Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park, located in northern Zimbabwe, is a hidden treasure for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Situated on the southern shore of Lake Kariba, this park is renowned for its unspoilt wilderness, diverse landscapes, and abundant wildlife.

Spanning an expansive 1,400 square kilometres, Matusadona National Park boasts breathtaking views of the Zambezi escarpment, which rises majestically 700 meters above the valley floor. Its rugged terrain, including the rolling Matusadona hills, provides a dramatic backdrop to the park’s abundant flora and fauna.

One of the highlights of Matusadona National Park is its thriving wildlife population. Visitors can spot elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, zebra, and various antelope species. The park is a sanctuary for these creatures, offering a glimpse into their natural habitat.

For those seeking adventure, Matusadona National Park offers a range of activities. Embark on thrilling game drives to explore the park’s vast open spaces, join guided walks to discover its hidden wonders, or embark on a serene boat cruise on Lake Kariba while admiring the tranquil beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Accommodation options in Matusadona National Park range from luxurious safari lodges to comfortable campsites. Whichever you choose, you can immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings and enjoy the ultimate safari experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Matusadona National Park is a wilderness paradise in northern Zimbabwe.
  • The park is home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, and buffalo.
  • Visitors can engage in thrilling activities such as game drives, guided walks, and boat cruises.
  • Matusadona National Park offers a variety of accommodation options, from safari lodges to campsites.
  • Experience the beauty and adventure of Matusadona National Park for an unforgettable safari experience.

The Rich History and Ecological Diversity of Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe is one of the most treasured gems in the world. Located on the southern shore of Lake Kariba, the park gets its name from the rolling Matusadona hills that form part of its rugged and diverse landscape. It is known for its rich history and ecological significance, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Initially proclaimed a non-hunting area in 1958, Matusadona National Park became a Game Reserve in 1963. 1975, it was designated a National Park under the Parks & Wildlife Act. It was the first national park in Zimbabwe to fall under the management of African Parks, an organization dedicated to conserving wildlife and wilderness areas across the African continent.

The park lies about 20km across the lake from Kariba and spans approximately 1,400 square kilometres. It is flanked by Lake Kariba in the north, offering breathtaking views and a water-rich landscape. Within the park, visitors can explore a variety of ecosystems, including grasslands, mopane woodlands, and the Zambezi escarpment, providing habitat for diverse flora and fauna.

Matusadona National Park has many wildlife, including elephant herds, buffalo, impalawaterbuck, and the critically endangered black rhinoceros. The park is known for its incredible birdlife, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. The Zambezi Valley airstrip provides easy access to the park, and game drives and boat cruises offer excellent opportunities to observe wildlife up close.

“Matusadona National Park is a haven for nature lovers, offering a unique blend of wildlife and scenic beauty. The park’s remote and rugged landscapes provide an immersive experience in the heart of the African bush.”

During the dry season (April to October), animals congregate around the lake and other water sources, providing excellent game-viewing opportunities. The rainy season (November to March) brings lush vegetation and an abundance of birdlife. Visitors can choose to stay at one of the several safari lodges within the park or opt for a houseboat experience on Lake Kariba, combining adventure and relaxation in one trip.

Matusadona National Park is a wildlife-rich park and an important conservation area. It is part of an intensive protection zone and falls under the management of Zimparks (Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority). Efforts are constantly made to protect and preserve the park’s diverse flora, fauna, and historical significance.

With its rich history, diverse ecology, and abundant wildlife, Matusadona National Park is truly a treasure of Zimbabwe. It offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of the African bush and experience the wonders of this unique and unspoilt wilderness.


Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe is a wildlife-rich haven that promises a truly unforgettable safari experience. Nestled on the southern shore of picturesque Lake Kariba, this park is encompassed by breathtakingly diverse landscapes, including the rolling Matusadona hills and the magnificent Zambezi escarpment. Here, visitors are treated to an extraordinary array of animal encounters, from awe-inspiring elephants and stately buffalo to mighty lions and elusive leopards.

Embarking on a safari adventure in Matusadona National Park offers a range of thrilling activities, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the wonders of the wilderness. Take exhilarating game drives, explore guided walks through untamed terrain, or embark on tranquil boat cruises on the pristine waters of Lake Kariba. To ensure a truly immersive experience, numerous safari lodges and campsites are strategically located within the park, providing a comfortable retreat in the heart of the African bush.

