Spanning 1370 sq. km (529 sq. mi) on the southern shore of Lake Kariba, Matusadona is one of the few Zimbabwean National Parks that is home to the Big 5 - with sightings of vast herds of buffalo and elephants a special treat. In addition, it is said that Matusadona is home to the second-largest concentration of lions in Africa. As a result, other large predators are only occasionally seen. The area is remote and quiet, with the landscape featuring a pleasing mix of savanna plains and a rugged mountainous escarpment. Matusadona can be reached by road using a 4x4 vehicle or by air charter. One of the park's key attractions is that it offers visitors the chance to enjoy a houseboat holiday while on safari, and game drives and walking safaris are also available.

Essential Traveller Information

Those prepared to make an effort to get to Matusadona National Park will be rewarded with a wilderness experience unsullied by crowds of tourists.   The presence of all of Africa’s Big Five, a pleasing variety of activities, and the opportunity to track black rhinos on foot should not be missed. Under the care of experienced guides, it is a privilege to view these remarkable creatures in their native habitat.

Matusadona is also a haven for bird watchers, with its mix of habitats attracting a wide range of species. Lake Kariba allows guests to enjoy several water-based activities, from sunset cruises to kayaking and fishing for the legendary tiger fish. Game drives and walking safaris are typically very productive, with the dramatic landscape the ideal backdrop for photographers.

Located on the southern shore of Lake Kariba in the northwest of Zimbabwe, Matusadona can be challenging to reach by road, particularly in the wet season. A well-equipped 4×4 vehicle is essential, along with a high level of self-sufficiency – particularly when approaching from Victoria Falls.

Many self-drive visitors opt to drive 355 km (220 mi) to Kariba on paved roads before leaving their vehicle and getting a boat transfer to their accommodation, with game drives provided by their safari operator. To avoid road travel, consider getting to Matusadona by air charter, either from Victoria Falls International Airport or Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport near Harare. Again, further transport will be provided by your tour operator as part of a package.

A visit to Matusadona National Park is best made during the dry season, from June to October. At this time, there is little chance of any rainfall. This means the vegetation will have thinned out somewhat, making viewing easier for wildlife. In addition, the roads should all be passable (albeit with a 4×4 vehicle in some places).

Although Matusadona National Park never gets crowded, the high season for tourist arrivals is from July to September. The weather is warm during the day, cooling overnight, but it can be cold on game drives with the wind chill. The wet season – from November to March – brings with it the arrival of migratory bird species and baby animals. Depending on rainfall, the vegetation may be lush, and game sightings erratic. However, rain does make some roads impassable. Check in advance which lodges are open, as many shut down operations from January to March.

Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park


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