Matusadona National Park & Houseboat Camping
Matusadona National Park is located on the banks of Lake Kariba between the Umi river and Sanyati Gorge. It is very rich in big game including lions and the endangered rhinos.
pictures by D.F.P
Matusadona is a Black Rhinoceros Intensive Protection Zone. Visitors are likely to encounter vey large herds of buffalo and elephant. There are also some varieties of African antelope, big and small. Cheetahs are also available in the area. Matusadona National Park gets its name from the local language meaning a lot of falling dung.The area is not meant for cars as about 65% of the 1100 square miles of Matusadona National Park is only accessible on feet. Even 4by4 cars will struggle to get into the park. Many visitors will get into the National Park with small boats from the Lake Kariba side of the national park. This makes it very unique as it is among few national parks in Zimbabwe and Africa that are almost cut off from human settlements and ‘development’. A number of animals moved into the area during the flooding of the Zambezi following the creation of Kariba Dam.
Many animals were forced uplands from the Zambezi river to avoid drowning in the rising floods. These animals roam freely on the shores of Lake Kariba where they get water and food. The shoreline has a very high concentration of crocodiles, buffalo, big and small varieties of African antelope and zebras. Elephant bulls are usually present on the edges of the Lake and they can be viewed from the boats.
The best time to see a lot of these animals is during the dry season from the end of April up to the end of October. Big cats are often seen as they are endemic to Matusadona National Park. There is plenty of warthog in the area. Matusadona is home to a number of African antelope. The most common ones are bucks and kudu. The Zambezi River and Lake Kariba waters are famous for fishing. There is plenty of breams and fighting tiger fish.
Access: When and how to visit Matusadona National Park
The best time to visit is between April and November. Most animals will come to Lake Kariba shores where you can view them from boats or inland. This is a dry season place. The dry weather brings animals to shores. There is no possibility of getting marooned by rising Lake Kariba waters which may be the case if you drive during the rain season. The place can be visited by road but this can take a very long time. The easiest thing to do is to sail by boat from Kariba Town.
By air you can fly to Kariba Airport or Bumi Hills if you are using a small chatered plane