Matobo National Park
LocationMatobo Hills
Nearest cityBulawayo
Coordinates20⁰33′24.05″S 28⁰31′02.78″E
Established1926 as Rhodes Matopos National Park,
StatusUNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site

Matobo National Park (Matobo Dam Recreational Park) is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site. It is also an Intensive Protection Zone for endangered black and white rhinoceros. It is in the Matobo Hills near Bulawayo, in Matabeleland South Province. The park is located 34 kilometres south of Bulawayo along the Kezi/Maphisa road. The park occupies a total area of 44 500 hectares. Matobo National Park offers history, geography and tourism facilities. [1] It is under Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority.

See National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.
See Wildlife, Zimbabwe.

Contact Details

+263 4 707 6249 Zimbabwe

  • When to visit: All year round Monday to Sunday 6 am to 6 pm
  • Fee: Entrance and accommodation fees charged


The Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo (this being the correct vernacular pronunciation of the area) or Matopos Hills, covering an area of about 3 100 square kilometres, of which 424 square kilometres is National Park; the remainder being largely communal land and a small proportion of commercial farmland. The area was founded by Mzilikazi who gave its name meaning “Bald Heads”. Mzilikazi was buried in the Matobo Hills just a short distance Northeast from the Park. See Mzilikazi's Grave.

Before the colonial era, the Matobo was the headquarters of the spiritualist oracle, the Mlimo. The pottery and artefacts found on cave floors and most of the clay grain bins in the hills are remnants from the 1896 rebellion era. In 1926, the park was established as Rhodes Matopos National Park, as per Cecil Rhodes wishes after his death.Read More

See Cecil Rhode's Burial Place.

To the people of Mambo, tombo means mountain. Amatombo is mountains. In Sindebele, the word is amatobo. Mzilikazi altered the word to Amatobo. [2] It was called Matopos in the colonial era.

Matobo was altered in 1953, and the park was awarded World Heritage Status in June 2003.

The rock art compares with the best anywhere in Southern Africa. [3]

With the world’s densest population of leopard, Matobo National Park is a good place as any to spot one of these magnificent predators. However, do be prepared to have your patience tested, as leopards are notoriously stealthy and often well camouflaged.[4]

Visitors Guide:Directions

From Bulawayo take Robert Mugabe Way in the city, this turns into Matopos Road which continues south 30 kilometres to the National Park boundary. The two-lane tarred road continues as a single lane tarred road to Maleme Dam and Rest Camp. The remaining roads in the park are gravelled, but suitable for most vehicles. Whovi Wild Area Game Park requires high clearance and preferably 4WD. Visitors can visit the ZPWMA Reception for details of escorted walks, fishing licences or condition of the roads. [5]


Visitors to the Matobo National Park can participate in:

  • Game viewing / birding
  • Hiking
  • Trail riding / Horse riding
  • Running
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Birdwatching
  • Rock Art
  • Ndebele villages and community craft centres See Amagugu International Heritage Centre.
  • Unique balancing rocks in the park.
  • The Grave of Rhodes - see Cecil Rhode's Burial Place. Malindidzimu, the “hill of benevolent spirits.” World's View Matobo.

Accommodation and camping

The following camps in the Matobos National Park offer camping and caravan sites with toilet facilities:

  • Mtsheleli Camp, located in the south
  • Mwesilume Camp, located on Circular Drive, west of Maleme Dam
  • Toghwana Camp, located in the east
  • Arboretum Camp, located in the west, near the Hazelside Office
  • Sandy Spruit Camp, located in the east
  • Lake Matopos Camp, located in the north

Privately operated accommodation and camps bordering the Matobo National Park include:

  • Camp Amalinda
  • Big Cave Camp
  • Matobo Hills Lodge
  • Farmhouse Lodge
  • Hermits Peak Guest Lodge

Read More

See Low End Guide.



  1. Matobo Park Overview, Matobo, , Retrieved: 10 April 2018 '
  2. [Chief Information Officer, Lore and Legend of Southern Rhodesia Place Names] (Southern Rhodesia Information Service, Salisbury, 1960) Retrieved 8 November 2021"
  3. [Secret Southern Africa A primordial landscape of 'chaotic grandeur'], (AA The Motorist Publications, Cape Town, 1994) Retrieved:28 January 2022
  4. [1], Discover Africa, Accessed: 18 August, 2020
  5. Matobo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site, ZimGuide, Published: DATE_PUBLISHED_HERE , Retrieved: 10 April 2018