Matusadona National Park is situated on the shores of Lake Kariba but was proclaimed a non-hunting area on 7 November 1958 before the dam was built.
It became a Game Reserve in 1963, and in 1975, in terms of the Parks & Wildlife Act, it became a National Park. The Park comprises some 1 400 square kilometers of diverse flora and fauna. Before the lake was built, Matusadonha was a vast, rugged wilderness with limited access.
With the lake came ecological changes. One in particular, the lakeshore contributed greatly to the increase of large mammal populations in the area, especially elephant and buffalo. The grass found on the shoreline is Panicum repens and is a rejuvenative grass – needing only fluctuating lake levels to replenish its nutrients. With this ready food source, buffalo, waterbuck, zebra, and even impala have thrived and with them the predators. Matusadonha is an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) and home to several relocated rhinoceros.
The Environs of Matusadona
The southern boundary of the Park is the Omay communal land and the northern boundary is the lakeshore. The eastern side of Sanyati Gorge and the middle of the Ume River provide the east and west boundaries respectively.
Flora and Fauna
Matusadonha has three distinct ecological areas. First is the lake and shoreline grassland; second, the Zambezi Valley floor, a mass of thick jesse and mopane woodland, and; third, the Escarpment area of Julbernadia and Brachystegia woodlands.
The Park has a camping site at Tashinga on the lake shore. There is an ablution block with hot and cold water, showers, toilets, wash basins and baths. Firewood and braai facilities are available.
There is a smaller camping site at Sanyati consisting of 6 sites, each with a braai stand. There is an ablution block with hot and cold water and laundry trough.
Changachirere Camping Site is an exclusive camping site that caters for one party of a maximum of 10 persons. The facility has a mini-ablution block and shelter.
Undeveloped Bush Camps
There are also 2 totally undeveloped bush camping sites at Jenje and Kanjedza for up to a maximum of 10 persons per camp. Visitors must be fully equipped and have a four wheel drive vehicle for this section.
Situated close to Tashinga airstrip on the east bank of the Bumi River, 55 kilometres from Kariba by boat.
Situated at Elephant Point, 44 kilometres from Kariba by boat.
Also situated on the Bumi River upstream around 300 metres beyond Ume Camp.
Other exclusive camp sites can be found at Maronga close to the Chifudzi substation and Kautsiga sited on the escarpment which is ideal for hikers and climbers.
The closest convenience shops are found in Kariba town, therefore, visitors are advised to thoroughly pack for the trip. Petrol, diesel and oil are sometimes available at Bumi Harbour but supplies are not always reliable.
How To Get To Matusadonha National Park
By Air- A small, 800 metre landing strip is available at Tashinga Camp and can take small aircraft. The strip is licensed Category II.
By Boat – Visitors can come in from Bumi Hills located14 kilometres from Tashinga, or 50 kilometres across the Lake from Kariba town.
By Road- Normally the Park is reached via Karoi, but it can also be accessed from Victoria Falls, via Binga. If traveling from Karoi, 8 kilometres north of Karoi on the Harare-Chirundu Road turn left through the Hurungwe communal land. 115 kilometres from Karoi you cross the Sanyati River. You continue on the Binga Road for a further 62 kilometres and then turn right and continue for 82 kilometrs to Tashinga which is the headquarters of the Park. Except for a short distance of narrow tar, when one leaves the Harare-Chirundu Road, the roads are either gravel or dirt. The last 82 kilometres are rough and not suitable for saloon and low clearance vehicles. It is advisable to enquire about the condition of the road before starting your journey. Game viewing roads are closed during the rainy season.