Embark on a walking adventure in Matusadona National Park, a rare opportunity to hike and camp in Zimbabwe’s most scenic big game habitat.
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
Under the management of non-profit conservation organisation African Parks since 2019, Matusadona National Park is regaining its former status as an important protected wilderness. Its lush and varied 1,470 km2 of terrain is perfect for exploration on foot, with a habitat containing a large diversity of savannah and woodland species.
The park has logged over 240 bird species and lion, buffalo, elephant, waterbuck and other antelopes are all present. The northern boundary's 1km wide drowned forest dates from the creation of the vast Lake Kariba in the 1960s.
Matusadona has relatively little infrastructure, making it perfect for adventurous expeditions on foot. From a choice of base camps on the lake shore, Trails Guide Bruce Cronje leads backpacking trails into the interior of the park. As well as appreciating the prolific birdlife and fine trees, guests will learn the skills of tracking lions, elephant and buffalo and even search for fossils.
Depending on the interests and abilities of the group, Bruce offers a choice of styles and areas to be explored. The easier option is to stick to the Matusadona Valley floor - drive in, establish a fixed fly-camp camp in the shady tree line, and then explore daily with just a day pack.
For a more challenging option, experienced and fit hikers can venture into the Matusadona Mountains for 3-6 nights. For this, participants should come fully equipped for wilderness backpacking, and a packing list will be supplied. Kit should include camp stoves, food, lightweight tent and sleeping bags, and at least 4L of water carrying capacity. The minimum age is 16 and the maximum group size is 8.
This itinerary begins with an overnight at Rhino Camp on the shores of Lake Kariba. The camp is best accessed by air to Tashinga or Rhokari (Kiplings) airstrips, from where it's a 40min transfer to camp by speed boat. Alternatively, the camp can be reached by boat from Kariba in about 1.5 hours.
Rhino Camp is a small owner-operated bushcamp with seven en-suite chalets enveloped in dense bushveld. The camp is unfenced and wildlife moves freely between the chalets along well used game trails. Be prepared for a truly wild experience.
On the second day, a game viewing vehicle is used to start the adventure with stops along the way for wildlife viewing. The vehicle will also rendezvous with the group at the end of the trail.
Depending on the chosen format, a vehicle is used to set and move the fly-camp to a series of locations which have shade and access to water. Each day, about 8 -10 km is walked early in the morning and again in the afternoon when the conditions are most favourable. The middle of the day is spent refreshing, resting and bird-spotting at camp.
For backpacking trails, hikers and their kit are dropped at the chosen trailhead. From then, there is no fixed route as the group follows wildlife trails into the mountains.
- 1 night accommodation & meals at Rhino Camp
- Professional guiding
- Park conservation fees
- Hiking kit and food for the duration of the trail