Matusadona National Park
The Matusadona National Park, in northern Zimbabwe, is one of the Zambezi valley's wildlife and wilderness treasures. Remote and rugged, this wonderful park encompasses Lake Kariba's most beautiful southern shorelines, creeks and bays, a vast plateau carved by numerous rivers and the wild Matusadona mountain range. The park lies about 20 kilometres from the town of Kariba and is bounded by two spectacularly beautiful rivers; the Ume in the west, which meets the lake in a wide estuary, and the Sanyati in the east with its magnificent and steep rocky gorge.
In 1958 this beautiful national park was declared a non-hunting area, and the protection of this incredibly fertile and diverse area has resulted in a regeneration of vegetation and wildlife. The resurgence of the area has resulted in excellent sightings at the shores of the lake, such as waterbuck, buffalo, zebra and impala, and the increased game at the water edge has attracted predators – Matusadona is home to the highest number of lion per square kilometre than any other reserve in Africa. It is also an Intensive Protection Zone for the highly endangered black rhinoceros, and this area is one of the few places in Southern Africa where visitors may be lucky enough to see this magnificent animal in the wild. For wildlife lovers, this is the best spot for safari – the incredible herds of elephants and the Big Five sightings are phenomenal. Birding here is also spectacular; there are more than 240 species of woodland birds, raptors and waterfowl, so binoculars and a guide are a must for keen birders.
The lake itself is teeming with enormous Nile crocodiles and hippos, making for exceptional boat safaris and fishing trips, particularly for the tigerfish which is endemic to the Zambezi River. During the rainy season, electric storms light up the valley, with thunderous booms reverberating through the land and lightning reflecting off the enormous lake – it makes for an exhilarating time to visit!
Matusadona National Park offers a true wildlife experience and is perfect for those with a keen interest in fishing, boat trips, game drives and birding.
I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
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