Matobo National Park, formerly known as Matopos, is famous for its population of black and white rhino; both of which are under serious threat from rhino horn poaching. Matobo has been designated as an Intensive Protection Zone for the two species, the population having been restocked from Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa and the Zambezi Valley.
Located in Southern Zimbabwe, the park is relatively small at 424 square km, and forms the core of of the Matobo, or Matopos Hills, an area rich in granite outcrops and wooded valleys. Its botanic diversity includes more than 200 species of trees, aloes, and wild herbs, and more than 100 species of grass. Plenty for the resident rhinos to eat – and happily, they are breeding.
The largest national park in Zimbabwe, Matobo was established as Rhodes Matopos National Park in 1926, on bequest from Cecil John Rhodes. It was later renamed to match the local vernacular. The Matobo Hills, with its incredible rock formations, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. In addition to rhino, the park is home to leopard, giraffe, zebra and antelope – in total, 88 mammal, 175 bird and 39 reptile species.
The tours below include Matobo National Park as part of their routing. Not to be missed is the half-day rhino tour – especially the rhino walk option.