The oldest national park in Zimbabwe, Matobo National Park is 50 km to the south of Bulawayo city. Expect to be awed by the dramatic Matopos Hills granite outcrop or kopjes.

Essential Traveller Information

Matobo National Park is relatively compact at 445 However, while small compared to other parks, Matopo is blessed with striking granite outcrops and ancient cultural resources, including a series of rock paintings.

Visiting Matobo National Park is a unique experience weaving elements of nature, history, cultural heritage and wildlife unlike any other park in Southern Africa. You’ll find more information about visiting this iconic park in the sections below. Alternatively, feel free to get in touch with any of our local accommodation and tour providers for travel advice.

Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, Bulawayo, is the gateway to the Park. Matobo National Park is 35 km south of Bulawayo.

Matobo National Park is approximately 485 km southeast from Victoria Falls and Livingstone. The drive typically takes 5 hours on national route roads.

It is also possible to fly to Bulawayo Airport, or drive south from Harare. If going to Matobo from Botswana, one can travel east from the Ramokgwebana Border Post.

Speak to one of our experienced tour operators about how to include this diverse area into your travel itinerary in Africa’s Eden.

Gate Entrance Times for Matobo National Park:

· Daily from sunrise to sunset

Gate Fees: (per day)

· Day visitor local USD 3
· Accommodated local USD 2
· Day visitor SADC USD 12
· Accommodated SADC USD 6
· Day visitor International USD 15
· Accommodated USD 8


The Matobo National Park is the oldest in Zimbabwe. It was originally established in 1926 as the Rhodes Matopos National Park at the suggestion of Cecil John Rhodes, whose remains are buried on top of World’s View. The Matobo Hills were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 because of the immense history associated with the area.

San (Bushmen) inhabited the Hills as far back as 2000 years ago. There are over 3000 recorded rock paintings attributed to them, providing a rich heritage to the area. Archaeological findings have found traces of human inhabitants in the Matobo Hills dating back to the Pre-Middle Stone Ages – some 300 000 years ago.

More recently, the area has been home to the Shona and Ndebele people. The grandeur and tranquility has contributed to the areas’s sacred reputation, and many ceremonies and other religious activities are still performed in the hills.

Cecil John Rhodes was one of the first white settlers in the area. His quest was to build a railway line from The Cape to Cairo. Moreover, Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, first learned woodcraft and the fundamentals of scouting in the Matobo Hills. The Scout Movement went on to be an internationally known movement for young people.

The Matobo Hills are composed entirely of granite which weathers into fantastic shapes and produces the iconic balancing rocks of the area.

The proximity of Matobo National Park to Bulawayo ensures that travellers have a wide range of accommodation options from world-class hotel chains to excellent boutique hotels and guesthouses.

Alternatively, for those seeking a more immersive experience, check out our Matobo Africa map and speak to one of our tour operators about planning an overnight stay with the park.


Matobo is rich in wildlife, most notably designated as an Intensive Protection Zone for black and white rhino. Matobo also boasts the highest concentration of breeding pairs of Black Eagles worldwide!

Wildlife resources have been impacted by poaching over recent years, but visitors will see occasional game animals during a visit, and if lucky hyena, leopard and cheetah. Birdwatching is particularly good at Matobo National Park, with multiple raptor species patrolling the skies for prey.

Birdlife is best observed during the wet season (November to April), which is also an excellent time to see any young animals that will have been born as the rains begin falling.

The dry season – April to October is best in terms of weather conditions, with clear skies and moderate but not hot days. However, temperatures can drop to single digits overnight. This time of year is also best for game viewing as vegetation is less dense, and animals tend to visit watering holes and rivers to drink, improving your chances of a sighting.

Matobo or Matopo?

The Matobo National Park is also locally known as Matopo National Park, Matobo Hills and Matopos Hills. Regardless of the precise spelling and pronunciation, there is no doubt that the area is simply spectacular.

MAP OF Matobo National Park

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