Matusadona National Park is a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts and safari seekers. With its unrivalled natural beauty and abundant, captivating wildlife, this park offers an unparalleled blend of adventure, serenity, and discovery. Discover the magic of Matusadona National Park and create lifelong memories in one of Zimbabwe’s most captivating and biodiverse locations.

Fee Type Local (USD) SADC (USD) International (USD)
Conservation Fees 10 12 15
Vehicle Entry Fees (Saloon vehicles and 4-wheel drives) 2 2 N/A
Buses 20 20 30
Accommodation Rates – Lodge 2 bedrooms (4 beds) Not Known Not Known Not Known
Accommodation Rates – Camping per person Not Known Not Known Not Known

Discover a world of adventure and natural beauty at Matusadona National Park, located in Zimbabwe’s stunning Zambezi Valley. With a wide range of activities to suit every nature enthusiast, Matusadona offers an unforgettable experience.

Embark on thrilling wildlife viewing safaris and get up close to magnificent creatures such as buffalo, elephants, lions, and a variety of antelopes. Marvel at the park’s diverse birdlife with bird watching excursions, where you can spot over 240 species in their natural habitat.

For those seeking a relaxing yet exciting experience, fishing trips on Lake Kariba are a must. Catch Tigerfish, Tilapia bream, and the legendary vundu, all while surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Explore the park’s diverse landscapes through nature walks and hiking trails, where you can witness the beauty of shoreline grasslands and mountain acacia woodlands. Or, indulge in the tranquility of boat cruises along the Zambezi River, where you can spot wildlife and enjoy the stunning views.

Choose from a range of accommodation options to suit your preferences, including luxury safari lodges that offer comfort and convenience. Prefer a more adventurous experience? Camping and self-drive tours are also available for those who want to immerse themselves in nature.

Whether you seek thrilling encounters with wildlife, peaceful bird watching moments, exhilarating fishing trips, or serene nature walks, Matusadona National Park has it all. Start planning your South African adventure today and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Wildlife Viewing Safaris in Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering thrilling wildlife viewing safaristhat immerse you in the diverse ecosystem of the park. From majestic elephants to ferocious lions, and graceful antelopes to the elusive black rhino, this park is home to a variety of captivating wildlife species. With its vast landscapes and abundant wildlife, Matusadona National Park provides an unforgettable safari experience.

During your wildlife viewing safari, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter magnificent creatures up close and witness the raw beauty of nature. The experienced guides will take you through the park in specially adapted vehicles, ensuring your safety while maximizing your chances of spotting the animals in their natural habitats.

Notable Wildlife Species:

  • Buffalo
  • Elephant
  • Lion
  • Antelope (Waterbuck, Sable, Roan)
  • Black Rhino (Critically Endangered)
  • Cheetah

The park’s buffalo herds are a sight to behold, with their imposing presence and impressive numbers. Elephants, with their gentle demeanor and immense size, captivate visitors as they roam freely across the park. Lions, the kings of the wild, showcase their majestic power and grace.

The antelope species, including waterbuck, sable, and roan, add their own elegance to the park’s wildlife population. These antelopes can often be spotted grazing peacefully or engaging in their graceful courtship rituals.

Matusadona National Park’s commitment to conservation is evident through its efforts to protect the critically endangered black rhino. Although sightings of this magnificent creature are rare, the park’s conservation initiatives have provided a refuge for these majestic animals to thrive.

Perhaps one of the most elusive sightings in the park is the cheetah. Known for their incredible speed and agility, cheetahs are a true embodiment of power and grace. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of these extraordinary predators during your safari.

Whether you choose a guided game drive or a walking safari, the wildlife viewing safaris in Matusadona National Park offer an unmatched opportunity to connect with nature and witness the wonders of wildlife in their natural habitat. Each encounter with these magnificent creatures creates lasting memories that will stay with you long after your safari adventure ends.

Bird Watching and Fishing in Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering a range of activities to explore its unique landscapes and wildlife. Bird watching excursions and fishing trips are popular among visitors, providing memorable experiences amidst the park’s stunning surroundings.

Bird Watching Excursions

With its diverse habitats, Matusadona National Park is home to an impressive array of bird species. Bird watchers will be delighted to discover that the park hosts over 240 species of birds, making it a paradise for ornithologists and nature lovers alike. The petrified forest along Lake Kariba’s shoreline offers excellent bird watching opportunities, where you can spot magnificent African fish eaglesnesting in the dead trees. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of these beautiful creatures as they soar through the skies and showcase their remarkable plumage.

