Matobo National Park, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, occupies a total area of 44 500 hectares. Established in 1953, the Park was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in June 2003.
The Park includes an Intensive Protection Zone where a large population of Black and White Rhinoceros are successfully breeding. The Park offers a diverse package of tourist attractions and activities. The park is situated in the magnificent Matobo Hills, a range of domes, spires and balancing rock formations which have been hewn out of the solid granite plateau through millions of years of erosion and weathering. The majestic and rugged terrain of the park is a hikers paradise and the diversity of the vegetation supports a wide range of wildlife.
History of the Matobo National Park
Matobo, meaning “bald heads” was the name chosen for the area by the great Ndebele King, Mzilikazi. He is buried in the Hills just a short distance from the park.
The National Park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes. He is buried at the summit of Malindidzimu – “hill of benevolent spirits”. He referred to this hill as having a “View of the World”. A short walk from the parking lot will lead the visitor to his grave, which is carved out of the solid granite hill and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of massive boulders.
The Matobo area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place.
The Park is home to a wide variety of animal species including: black and white rhinoceros, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, eland, sable, klipspringer, leopard, hyena, cheetah, hippo, warthog, rock dassies, waterbuck, wildcat, springhare, common duiker, crocodiles, baboons and monkeys.
The richness of the Park can also be seen from the diverse bird life. The park is famous for its large concentration of black eagles, additional bird species that can be found include, fish eagle, martial eagle, francolin, secretary birds etc.
Big Cave Camp
Big Cave Camp reposes atop an enormous granite whaleback commanding inspirational views across the famous Matobo National Park. Sophisticated African architecture incorporates colossal boulders into a luxuriously appointed thatched lodge positioned amidst ancient Khoisan rock art.
Retire at a day’s end to the natural rock-pool and sundeck, the Leopard`s Lair lounge and bar, a cave-style boma for pre-dinner drinks or the popular lodge library. The seven thatched A-frame cottages, each with en-suite bathroom and private balcony, resonate African creative flair. Find solitude within an intimate retreat as secluded as the original Kalanga grain bins that nestle amongst the rocks. Activities are on the estate or into the adjacent Matopos National park.
Camp Amalinda – Matopos National Park
Tucked away into an ancient bushman’s shelter, Camp Amalinda’s charm will leave an indelible impression on every visitor. Some of the most majestic granite scenery in the world is found in the Matobo Hills. It is here that the opes, trials and tribulations of the San Bushmen are recorded in the ancient rock art. Mammal and bird species are prolific and include the highest concentration of Leopard and Black Eagle in the world. Rated one of Africa’s top ten boutique lodges by Conde Naste Traveller in 1998, Camp Amalinda consists of 9 individually thatched rooms including 2 romantic Honeymoon suites.
Each suite has been individually designed around great boulders and each differs in ambience in order to create a romantic feel without losing the vital soul of Africa herself. The honeymoon suites pay tribute to two great men – CJ Rhodes and King Lobengula – both suites are decorated by a mix of traditional, historic and nostalgic memorabilia. The lounge and entertainment area is tucked away into a bushman shelter with a panoramic view of the Matobo Hills. Delicious meals are served on a massive teak table in the open air dining room. At the base of the camp is Amalinda’s famous ‘rock’ swimming pool – naturally shaped and carved over centuries by rain and wind erosion from a massive granite dome.
Camp Amalinda is a spiritual sanctuary which incorporates the sensitive beauty of the magnificent Matobo Hills and Africa’s wide-open spaces.
The Farmhouse Lodge is part of Granite Ridge Wildlife Reserve and is situated 48 Kilometers South of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site and on the boundary of the Rhodes Matopos National Park. Visitors are offered accommodation and a variety of activities to make the most of their stay in the Matopos. The lodge is situated below one of the majestic granite kopjies which have made the Matopos a famous and popular destination for both tourists and locals.
Activities like abseiling will enthuse the more adventurous, whilst a leisurely sunset game drive lets you relax and soak up the breathtaking scenery.
Other activities include :
- Guided tours to the san bushman caves and paintings.
- Cultural visits to african villages and schools.
- Our Horse Safaris take you through some of the spectacular scenery of the Matopos and gives you a chance to get close to the wildlife on the reserve.
- Rhino Walk – The lodge has a full time licensed professional guide and can offer the opportunity to track and view the rhino on foot, a unique wildlife experience for any visitor to the Matopos
The Farmhouse Restaurant provides visitors with delicious home cooked meals made with fresh local ingredients. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and packed lunches are available. Facilities include bar, reception, conference room, and swimming pool. Wi-Fi is also available. There are 12 lodges each with a twin or double bedroom, en-suite toilet and shower, open plan lounge, mini kitchen and private braai area. Granite Ridge is the ideal location from which to explore the wonders of the Matopos.
The property has recently undergone a re-development program which included the introduction of additional wildlife species. The Reserve now offers an upgraded Farmhouse Lodge and Conference Centre , World View Campsite and a new range of activities.