Matusadona National Park

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By Elizabeth D.T. Taderera

Located on the southern shore of Lake Kariba in the north of Zimbabwe, Matusadona’s name was derived from the local Matuzviadonha Hills. Covering about 1,400km2of flat plains and rugged mountains, the area was proclaimed a non-hunting ground on the 7th of November 1958 and then declared a Game Reserve in 1963. In 1975 Matusadona became a National Park under the Parks and Wildlife Act of Rhodesia. It has a variety of flora and fauna mostly due to the creation of the lake. The availability of grazing on the shores led to an increase in populations of large mammals like elephants, the Cape buffalo, waterbuck, zebra, impala and consequently predators like leopards and lions as well. A species of grass, Panicum repens, grows along the shore. It grows as long as the lake levels fluctuate, bringing nutrients to the shore.

The park was taken over by African Parks, in partnership with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management authority, in November 2019 due to extensive poaching that had deteriorated the park. It is home to several relocated rhinos hence it is an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ).

There are three developed campsites: the Tashinga camp, Sanyati camp and Changachirere camp as well as undeveloped bush camps at Jenje and Kanjedza that hold up to 10 people per camp. You will also find what are known as exclusive campsites at Ume, Muuyu, Mbalabala, Maronga and Kautsiga camp. Access to the park is via plane as there is an 800m landing strip that can take a small plane at the Tashinga Camp or via boat from Bumi Hills or Kariba town. It is not very accessible via road and the roads are mostly closed during the rainy season.