Matobo National Park is one of the most mysterious places in the world. The park is located in a mysterious African country – Zimbabwe. Its history goes back to the very depths of history when people just started to walk straight (almost 4 million years ago).
The creation of Matobo Park dates back to 1953; since 2003, the site has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Prolonged exposure to rain and wind has transformed the once flat sandy plain into an incredible landscape of gigantic granite formations.
According to scientists, the appearance of granite boulders is directly related to the settlements of the Stone Age because these places could perfectly serve as a natural shelter from natural adversity.
Bizarre rocks in Matobo resemble gigantic animals, bald heads of giants, towers, and the most famous one is very similar to a mother who bent over her child. The rocks are made of greyish-brown granite, which turns red at sunset. The peoples who live in Zimbabwe consider these natural formations to be a symbol of human strength, and the territory on which they stand is the abode of the souls of their ancestors.
In between the granite boulders are hidden caves full of original cave paintings, distinguished by a huge variety. The people depicted in the pictures are notable for their liveliness: some run, some play, others hunt, and some dance. It should be noted the anatomical correctness of the image of mammals, the accuracy in the drawings of trees, reptiles, insects. This makes it possible for modern scientists to identify the species that lived in these places in ancient times.
The smooth granite boulders reminded the founder of the Ndebele nation, named Mzilikazi, a collection of distant ancestors. Therefore, he called the area Ama-Tobo (Bald Heads). The founder’s remains are in a tomb located on a hillside.
Mzilikazi’s things are walled up in a cave and can even be viewed through small holes in the rock. Cecil Rhodes is also buried here, whose remains are located in a massive granite formation. This formation is proudly called “View of the World.” Rhodes bequeathed Matobo Park to the Bulawayo people.
Today, his grave is a place of pilgrimage for a huge number of Zimbabweans. Pilgrims visit his grave to pay tribute to Rhodes and watch the park’s rangers feed the brightly coloured lizards. The latter run out literally from everywhere to have a good meal with a tasty treat.
The total area of the park is over 400 square kilometres. The park is indented with paths, dirt roads, horse and bicycle trails. All routes are well marked, so getting lost is difficult. In addition, at the entrance, you can purchase a card.
On the north side is the main gate of Matobo, to which Matopos Road leads from the city (highway A6). The central administration and particular picnic areas are located in Maleme Dam, a camp situated next to the watering hole.
Representatives of the local fauna often come here, who can surprise tourists with their beauty and friendliness. You can spend the night in Maleme Dam. The most famous rock paintings are hidden in the caves of Bambata, Pomongwe, Nswatugi.
There are 39 species of snakes in the Matobo mountains, among which the black mamba deserves special attention, which needs no introduction. Fortunately, this area has the highest concentration of black African eagles and other birds in the world (silver and steppe eagles, snake eagles, peregrine falcons, secretary birds), which successfully hunt snakes.
Overall, Matobo National Park is a harmonious blend of tranquillity, serenity, anthropological and spiritual history. In addition, a lot of majestic landscapes and vibrant fauna open up before the tourist. It isn’t easy to find a place that can compare beauty with the nature of Matobo.