Matobo National Park occupies a total area of 44 500 hectares. Established in 1953, the Park was awarded Unesco World Heritage Status in June 2003.
The Park includes an Intensive Protection Zone where a large population of Black and White Rhinoceros are successfully breeding. 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.
Accommodation facilites are located at Whitewaters, Tshabalala Sanctuary, Toghwana, Hazelside and Mtsheleli. Maleme Rest Camp provides accommodation in the form of chalets and lodges and it is by far the largest rest area in the Park.
Electrified 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.
There are 3 single bedroom lodges with similar facilities as the 2 bedroomed lodges.
This is a 2 bedroomed lodge with 5 beds. The kitchen has a fridge, 4 plate stove, electric kettle, crockery and cutlery.
This is a 2 bed roomed lodge with 5 beds. The kitchen has a fridge, 4 plate stove, electric kettle, crockery and cutlery.
2 bedrooms (ensuite) containing 2 double teak beds. The kitchen has a fridge, 4 plate stove, crockery and cutlery supplied.
5 single bedroom chalets with 2 single beds. The kitchen is communal and is equipped with 2 plate stoves. Ablution facilities are communal.
1 two-bedroomed chalet with one double bed and 2 single beds. The kitchen is communal and is equipped without 2 plate stoves. Ablution facilities are also communal.
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.
33 miler road race – a unique marathon that is conducted within the Park at particular times of the year
How to get to Matopos
The park is located 34 kilometres south of Bulawayo along the Kezi/Maphisa Road. The Main road to Maleme is tarred while all other Park roads are gravel, and vary greatly in condition. Check with National Parks staff prior to embarking on drives.