Fishing Trips on Lake Kariba

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, Matusadona National Park offers an incredible angling experience on Lake Kariba. Cast your line and try your luck in the crystal-clear waters of the lake, where you can find a variety of fish species. Among the prized catches are the Tigerfish, known for its fierce fighting spirit and striking markings, and the Tilapia bream, a popular freshwater fish enjoyed for its delicate flavor. But the ultimate prize for anglers in Matusadona is the vundu, southern Africa’s largest freshwater fish. Reel in this behemoth and create unforgettable fishing memories in the heart of Zimbabwe’s wilderness.

Popular Bird Species in Matusadona National Park Popular Fish Species in Lake Kariba
African fish eagle Tigerfish
Pied kingfisher Tilapia bream
Giant kingfisher Vundu
Lilac-breasted roller
Grey-headed kingfisher

Whether you’re an avid bird watcher or an angler seeking to test your skills, Matusadona National Park promises an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty, listen to the melodious calls of the birds, and embrace the thrill of reeling in the big catch. Embark on a journey of discovery and create lasting memories in this breathtaking corner of Zimbabwe.

Accommodation and Getting There in Matusadona National Park

When visiting Matusadona National Park, you have a range of accommodation options to choose from. Whether you prefer luxury safari lodges, camping under the stars, or embarking on self-drive tours, there is something for everyone. Popular lodges within the park include Changa Safari Camp, Musango Safari Camp, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa, and Rhino Safari Camp. These lodges offer comfortable amenities and breathtaking views of the park’s wildlife-rich landscapes.

Getting to Matusadona is convenient and offers different transportation modes. If you prefer to fly, Tashinga Camp has a small aircraft landing strip for easy access. For a more scenic journey, you can reach the park by boat from Kariba town, located approximately 50 kilometers away. Lake Karibaprovides a picturesque backdrop for your journey, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the surrounding area. However, please note that self-driving to the park is not recommended due to rough and inaccessible roads.

Whether you choose to stay in a luxurious safari lodge, experience the thrill of camping in the wilderness, or embark on a self-drive adventure, Matusadona National Park awaits you. Enjoy the beauty of Lake Kariba, explore the diverse wildlife, and create unforgettable memories in this African paradise.

Wildlife Spotting in Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering a captivating array of animal species in their natural habitat. From awe-inspiring predators to elusive creatures, the park provides an opportunity to witness the wonders of the African wilderness up close.

When it comes to predators, Matusadona doesn’t disappoint. You may encounter fearsome crocodiles gliding through the water, majestic lions asserting their dominance, and stealthy leopards camouflaged in the dense vegetation. Other predators in the park include spotted genets, side-striped jackals, and hyenas, adding to the thrill of the wildlife experience. But keep your eyes peeled for the elusive cheetah, a rare sighting that will leave you spellbound.

In addition to predators, Matusadona National Park is teeming with fascinating herbivores and smaller mammals. Look out for the graceful bushbuck, nimble klipspringer, and shy grysbok as they navigate the park’s diverse terrain. You may also come across the majestic roan antelope, majestic kudu, and charming duiker. Marvel at the playful mongoose, the curious warthog, and the prickly porcupine, all going about their daily lives in this natural paradise. Don’t forget to spot the agile bush squirrel, the lively vervet monkey, and the mischievous chacma baboon, bringing the park to life with their antics.

Wildlife in Matusadona National Park Activities
Crocodile 4×4 game drives
Lion Guided walking safaris
Leopard Hiking
Spotted genet Fishing
Side-striped jackal Boating safaris
Hyena Sunset cruises
Roan antelope
Bush squirrel
Vervet monkey
Chacma baboon

But the wildlife experience doesn’t end there. Matusadona National Park is also a haven for birdwatchers, with over 240 species of birds inhabiting the park. From majestic eagles soaring through the sky to colorful kingfishers perched by the water’s edge, bird lovers will be enthralled by the vibrant avian life that calls Matusadona home.

