MATUSADONA NATIONAL PARK
This park is situated on the shores of Lake Kariba and comprises of 1400 square kilometres of diverse flora and fauna. Matusadona is an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) and home to several relocated black rhinoceros and was also set up to rejuvenate other herds of endangered species. This park is one of the few that has all the members of the Big 5!
Matusadona National Park gets its name from the rolling Matusadona hills that form part of its water rich landscape. Flanked by Lake Kariba in the north, and two perennial rivers, the Ume and the Sanyati, this remote and rugged park is the first in Zimbabwe to fall under the African Parks mandate. Proclaimed a National Park in 1975, it was once a conservation stronghold for African elephant and black rhino, and a sought-after tourism destination. But over the years, financial resources slowly diminished and poor management impacted the parks’ wildlife. Limited road networks and manpower left some areas entirely unpatrolled resulting in rampant poaching which virtually eliminated the black rhino population and severely reduced the elephant population. While Matusadona’s wildlife has suffered, fortunately its integrity as a wilderness landscape has remained undiminished, providing an exceptional opportunity for this park to be restored.
Small seasonal bush camps in the traditional style are erected for mobile safaris but there are also two good lodges situated on islands just off shore. For a truly traditional safari experience, the best of these is Musango Safari Camp.
Quite a number of Matusadona’s camps have been “put in mothballs” during the past few years but there is no doubt that the country’s home grown professional safari guides and camps will once again appear when there is enough demand to do so.
The Matusadona shoreline on Lake Kariba invites water based activities, usually from game viewing boats or pontoons and is one of several protected wildlife areas with shorelines on Lake Kariba.