Attractions - Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park is situated on the southern shores of Lake Kariba in northern Zimbabwe.

In the late 1950’s, following the establishment of the Kariba Dam wall, the middle Zambezi Valley was flooded and Lake Kariba, one of the world’s greatest man-made lakes, was created. As the waters of Lake Kariba rose, wildlife sought refuge along the islands and southern shores of the Lake, and many of the wild animals rescued from the rising waters of the newly-formed Lake Kariba by conservationist Rupert Fothergill and his teams during the much-publicised Operation Noah in 1958 were released onto the southern shoreline area. In 1963 the area was proclaimed as a Game Reserve before officially becoming Matusadona National Park in 1975.

Taking it’s name from the local Matuzviadonha Hills, the park covers an estimated 1400 km2 of remote flat plains and rugged mountain terrain, protecting a diversity of flora and fauna species, including three distinctive ecological areas. The first is Lake Kariba and its shoreline grasslands, the second is the floor of the Zambezi Valley, with its thick Combretum Jesse thickets and Mopane woodland, and the third is the Escarpment area of Julbernardia and Brachystegia woodlands. The Park lies about 20km across the lake 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, steep sided, rocky gorge.

The creation of the lake caused profound ecological changes. In particular, the availability of grazing on the lakeshore has contributed to an increase in the populations of large mammals in the park, especially those of elephant and buffalo which are regularly seen on the floodplains along the shoreline during the dryer months. The species of grass growing on the shoreline is Panicum repens which grows as long as the lake levels fluctuate bringing nutrients to the shore. This source of grazing has allowed populations of large grazers such as buffalo, waterbuck, common zebra, and impala to thrive, attracting the associated predators.

Today, Matusadona National Park remains an Intensive Protection Zone for the endangered black rhinoceros and elephant, despite steady declines in population numbers over the last 10 years. This park is a treat for visitors wanting to see Africa’s other big mammals including elephant, buffalo, hippo, lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra and various antelope species. Around the shoreline
Around the Matusadona region and the shoreline are some excellent safari lodges and rustic tented camps, offering game drives, birding safaris, walking safaris as well as fishing excursions and boat cruises which explore the lake’s riverine inlets and creeks. This is also a favoured destination for houseboat holidays. If you want to get away from it all and enjoy a wilderness experience which combines the harsh beauty of the African bush with the wide horizons of a vast inland lake, the Matusadona National Park is for you.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
+263775 424 558


ASM Travel is a proud member of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority


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