Make the most of your visit to Matusadona National Park with a range of activities suited to every adventure-seeker. Embark on exhilarating 4×4 game drives to explore the park’s vast expanse, or opt for guided walking safaris for a more intimate encounter with the wildlife. Hiking enthusiasts can explore the park’s rugged terrain and soak in the breathtaking vistas. For those who enjoy fishing, the abundant waters of Lake Kariba offer a chance to reel in some impressive catches. Experience the tranquility of the lake with boating safaris, or immerse yourself in the beauty of a sunset cruise, witnessing nature’s spectacle as the sun paints the sky in vivid hues.

The best time to spot wildlife in Matusadona National Park is during the dry season, from June to October. During this time, animals congregate along the lakeshore, offering excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting. Plan your visit accordingly to make the most of this incredible spectacle.

Tips for Visiting Matusadona National Park

When planning your visit to Matusadona National Park, it’s important to keep in mind some travel tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. One of the best ways to explore the park is by booking a guided safari. This allows you to have expert knowledge and assistance while navigating the park’s diverse terrain and spotting wildlife. Self-driving is not recommended due to the rough and inaccessible roads in the area.

Another important consideration is the risk of malaria in Matusadona. As the park lies in a malaria zone, it is crucial to take precautions. Make sure to use mosquito repellent and consider taking antimalarial medication as advised by your healthcare provider. By taking these necessary steps, you can protect yourself from mosquito bites and reduce the risk of contracting malaria.

When it comes to accessing the park, the best options are by air or boat from the town of Kariba. This not only provides convenient transportation but also offers scenic views of the surrounding area. Additionally, it’s recommended to check with operators and experts inside the park for the best time to visit. The water level in Lake Kariba can influence the presence and visibility of wildlife, so it’s always a good idea to seek local advice to enhance your game viewing experience.

As for the weather, Matusadona experiences hot and humid temperatures during the wet season from November to March, while the dry season from September to April offers milder temperatures. Dressing appropriately for the weather and carrying essentials like sun protection and water are essential for a comfortable visit.

Matusadona National Park can be reached either by boat or chartered plane. If you prefer a scenic route, you can take a boat from the town of Kariba, enjoying a 50-kilometer trip on Lake Kariba’s sparkling waters. Alternatively, you can arrange a chartered flight to one of the airstrips within or near the park. However, it’s worth noting that driving to the park is not recommended due to the rough and challenging road conditions.

The best time to plan your visit is from June to October, when the weather is pleasant, and wildlife sightings are abundant. Imagine spotting black rhinos and a variety of bird species in their natural habitat. Matusadona National Park truly offers a memorable experience for nature enthusiasts.

So, whether you choose a boat adventure or a chartered flight, get ready to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Matusadona National Park. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature and witness the diversity of wildlife that this remarkable destination has to offer.

Getting to Matusadona National Park

To experience the breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife of Matusadona National Park, there are a few transportation options available. Whether you prefer a scenic boat ride or a convenient chartered flight, getting to the park is an adventure in itself.

Boat Trips from Kariba

If you’re looking for a unique and picturesque journey, taking a boat from the town of Kariba is a fantastic option. The 50-kilometer trip offers stunning views of Lake Kariba and gives you the opportunity to see wildlife along the way. It’s an unforgettable experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings before you even reach the park.

Chartered Flights

If you prefer a quicker and more efficient way to reach Matusadona National Park, arranging a chartered flight is the perfect choice. There are several airstrips in or near the park where flights can land, making it easy to access this remote and captivating wilderness. Flying not only saves you time but also provides a bird’s-eye view of the park as you soar above the majestic landscape.

Driving (Not Recommended)

While driving may seem like a convenient option, it is not recommended for accessing Matusadona National Park. The roads to the park are extremely rough and, in some instances, inaccessible. Navigating these treacherous routes can be challenging and time-consuming, detracting from the overall enjoyment of your journey. It’s best to save your energy for the adventures that await you within the park.

Transportation Options Chart

Transportation Option Benefits Drawbacks
Boat Trips from Kariba – Scenic journey with wildlife sightings
– Opportunity to explore Lake Kariba
– Immersive experience
– Longer travel time
– Limited availability
Chartered Flights – Quick and efficient
– Stunning aerial views of the park
– Easy access to remote areas
– Higher cost
– Limited luggage allowance
Driving (Not Recommended) – Flexibility in travel schedule – Rough and inaccessible roads
– Challenging navigation
– Proximity to dangerous wildlife


Park Managed by:

African Parks