plate stove, crockery and cutlery supplied.
5 single bedroom chalets have 2 single beds, dressing tables, wall wardrobes, dining tables with chairs for 2. The kitchen is communal and is equipped with 2 plate stoves. Ablution facilities are communal. Heaters are also supplied in the chalets.
1 two-bedroomed chalet with one double bed and 2 single beds, dressing tables, wall wardrobes. The chalet has a dining room with dining tables and chairs for 2. The kitchen is communal and is equipped with 2 plate stoves. Ablution facilities are also communal. Heaters are also supplied in the chalet.
Cooking facilities are available on wood or charcoal braais. Ablution and toilet facilities are provided in a communal block.
Camping sites are available at Maleme Dam, Mthselele Dam, Toghwana Dam, Mesilume Dam and Arboretum.